Geology, BS

Contact Information

Dr. Laurie Anderson, Department Head 
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering
Mineral Industries 303
(605) 394-2461
E-mail: Laurie.Anderson@sdsmt.edu  

Geology Faculty

Professors L. Anderson, Duke, Masterlark, M. Price, and Uzunlar; Associate Professor Pagnac; Assistant
Professors Baran, Keenan, Ustunisik, and Ward; Lecturer C. Price; Professors Emeritus Fox, Lisenbee, Martin,
Paterson, and Redden.

Geological Engineering Faculty

Professor Stetler; Associate Professors Katzenstein and Sawyer; Assistant Professor Li; Professors Emeritus
Davis and Rahn.

Adjunct Faculty

M. Anderson, Benton, Iles, McCormick, Nielsen, and Valder.

Staff

Research Scientist Roggenthen and Tung; Energy Resources Initiative Director Soeder; Coordinator and
Instructor Pellowski; Museum of Geology Associate Director and Instructor Shelton.

Geology Program (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 through a rigorous field-based education that provides students a unique blend of hands-on experiences with strong theoretical foundations. Students have the opportunity to take electives in five focus areas including Energy and Mineral Resources, Environmental Geology, Geomathematics, Geospatial Technology, and Paleontology.

Complete information on requirements is given at Geology, BS.

Geology Program Outcomes

A graduate with a BS in Geology is expected to:

  • Apply scientific and mathematical knowledge to problems in the geosciences
  • Analyze and interpret geological and other scientific data
  • Work professionally with a team
  • Collect geological data (from the literature, field, or laboratory) to answer a scientific question
  • Follow the ethical standards of the geoscience profession
  • Communicate effectively in oral and written form
  • Apply geological knowledge to global systems and human societies
  • Investigate geological problems using appropriate technology
Complete information on program outcomes is given at Geology Outcomes and Assessment.

Choosing a career focus

Many different career opportunities are open to students in the geosciences. Students complete a core of geology courses to solidly prepare them for careers in the geosciences. Additional electives are chosen to focus on a particular career path and best prepare the student for employment or graduate school. Students may focus in one of five career paths or select electives from two or more career paths, depending on their interests.

GEOL focus areas include:

  • Energy and Mineral Resources: exploration and development of energy and mineral resources. Graduate may explore for and assist with extracting these resources.
  • Environmental Geology: protection and management of natural resources. Graduates may work for environmental firms, or could do environmental work for petroleum and mineral companies. Many government agencies also hire graduates with these skills.
  • Geomathematics: applications of mathematics, statistics, and numerical methods to quantify geologic phenomena. Prepares students for graduate studies. These skills are in high demand for employment in academic, industrial, and government research sectors.
  • Geospatial Technology: managing spatial data using GIS, GPS, and remote sensing. Graduates may work in traditional petroleum, mining, or environmental companies, for government agencies, or within the geospatial industry that provides and manages maps and imagery to the world.
  • Paleontology: study of ancient organisms and environments. Graduates in this focus area will often attend graduate school to develop research and teaching careers, but career opportunities also are available in museums, governmental agencies, or with consulting firms that survey and preserve fossil resources.

Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisor in selecting a career path and electives.

Professional Development

The senior year culminates in an individual research project (GEOL 464, GEOL 465) in which the student practices the professional accomplishments of project planning, organization, scientific research, time management, and oral/written communication.

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in professional societies active on campus, including the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Student Chapter, Tech Geological Association, the Society of Economic Geologists, the Association of Women Geoscientists, and the Paleontology Club. The department also hosts a chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the geoscience honor society. Students interested in paleontology and mineralogy may have opportunities to volunteer or work on collections, archives, educational outreach and/or research projects through the Museum of Geology. Internships in industry and government are commonly available and highly recommended.

In addition to careers in geoscience, the BS in Geology can provide a pathway to professional careers in teaching, law, or medicine.  For careers in science education, students should consult teaching programs at othe colleges for auxiliary education courses that would be needed for teacher certification.

Advanced Degrees

Graduate programs, both master’s and doctoral, are available and involve additional specialization in geology or paleontology and incorporate original research leading to the completion and defense of thesis or dissertation. Additional information can be found in the GGE graduate programs page of this catalog.  Completion of graduate degrees leads to higher-level professional employment including college-level instruction.


See Course Catalog for Courses, Recommended Electives and Curriculum