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Geology Program


Student Standing in the creek


At Western Carolina University, geology is an interdisciplinary, field-based science that includes topics of study ranging from the origin of mountain belts such as the Appalachians to the environmental impacts of people on stream and groundwater hydrology.

Studying geology here at the heart of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, you'll take advantage of geologic field experiences only a handful of other universities in the country can provide. You can learn about flooding, wetlands, stream restoration, landslides, plate tectonics, groundwater, and 600 million-year-old rocks—on the campus and in the abundant surrounding mountains, streams, and rivers, or at one of our local field stations.

Our students also study geology in places farther a-field—from the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Florida, Nevada, and even farther south into Honduras.

Academic Programs

Geology Students studying River Rocks


Our B.S. core courses and degree concentrations will give you a solid foundation in the geosciences. Upon graduation, students either go directly into the workforce or continue their education in graduate school. You may choose between the following career concentrations:

Are you interested in teaching or mentoring and working with others? Our earth science students are extremely qualified, and earth science teachers are in high demand. The department offers a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) with an earth sciences concentration and a minor in earth sciences.

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Students majoring in a wide variety of fields at Western will find the geology minor a complement to their coursework. The undergraduate minor in geology is for students who are interested in geology and earth processes but may not choose to pursue a career directly in the earth sciences.

Geology Faculty

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