Interested in the outdoors? The environment? Adventure? Excellent career possibilities? The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geosciences is a career-oriented, flexible major that merges geology with applied environmental science and biogeography.

Students gain important career skills by engaging in

  • Field investigations in geology and forest ecology
  • Laboratory work using cutting-edge techniques
  • Data analytics using geospatial information systems (GIS) and other computer applications

Our program is one of only three similar degrees offered in West Virginia and it is the only one at a primarily undergraduate institution in the state. Concord’s friendly atmosphere and small classes allow you to get to know classmates and faculty in a collaborative and safe learning environment.

Environmental Geosciences students and faculty on top of Mt. Elbert

Geoscience is the study of the Earth, including its resources, fresh water, oceans, and atmosphere. As outlined by the American Geosciences Institute, geoscientists explore, study, and monitor the Earth to protect it and the people who live on it. They seek solutions to some of our most challenging problems:

  • Finding adequate supplies of natural resources such as geothermal energy, fossil fuels, minerals, and water
  • Developing natural resources in ways that safeguard the environment
  • Maintaining the quality and sustainability of groundwater and surface water supplies
  • Reducing human loss and suffering from natural hazards and disasters, such as floods and landslides
  • Determining geologic controls on natural environments and habitats, and predicting the impact of humans
  • Understanding global climate patterns and the history of global change through geologic time
  • Understanding how naturally occurring elements and minerals behave in nature and how they affect our health
  • Advising policy makers on scientific and environmental issues that affect society

All of our courses include field trips to study the geology and forest ecology of West Virginia and the surrounding Appalachians. Geoscience majors also take a 3-week summer field course in the Appalachians and Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  For more information, see Field Science Provides Unique Learning Opportunity published in the CU Alumni Magazine.

Thanks to support from an NSF grant, all students in the program complete undergraduate research research in the classroom with the geoscience faculty. Our innovative research in mountain-building processes, earthquake geology, volcanology, biogeography, and forest ecology, and climate change is funded by more than $3 million worth of grants that allow students to travel with us to local and remote field settings including Greenland, the Colorado Rockies, the Appalachians, and the Pacific Northwest.

New student opportunities are now open to study Rare Earth Elements (REEs), which are critically important for the world’s energy transition.

We can help defray the cost of college by offering an opportunity to earn income by working in the laboratory or in the field. We regularly hire students to work in the electron microprobe lab, the environmental geography lab, and as teaching assistants.

Read the articles Arctic Travels and Volcanic Travels published in the CU Alumni Magazine and the article Leading Undergraduates to the Edge of Science published in The Neuron for more information about our undergraduate research opportunities.

Scientists with geoscience degrees are in high demand. In 2022, the average salary for geoscientists was $92,000, which was much more than the national average for other science occupations according to the American Geosciences Institute. Jobs are expected to grow at 5%, which is also above the national average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More than 95% of our recent graduates have found professional jobs soon after graduating, if not before. Most find employment as environmental or technical professionals and geoscientists in government agencies, corporations, and consulting firms.

For more information on geoscience careers, see

GEOL 101 Earth Processes, Resources, and the Environment (every semester)
GEOL 140 Geology and Environmental Issues in Appalachia (at least once per year)
GEOL 150 Oceanography (every fall semester)
GEOL 202 Evolution of Earth Systems (fall even years)
GEOL 205 Environmental and Applied Geology (spring even years)
GEOL 310 Soil, Water, and Land Use (alternate years)
GEOL 312 Climatology (alternate years)
GEOL 315 Biogeography and Environmental Change (fall even years)
GEOL 365 Earth Materials and Minerals (spring odd years)
GEOL 375 Chemistry and Petrology of the Solid Earth (irregular)
GEOL 380 Sedimentary Geology (irregular)
GEOL 385 Structural Geology (fall odd years)
GEOL 404 Field Geology I (spring odd years)
GEOL 405 Field Geology II (summer odd years)
GEOL 415 Electron Imaging and X-ray Microanalysis (alternate years)

GEOG 101 Humans and the Environment (every semester)
GEOG 200 Digital Earth (every semester)
GEOG 311 GIS and Cartography (spring even years)
GEOG 321 Cultural Anthropology (fall semester)
GEOG 411 GIS Design and Application (alternate years)
GEOG 412 Public Health GIS (alternate years)

CU Environmental Geosciences on Social Media