Geoscientists perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health.


Sample of Reported Job Titles

Geologist, Geophysicist, Project Geologist, Mine Geologist, Exploration Geologist, Environmental Protection Geologist, Engineering Geologist, Geological Specialist, Geoscientist, Hydrogeologist



Geoscientists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of Earth. They study Earth's geologic past and present by using sophisticated instruments to analyze the composition of earth, rock, and water. Many geoscientists help to search for natural resources, such as groundwater, metals, and petroleum. Others work closely with environmental and other scientists to preserve and clean up the environment.

Geoscientists usually study and work in one of several closely related fields of geoscience.


Types of Geoscientists:

Engineering geologists apply geologic principles to civil and environmental engineering. They offer advice on major construction projects and help in other projects, such as environmental cleanup and reducing natural hazards.

Geologists study the materials, processes, and history of the Earth. They investigate how rocks were formed and what has happened to them since their formation.

Geochemists use physical and organic chemistry to study the composition of elements found in groundwater, such as water from wells or aquifers, and earth materials, such as rocks and sediment.

Geophysicists use the principles of physics to learn about the Earth’s surface and interior. They also study the properties of Earth’s magnetic, electric, and gravitational fields.

Oceanographers study the motion and circulation of ocean waters; the physical and chemical properties of the oceans; and how these properties affect coastal areas, climate, and weather.

Paleontologists study fossils found in geological formations to trace the evolution of plant and animal life and the geologic history of the Earth.

Petroleum geologists explore the Earth for oil and gas deposits. They analyze geological information to identify sites that should be explored. They collect rock and sediment samples from sites through drilling and other methods and test them for the presence of oil and gas. They also estimate the size of oil and gas deposits and work to develop sites to extract oil and gas.

Seismologists study earthquakes and related phenomena like tsunamis. They use seismographs and other instruments to collect data on these events.


Educational Requirements

Geoscientists need at least a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions. A Master's degree or Ph.D. is necessary for most high-level research. A degree in geosciences is preferred, but degrees in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, engineering, or computer science are usually accepted if they include coursework in geology.

Many employers seek applicants who have gained field and laboratory experience while pursuing a degree. Summer field camp programs offer students the opportunity to work closely with professors and to apply their classroom knowledge in the field. Students can gain valuable experience in data collection and geologic mapping.


Salary Range



Want to know more?

Bureau of Labor Statistics-Geoscientists

Career Cornerstone Center-Geosciences

Science Buddies-Geoscientists

Careers in Geosciences



Get Connected

Belonging to professional organizations & LinkedIn groups can provide you with networking, informational interviewing, & job shadowing opportunities, as well as assist you with finding internships and jobs.

List of Geoscience Professional Societies

Geology Professionals LinkedIn Group

List of Professional Organizations

The Career Connector for Purdue College of Science Students & Alumni


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Companies that hire Geoscientists

American Institute of Physics

Research & Internship Listings


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Geologists on Job Market LinkedIn Group

Geology Professionals LinkedIn Group

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