Geology - A.B.

General Information

Degree & Major: Geology - A.B.
College Name: Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
Department Name: Geology
Dr. Rob Hawman
Associate Professor and Undergraduate Advisor (for students with last names beginning with A-J)
Room B6, Geography-Geology Building (in the basement at the bottom of the central staircase)
(706) 542-2398

Dr. Doug Crowe
Professor and Undergraduate Advisor (for students with last names beginning with K-Z)
Room 301B, Geography-Geology Building
(706) 542-2383
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Degree Requirements

College-wide Requirements

University-wide Requirements

Description: The Department of Geology offers three degree tracks, the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree, and the Geology Minor.

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program involves a broad curriculum that prepares students for employment immediately after graduation or for more advanced graduate study in the geosciences. For those students that pursue advanced degrees in geoscience, the undergraduate major prepares them for a wide range of fields, including hydrology and environmental geology, geochemistry and biogeochemistry, igneous and metamorphic petrology, structural geology and tectonics, stratigraphy and sedimentary geology, paleontology, economic geology, geophysics, and archaeological geology.

The Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) program is designed for students who desire a more flexible program of study than is provided by the B.S. degree. It may be used by those seeking a more liberal education or a background in geology for use in other fields. It is also a popular choice for students wishing to pursue Geology as a second major. The A.B. degree is not intended to prepare a student for professional or graduate work in geosciences unless the student takes the additional courses in mathematics, chemistry, and physics required for the B.S. degree. Because many of the requirements are the same for the B.S. and A.B. degrees, if a students starts in the A.B. program and decides at a later time to switch to the B.S., this is generally easy to do.

The geology minor is intended for students who wish to supplement their major fields with additional background in selected areas of geoscience, depending on the interests of the student. The minor is ideal for students pursuing careers in other fields that benefit from additional understanding of earth resources, natural hazards, and the environment, such as anthropology, biosciences, business, education, geography, journalism, law, or public policy.

Lab and Field Exercises
Core classes involve extensive lab work that provides crucial hands-on experience. Field exercises are standard in most core classes and form an indispensable link between lectures and real world observations and analyses. Students may examine coastal processes and organisms on Georgia's barrier islands, the outstanding mineral assemblages at Grave's Mountain in the Inner Piedmont, major fault systems in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the rich fossil assemblages and ancient depositional environments preserved in rocks of the Valley and Ridge and Cumberland Plateau.

Summer Field Courses
Some courses take place entirely in the field, including the department's six-week summer field school (required for the B.S. and the A.B. degree), based in Canon City, Colorado. Projects include field mapping in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, pollution monitoring of streams in the Colorado Plateau, and field trips to Utah and New Mexico. Students gain valuable experience with traditional and computer-based mapping tools, with GIS, and with geochemical analyses. Other, optional, summer field programs include the Honors Interdisciplinary Summer Field Program in Geology, Anthropology, and Ecology, and the study-abroad program in Argentina.


Career Opportunities: Employment opportunities are excellent for geology majors. Starting salaries are very high and climbing ( and demand for employees with training in geology is very strong. A wide spectrum of companies are looking for geologists to hire - the most prominent are in the areas of energy exploration (petroleum, coal, geothermal), mineral exploration, and environmental and engineering geology. According to the U.S. Department of Labor: “In the U.S., the number of jobs open to geologists will rise 22% in the decade ending 2016, about double for all occupations.” It is truly a great time to be a geologist.
of Transfer Students:
Students are encouraged to participate in practical summer field experiences related to geology or other sciences. For example, the Honors Geology and Anthropology Summer Field Program ( is a great way to get started.
Other Learning Opportunities: Students choosing to specialize or focus more intensively on a particular disclipline have several options to choose from. For those wanting to pursue a career in Environmental Geology, they may participate in the Water Resources Certificate Program, which includes a combination of a courses in Geology, Geography, Crop and Soil Sciences, Forestry, Marine Sciences, Ecology and more. Intern programs with the Natural History Museum allow students to work with departmental collections in mineralogy, economic geology, and paleontology. Finally, the Department offers hands-on research experience and advanced study for interested undergraduates through our senior thesis option. Recent senior thesis projects, many of them field-based, have included studies of meteorite impact structures in the Georgia coastal plain, structure and tectonics of the Nevada Basin and Range, and the geomicrobiology of hot springs in Kamchatka, Russia.