Western Carolina University geology students enjoy field experiences that few U.S. universities can provide. Here at the heart of the Southern Appalachian Mountains they learn about subjects such as flooding, landslides and plate tectonics. The interdisciplinary curriculum is taught by an expert faculty and involves hands-on projects that take place in the classroom, the lab and in the field. Some students choose to conduct their field research at destinations as geologically diverse as Nevada and Florida. Due to their rich and dynamic academic experience, graduates find career success as earth science educators, environmental geologists and consultants, among other occupations.
At WCU, geology is an interdisciplinary field-based science. The Bachelor of Science in Geology core courses and concentrations give students a solid foundation in the geosciences. Core courses include Methods in Geology, Soils and Hydrology, and Structural Geology. The degree offers three career-focused concentrations: environmental hydrology, solid earth and interdisciplinary. The interdisciplinary concentration is ideal for students who wish to double major and enjoy flexibility in their course load. All students complete a capstone course such as a research project, senior thesis or senior research seminar. Many students choose to get involved with the WCU Geology Club, a student-run organization that puts on geology and outdoor-related events such as river cleanups and research and recreational trips.
WCU geology graduates either go directly into the workforce or continue their education in graduate school. Their interdisciplinary perspective prepares them for a variety of career occupations, including educator, geologist, researcher and planner. Places of employment can include state agencies and federal government, schools and universities, the mining and petroleum industries, environmental consulting firms, and environmental policy groups. Graduates who continue their education often study fields as diverse as planetary geology and marine sciences. The job outlook for geologists is positive and reflects increasing career opportunities in environmental geology and hydrogeology.