Geology is a diverse discipline, incorporating aspects of physics, chemistry, biology and natural history in the attempt to solve earth-related problems. Geoscientists provide basic information to society for solving problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety, and welfare. 

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Geology is designed to provide students with a broad background in geology with advanced preparation in earth materials, structural geology, and tectonics. Completion of this program prepares students for a variety of careers in geology or graduate work in geology. The BS is recommended for students who are preparing to become professional geologists and intend to enter industry or enroll in a graduate program upon completion of the degree. 

The Geology Department has: 

  • Engaging award winning teachers who inspire students and instill modern active-learning pedagogies in their courses. 
  • Active scholars in diverse specialties that involve students in their research projects. 
  • Helpful staff that support the educational mission of the department and create a positive atmosphere for students. 
  • Excellent role models for women in science — 30% of faculty and 50% of undergraduate and MS graduate students are women that are actively engaged in teaching, research, and service. 
  • A reputable high-quality program that integrates unique field experiences and modern technology throughout the curriculum.

Western’s Geology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

“Our students graduate with many valuable skills and experiences, and leave Western for graduate school or for jobs in a variety of geoscience fields as professional geologists. There are many exciting opportunities for new students in our program, and the future demand for geoscientist will be significant.” –Bernie Housen, Faculty


“The geology program provided me with a really well-rounded education with great one-on-one teacher-student collaborations, a nice variety of subjects to study, and a strong friendship with fellow students.” –Margaret Pueringer, Student

Beyond the Classroom

The department is home to two active professional-society student chapters — the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) that offer professional development and networking opportunities outside the classroom.

“My professors and classmates have shown dedication to excellence in academics, which is something that I cannot appreciate more. I started a senior research project involving active tectonics in the Yakima/Ellensburg area. In the project we are measuring stream channels from LIDAR (light detection and ranging), to try and interpret the way in which Cleman Mountain (a mountain in the area) grew above the surrounding landscape.” –Tabor Reedy

Careers and Graduate Studies

Geology graduates are in high demand for jobs and graduate programs in Washington and across North America. Western’s Geology Department has the highest percentage of licensed geologists in Washington State than any other college or university in the state, and our students' success rate on the national geology fundamentals exam (required for geologists licensing) is 20% higher than the national average.


Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.


Sample Careers

  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Natural Resources 
  • Oil Exploration 
  • Mining Geologist 
  • NASA 
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • Engineering Geologist