Students conducting research on a boat.
Program Overview

Geology

Explore our planet, build a better future.

Photo credit: Rachel Eveleth

Geologists are Storytellers and Problem-solvers

The field of geology applies tools from throughout the sciences to understand how our planet works and how it has changed through time. At Oberlin, geology students explore fundamental questions of earth and planetary science while applying a range of methods to address pressing contemporary questions such as climate change, natural resource development, environmental restoration and their relationships to social justice. Through a blend of laboratory, computational, and field research, our students build a deep understanding of the Earth and develop skills they can apply in a variety of careers including education, government, and environmental consulting.

Community in the Laboratory and in the Field

Oberlin’s geology department is a welcoming family of curious minds from diverse backgrounds. In addition to coursework, geology students have the chance to do original research with a faculty mentor in one of our many laboratories and to travel to sites as varied as Lake Erie to China, Cuba, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Regardless of whether we are doing geology in the classroom, in a laboratory, or in the field, our department prides itself on an ethos of friendship, support, and inclusion.

100% of students have the opportunity to engage in mentored research or internships

Earth Science in the Laboratory

From geochemical laboratories to computational modelling, Oberlin’s geology students work with faculty in the lab to better understand our planet.

Students looking at graphs displayed on computer monitors.
New Zealand is the top study abroad choice among geology majors

Featured Courses

GEOL 120

Earth’s Environments

A survey of Earth’s internal and external features, emphasizing the unifying theory of plate tectonics as well as the study of geologic hazards and Earth resources. Labs and field trips explore Earth materials, local field sites, landforms, and interactions between humans and Earth’s surface. The course is intended for both non-majors and prospective geology majors. All students must enroll in the lecture section plus one lab section in the same semester.

Taught by
Rachel Eveleth, Amanda Schmidt
FYSP 026

The Anthropocene: Human Actions, Global Consequences

Have human activities changed our planet enough that we now live in a new geologic Epoch: the Anthropocene? In this seminar, we will place our impact on the planet in the context of its history through readings and discussion on topics including: deep geologic time, geochemical signals of natural and human activity, the nature of scientific thinking and discourse, and our place in our planet’s history.

Taught by
F. Zeb Page
GEOL 235

Applied GIS

Geographic information systems (GIS) are used widely in the sciences and other disciplines to examine data that have spatial distribution. This course will introduce students to the methods for collecting spatial data and analyzing those data using GIS to solve geologic problems and communicate their results effectively, mainly through hands-on use of the industry standard ArcGIS software.

Taught by
Clara Margaret Flood ’18
GEOL 380

Great Lakes Limnology

How has the regional geologic history shaped the biogeochemistry of the Great Lakes? In what ways are humans influencing, and influenced by, the Great Lakes? This class uses primary literature to investigate these questions, covering the local historical and contemporary geology, physical water column dynamics, air-water fluxes, eutrophication, public health concerns, climate change and more.

Taught by
Rachel Eveleth

Student Profiles

Nexial Prize Recipient

Monica Dix ’20, a geology and politics double major, was awarded the 2020 Nexial Prize. Dix’s passion for both earth science and policy sparked her interest in the prize, which emphasizes the value of a broad-based liberal arts education.

Monica Dix.

Educating in Death Valley

Marcus Hill ’19 was a geology major and promoted the major as a geology student representative. After graduation, he worked alongside seasoned park rangers helping to run education programs for elementary school students.

Marcus Hill.

Fulbright to Germany

Geology and history double-major Elena Robakiewicz ’16 was awarded a Fulbright grant for research in Germany. Robakiewicz will conduct her research in Tübingen, where she will work with professors who study paleolake (or ancient lake) data in order to better understand early human migration patterns.

Elena Robakiewicz.

What does Geology at Oberlin look like?

A group of students with a beautiful sunset in the background.

Mineralogy (GEOL 201) students enjoy a sunset in the Adirondacks after a long day in the field.

Photo credit: Zeb Page
Siccar Point, Scotland.

Oberlin students visit Siccar Point, Scotland, one of the most famous sites in the history of geology as part of the Danenberg Oberlin in London Program.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Oberlin College
Nicollette Mitchell, Kopo Oromeng, Marcus Hill, and Shannon Banks.

Nicollette Mitchell ’13, Kopo Oromeng ’17, Marcus Hill ’19 and Shannon Banks ’19 earned top prizes for their research presentations at the National Association of Black Geoscientists annual conference.

Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97
Emily Bermudez and Zoe Hecht.

Emily Bermudez ’21 and Zoe Hecht ’21 start a geochemical analysis in the gamma-counter.

Photo credit: Michael Hartman
Justin Bank and Lab Crawl visitors.

Justin Bank ’21 demonstrates ultra-violet fluorescent minerals as part of a Lab Crawl visit.

Photo credit: Jennifer Manna.
Renée Milligan.

Renée Milligan ’22 shows off tiny marine fossils as part of Lab Crawl.

Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

Next Steps

Get in touch; we would love to chat.


Carnegie Building.
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko