Undergraduate (Geology)

Geology BS Degree

Geology is the science of the Earth. It deals with processes within the Earth and at the Earth's surface that control landscape features, produce essential natural resources, and sometimes result in geologic hazards. It is a science that seeks to understand the history of the Earth through geologic time and to predict the future results of human interactions with the natural environment.

Graduates with a B.S. degree in Geology are prepared for careers in environmental geology and water resources, exploration and development of petroleum and other natural resources, and many other areas. Employers of our graduates include federal agencies at Stennis Space Center and other locations, state governments, environmental consulting firms, and petroleum companies.

Degree Plan:

  • Geology, B.S. Click here to access the online degree requirements for geology, which includes the general and degree curricula, with links to course descriptions. Click here to access suggested semester-by-semester guide.

Geology Minor

Students seeking a minor in geology must complete 18 hours of geology, which must include GLY 101 and GLY 101L, GLY 103 and GLY 103L, plus 10 additional hours in geology.

Recommended High School Preparation

High school students interested in careers in Geology or related fields are encouraged to complete credits in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics including second-year algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.

Information for Prospective Community College Transfer Students

Community college students who anticipate majoring in Geology are encouraged to take as many of the following courses as possible: college chemistry (two semesters, including lab), college physics (two semesters, including lab), calculus (two semesters), and biology (one semester, including lab).

Field Geology

An important component of the undergraduate program in geology is a 6-semester hour course in field geology, to be taken during the summer between the junior and senior years or the summer after completion of the senior year. Students have the option of attending a variety of field courses offered in the western U.S., Europe, and other locations.

Professional Registration

The Geology major prepares students for licensure as registered professional geologists. All geology majors are required to take the ASBOG (Association of State Boards of Geology) Fundamentals of Geology exam before graduation. Approximately 50% of the Mississippi-registered professional geologists who have degrees from a Mississippi university have one or more degrees in Geology from the University of Southern Mississippi.


Our department offers several scholarships that are available to geology undergraduate students. These include:

  • the Arthur Rice Mellon and Mary Ann Mellen Scholarship Endowment.

  • the Dr. Richard L. Bowen Memorial Geology Annual Scholarship

  • the Edward J. and Sue Wilby McCarty Endowed Geology Honors Scholarship

  • the Joseph and Kay Dixon Geology Scholarship

  • the Oliver Austin Physical Sciences Scholarship Endowment

  • the Tellus Endowed Geology Scholarship

In addition, there are numerous scholarships available for students from specific regions of Mississippi, students belonging to Greek organizations, scholarships from the College of Science and Technology and other sources. The Mississippi Geological Society selects an outstanding senior for the Boland Memorial Scholarship each year.

Click here for more information on these scholarships and how to apply for them.


Dr. Frank Heitmuller, Associate Professor of Geology, Box 5051, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, 39406; 601 266-4729; Fax 601 266-6219; or at  Franklin.Heitmuller@usm.edu