Undergraduate Studies

Undergraduate Programs

Whether you’re an incoming freshman, transferring from another university, or a University of Alabama student thinking about changing your major, the UA Department of Geological Sciences has much to offer!

Why Choose Geology?

group of students identifying locations on a map

There are many reasons to major in geology. Many of our students were drawn to the field because they have a deep curiosity about the Earth and enjoy being outdoors. While geology is often pursued as a rigorous laboratory science, the object of our study is the planet. As a result, geologists have exceptional opportunities to explore the world conducting field research.

What Can You Do With a Geology Degree?

Students are often concerned about career prospects when selecting a major. There are many exciting career options for geologists. Our graduates work in a variety of fields, including the environmental industry, oil and natural gas, mining and industrial materials, water resources, and governments/university/museum research.

As in many professions, employment prospects and salaries often improve with graduate degrees, but many of our majors start satisfying careers with their bachelor’s degree. Other graduates seek to become certified professional geologists, which may help move your career forward as well.

For more information about geology and your future career, visit Why Study Geological Sciences?

Degree Options

We offer several degrees: the bachelor of arts (BA), the bachelor of science (BS), and the bachelor of science in geology (BSG). Additionally, marine science majors can choose to focus in geology. We also offer a minor and an honors track. Most of our majors pursue the BSG, but each degree offers unique opportunities and experiences

Bachelor of Arts

The BA degree is often selected by students interested in becoming K-12 science teachers, future environmental lawyers, those on the business side of a geology-related corporation, or double majors where geology complements the other degree. A minor is required of those seeking the BA. While the BA fits the goals of many students, aspiring professional geologists are generally better served with a BS or BSG degree.

Learn more about the BA program requirements from the UA Undergraduate Catalog.

Bachelor of Science

The BS degree encourages interdisciplinary science by requiring fewer geology classes than the BSG, but more chemistry and math, more advanced physics, and a minor. This degree is a good option for students who plan on conducting cross-disciplinary graduate research or professional careers in fields such as geotechnical engineering, materials science, or biogeochemistry. This course of study is more structured than that of the BA and like the BSG, requires a 5-week summer field school.

Learn more about the BS program requirements from the UA Undergraduate Catalog.

Bachelor of Science in Geology

The BSG is the most popular choice among our majors and is considered the most traditional geology course of study. This degree is well-suited for those who seek to become professional geologists or pursue later geology graduate school. No minor is necessary, but a 5-week summer field school is required.

Learn more about the BSG program requirements from the UA Undergraduate Catalog.

Marine Science Program

students' hands covering locations on a map

The marine science program is an interdisciplinary course of study. Students must choose a focus in geology, biology, or chemistry while also fulfilling the courses required in general marine science, which includes a summer program at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Learn more about marine science program requirements from the UA Undergraduate Catalog.

Geology Minor

The department offers a minor that requires 18 semester hours in geology classes. Learn more about geology minor requirements from the UA Undergraduate Catalog or by emailing Dr. Yong Zhang, Undergraduate Program Director, at yzhang264@ua.edu.

Academic Advising

Each undergraduate major is assigned to a DGS Faculty member for Academic Advising. This opportunity allows students to interact directly with a professor to help guide them through their chosen degree program. For more information, see Resources.


Prospective students interested in undergraduate study should apply directly to the University: UA Undergraduate Admissions