Wilkes University Offers New Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology
Wilkes University’s College of Science and Engineering recently announced a new undergraduate bachelor of science degree in geology.
Regional consulting firms have expressed interest in hiring locally trained geologists, said Sid Halsor, chair of the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics echoes the demand, noting that employment of geoscientists, a category that includes geologists, is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
Trained geologists are equipped with the knowledge to deal with problems facing the national and global community, including how to tap into natural resources like water, minerals and energy while still protecting the environment. “Geologists can play an important role in ensuring the demands for the resources are met,” said Halsor. “We have a fixed amount of resources, but our needs continue to increase. Geologists search for deposits and invest in the process of extraction to help minimize the impact on the environment.”
Wilkes’ geology major combines traditional elements required for graduate school admission and professional licensing with modern elements desired by industrial employment sectors. A professional geologist license will open career opportunities for Wilkes geology majors, making them more competitive in the job market. “Employers in the environmental consulting industry are more likely to invest in a new employee with the credentials to pursue professional licensing,” said Halsor.
Geology majors begin to gain professional-level experience in the University’s 72,500-square-foot Cohen Science Center, where state-of-the-art equipment and laboratory space allows for hands-on learning. They also have the opportunity for plenty of field work, taking advantage of the region’s natural topography and rich geological history, including the formation of vast water, mineral and energy resources.
“We have really interesting land forms in northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Matt Finkenbinder, assistant professor of geology. “It’s an excellent outdoor resource for learning geology.”
With the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom, laboratory and field, a Wilkes graduate with a bachelor’s degree in geology may find work in a variety of professional settings including engineering firms, mining and energy companies, environmental firms, academia, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.
[Photo caption: Field work will be a significant part of study in the new geology major at Wilkes University. Pictured here are a group of Wilkes students in the field at the abandoned Bear Valley Strip Mine near Shamokin, Pa. The location is a classic geologic locality for students to learn about the forces that shaped eastern Pennsylvania's landscape and the underlying rock formations, including anthracite coal.]