Undergraduate Areas of Study

The earth sciences are a wonderfully interdisciplinary field of study that often appeals to individuals who appreciate the opportunity to combine office, laboratory and field-based activities.

In many ways Earth Sciences are the ultimate investigative science, because the geologist is often required to infer as much as possible from a few shreds of evidence. Paleontologists may discern much about the lifestyle of a dinosaur from a few foot bones. A team of geoscientists – paleontologists, petroleum and structural geologists – will make a multi-million dollar decision about the most likely place to drill for oil based on strings of evidence that point to a single conclusion. An environmental geologist will determine the best way to remediate an underground gasoline plume based on trace concentrations of natural bacterial breakdown products from the plume.

In each case the geoscientist is required to make the best determination from partial and sometimes conflicting evidence. Many geoscientists work under challenging conditions — contending with earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and floods — in order to determine how to predict, live with, or control these phenomena. Geoscientists also garner how these conditions may have affected the formation and distribution of natural resources. If you like challenge and variety, geology may be the field for you!

Degree Programs

Geosciences, BS

The Bachelor of Science degree is intended for students who want to “get their hands dirty” and be practitioners of geology. Students typically continue their studies in geosciences or closely related programs in graduate schools and attain a master’s or doctorate degree.

Students must earn 120 hours to graduate: 42 hours from the University’s core curriculum, 58-64 hours in the major, plus elective requirements where students can tailor their learning experience more closely to their interests.

Visit the GeoClub, a registered UTD student organization devoted to promoting geoscience awareness and knowledge within the University and the general community.

Fast-Track MS Program

The Fast-Track MS Program enables academically qualified undergraduate students to include master’s level courses in their undergraduate degree plans. The hours required to complete the master’s degree (with thesis) are thus reduced by the number of Fast-Track graduate hours completed.

Students admitted to the Geosciences Fast-Track MS Program must prepare a thesis research proposal that is approved by their MSc Committee in their second full semester as graduate student, and this commits them to complete their MSc thesis in their fourth full semester as a graduate student. All Fast-Track students are expected to make good progress towards completion of their MS degree. Fast-Track MSc students may request limited funding from the Department to offset costs of approved research expenses (eg., analytical costs, thin sections, etc.). Approval of such expenditures must be obtained from the Department Head.

For further information, please contact the undergraduate advisor.

* Only geosciences undergraduate majors with 3.3 or higher GPA can be admitted to UTD Geosciences Fast-Track MS program. Qualified seniors may take up to 12 credit hours maximum of approved Geosciences graduate courses (only required courses GEOS 5315, 5375, 5325 or 6381, and 5387) during their senior year (within 30 hours of graduation), which will apply to their undergraduate degree plans as either major, related, prescribed or elective courses.  To qualify for admission to the Fast-Track program, seniors must have satisfied undergraduate math, physics and chemistry requirements for the major, and have a GPA of at least 3.3 overall. Applicants must also have written agreement of UTD geosciences faculty member to serve as their research supervisor.

Of Related Interest

The Micro-Imaging Lab allows students and faculty to produce and process digital images of rocks, minerals, and fossils using four different pieces of equipment: 1) an illuminated photography stand, 2) GIGAmacro Magnify2 system for macro and micro imaging, 3) two microscopes (one of which is petrographic), and 4) a scanning electron microscope that uses electron beams instead of light for imaging and chemical analysis at the micron scale.
Using iPads to Create 3D Rock Formation Models: Students are making 3D models of geologic formations using iPads and software invented at UT Dallas. Such expeditions once required $5,000 field computers and thousands of dollars in computer programs, but the UT Dallas technology makes the process possible for a fraction of the price.