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Geology

Employment of geoscientists is projected to grow by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all other occupations. Most new jobs in the field of geology will be in management, scientific and technical consulting services.

Program Overview

The bachelor of science in geology at Keystone College provides students with a broad understanding of fundamental Earth processes including plate tectonics, natural resource and mineral formation, weathering and erosion, and climate change. This four-year degree combines classroom instruction with extensive training in laboratory and field skills and is intended to prepare a new generation of geoscience professionals to work in fields such as the natural gas industry, environmental consulting, and positions with state, local and national environmental agencies.

Real World Experiences

Along with classroom instruction and laboratory analysis, the Geology Program stresses fieldwork as a way to prepare students for the real world challenges that face those entering the workforce in the geosciences.

Keystone College Geology majors also gain experience in the field by completing internships for local business and industries.

Ground Penetrating Radar
Ground Penetrating Radar Mapping is non-intrusive, sub-surface imaging that looks underground to develop a picture profile of what lays below the surface.
Gigapan Technology
Geology students will learn to use Gigapans to study rock outcrops in extreme detail. Gigapans are large, high-resolution digital images created by digitally stitching hundreds of small photographs together to form a complete image. The process involves using a robotic camera platform which measures, aligns, and moves a camera in precisely defined steps, while panning and zooming on all areas of the subject.
Seismic Monitoring Station
Students can monitor global earthquakes in near real-time from a seismograph that was acquired by Keystone College through the Lamont Doherty Cooperative Seismic Network (LCSN). The LCSN is run out of the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, which is affiliated with Columbia University in New York, and has seismometers all over the northeastern United States. Keystone College is the only local college to have such a facility and it is one of the few located in Pennsylvania.
Hydrogeology Laboratory
The Hydrogeology Laboratory is a well-field that consists of nine ground water monitoring wells and is used for teaching applied hydrogeology, the field of geology that deals with movement and distribution of underground water in the rocks and soil of the earth’s surface. Keystone has the instrumentation for monitoring water levels and water quality in wells and also has licensed state-of-the-art ground water modeling software.
Petrographic Microscopes
Students receive hands-on training in mineralogy and have access to Petrographic microscopes, which will be applicable regardless of their chosen career. Petrographic microscopes are used to analyze slices of rock that are so thin you can see through them. The crystals in these slices scatter the light in ways that help geologists understand how the rock formed and under what conditions. Keystone College has petrographic microscopes with integrated cameras, which allow us to document our work in stunning detail.

Your Career in Geology

The median annual wage of geological and petroleum technician was $54,020 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,950, and the top 10 percent earned more than $99,860.

The median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of technicians in May 2010 were as follows:

  • Petroleum and coal products manufacturing:  $88,860
  • Oil and gas extraction: $61,340
  • Support activities for mining: $46,640
  • Architectural, engineering, and related services: $41,560

Most geological and petroleum technicians work full time. Technicians generally work a routine schedule while in laboratories and offices, but hours spent in the field may be long or irregular.

Professional Geologist Examination
Keystone’s geology program prepares students to successfully complete the Pennsylvania State Fundamentals of Geology Exam, which allows them to apply for a Professional Geologist (PG) license after 5 years of geologic work experience. This designation as a PG is highly valued throughout the industry as a marker knowledge and skill.

Curriculum Guide

Curriculum Guide for the Geology B.S. Degree

Semester 1 

  • Scientific Literacy: Gen Biology I
  • First Year Seminar
  • College Writing I
  • Minor/Free Elective
  • Technology Elective
  • Critical Reading 0/2

Semester 2

  • Minor/Free Elective: Field Biology
  • College Writing II
  • Speech Communications
  • Quantitative: (Statistics)
  • Minor/Free Elective:
  • Minor/Free Elective:

Semester 3

  • Physical Geology
  • General Chemistry I
  • Arts & Humanities Elective
  • Gen Ed Elective: (Calculus I)

Semester 4   

  • Earth Systems History
  • General Chemistry II
  • Sedimentology & Stratigraphy
  • Social & Cultural Elective:
  • Free Elective/Minor 3000+

Semester 5   

  • Environmental Chem
  • Mineralogy
  • GIS/GPS
  • Moral Reasoning: Env. Ethics
  • Free Elective/Minor 3000+

Semester 6  

  • Igneous & Metamorphic Petro
  • Arts & Humanities Elective
  • Social & Cultural Elective
  • Free Elective/Minor 3000+
  • Gen Ed Elective

Semester 7  

  • Soils Science
  • Seminar & Research
  • Structural Geology
  • Free Elective/Minor 3000+
  • Free Elective/Minor 3000+

Semester 8  

  • Hydrology
  • Seminar in Research II
  • Free Elective/Minor 3000+
  • Free Elective/Minor 3000+
  • Free Elective 3000+ (only if needed)

Updated: 10/2017

Disclaimer: The courses listed above are a sampling for marketing purposes only. Students should consult the College catalog and their academic advisor for course selection and degree progress. Students will work closely with an academic advisor to select courses and/or academic minors that fit their interests, as well as with the Career Development Center for career goals. While the academic advisor assists the student in planning his/her curriculum, the student is ultimately responsible for meeting the requirements of the curriculum selected.

College Catalog

See the official college catalog for all course descriptions and degree requirements.

Hands on Experience

Study Abroad

You can explore your academic goals in an international setting and global environment. The experience of living in a new country will build your self-confidence, add valuable skills to your tool box, and will alter how you view yourself, the world, and your own country.

Internships and Field Experiences

Not all education happens in the classroom. Internships and other field experiences give students the opportunity to learn through direct hands-on experiences outside of the classroom with a real world experience in the field.

Undergraduate Research

The process of research and discovery while working with a faculty mentor enriches the learning process and creates positive attributes which will last a lifetime. Undergraduate research encompasses both traditional research and creative endeavors.

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