Geology BS (includes Paleontology)

Geologists study processes shaping Earth today and through its history to learn how it formed, how it has developed over time, and how life has evolved through time in response to tectonic and climatic changes.  In their careers, geologists may seek to understand the formation of natural resources like minerals or petroleum, protect water and soil resources, or mitigate against geologic hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes.  The GEOL program at SD Mines takes advantage of the proximity of the Black Hills and surrounding Great Plains, through a rigorous field-based education that provides students a unique blend of hands-on experiences with strong theoretical foundations.  Coursework and research experiences are also available through the mineral and paleontological collections of the Museum of Geology and facilities of the Martin Paleontology Research Laboratory.

Photo - GEOL, UG, Geology BS

Students have the opportunity to take electives in five focus areas including:

  • Environmental Geology: protection and management of natural resources. 
  • Geospatial Technology: managing spatial data using geographic information system (GIS), global positioning system (GPS), and remote sensing. 
  • Paleontology: study of ancient organisms and environments.
  • Mineral Resources: exploration and development of mineral resources.
  • Petroleum Geology: exploration and development of both conventional and unconventional petroleum systems.

Undergraduate degree programs

Find forms and checklists for undergraduate programs here.

Geology: BS program outcomes and associated evaluation criteria

Outcome 1:  Apply scientific and mathematical knowledge to problems in the geosciences.

  1. Uses relevant math concepts and equations in a geologic context
  2. Can classify and identify geologic materials and features
  3. Recalls or uses relevant concepts and facts from geoscience disciplines to solve a problem
  4. Recalls or uses relevant concepts and facts from other scientific disciplines (such as biology, chemistry, or physics) to solve a problem

Outcome 2: Analyze and interpret geological and other scientific data.

  1. Completeness of analysis
  2. Evaluates data quality
  3. Interpretation of results
  4. Evaluation of results
  5. Critically read and evaluate the results of others, including from the scientific literature    

Outcome 3:  Work professionally with a team.

  1. Communicates with team members
  2. Attends meetings regularly
  3. Contributes constructive ideas to project development
  4. Fosters positive team interactions
  5. Completes tasks in a timely matter
  6. Completes an equitable amount of quality work

Outcome 4:  Collect geological data (from the literature, field, or laboratory) to answer a scientific question.

  1. Can pose scientific questions in a hypothesis framework
  2. Data collection
  3. Relevance of data to the question
  4. Quality of the data
  5. Formulation of methodology
  6. Data management
  7. Safety in data collection

Outcome 5: Follow the ethical standards of the geoscience profession.

  1. Uses data appropriately
  2. Properly attributes the ideas and contributions of others
  3. Recognizes ethical violations
  4. Makes ethical decisions

Outcome 6: Communicate effectively in oral and written form. 

  1. Verbal skill
  2. Writing skill
  3. Rhetoric
  4. Graphics

Outcome 7: Apply geological knowledge to global systems and human societies.

  1. Relates project results to broader context
  2. Recognizes the contribution of geology to society at large
  3. Recognizes the connections between geology and other disciplines
  4. Can recognize and assess geological hazards
  5. Recognizes the relationship between earth resources and the economy

Outcome 8: Investigate geological problems using appropriate technology.

  1. Correctly uses computer software to create documents
  2. Correctly uses computer software to organize, manipulate, and interpret data
  3. Correctly uses field and laboratory equipment
  4. Uses spatial analyses and communicates via a computer generated map