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. By applying knowledge of forces that shape the Earth, Geoscientists seek to reconstruct the past and anticipate the future.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Geology is designed for students who want to study geology, but who are not intending to work as professional geologists. This degree is appropriate for someone interested in pursuing a liberal arts education with a less rigorous course of study in Geology and supporting sciences than students in the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Thus, students are allowed more flexibility for additional courses that complement their goals. An accompanying minor in one of the sciences or in mathematics is recommended. 

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 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.

“I am a Geology undergraduate [major] because I have a passion for science, the outdoors, and having a productive role in society. Geology is a diverse discipline that attempts to solve earth-related problems, and I love the variety of career options, high employment rates, and societal relevance in keeping communities safe, healthy, clean, and functional.” –Kaelin Newman, 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.

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 a higher percentage of licensed geologists than any other college or university in Washington State, and our students' success rate on the national geology fundamentals exam (required for geologists licensing) is 20% higher than the national average.


Sample Jobs

  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Natural Resources 
  • Oil and Mining companies 
  • NASA 
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • U.S Army Corps of Engineers 
  • Explorations Geologist 
  • Museum Curator 
  • Climate Change Scientist 
  • Earthquake or Volcano Monitor 
  • Engineering Geologist

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.