Study Geosciences at the University of Montana
Study earth science in the amazing natural laboratory of Western Montana. In the geosciences bachelor’s degree program at UM, you’ll learn about the physical processes that shape our planet and sustain humanity — gaining a strong combination of field, computational and communication skills that will help you excel in the job market.
We have two areas of special focus: water and earth. In both areas, we analyze the dynamic cycles of energy and earth materials such as water, minerals, sediments and rocks — and how they impact the global distribution of water, energy resources, soils, natural hazards and nutrients.
Hands-on, field-based learning is key to our program. We emphasize research that serves the people of Montana while addressing issues of global importance — issues such as water, climate, geologic resources and natural hazards. You can also concentrate your degree in earth science education, or join one of our joint international field geosciences programs with University College Cork in Ireland, or Potsdam University in Germany.
growth in geoscience jobs
median salary for geoscience jobs
of UM geosciences alumni work in a field related to their major
Earth science is a fast-growing field that’s full of opportunity, and our graduates are in high demand by employers across the nation. Many of our geosciences majors go on to careers in industry, consulting and government, working with organizations such as NewFields (environmental consulting), SM Energy, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. Others pursue master’s and doctoral programs in the geosciences.
- Environmental geologist
- Environmental scientist
- GIS analyst
- Laboratory manager
- Environmental consultant
- Data scientist
- Restoration practitioner
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, geoscientists earn an average of $93,580 per year. As the need for energy, environmental protection and land and resource management continues to increase, geoscience jobs are projected to grow in the years ahead.
Video: UM geoscience student in Greenland
As an undergraduate student in geosciences at the University of Montana, Max Hannah spent five weeks in Greenland working with professor Harper.
“I use knowledge gained from geosciences classes almost daily and would have been far less prepared for the job without it.” - UM geosciences graduate and hydrologist with the US Forest Service
Experiential learning in the geosciences degree program
As a geosciences major at UM, you’ll have numerous opportunities to engage in hands-on learning through internships, field research and other experiences beyond the classroom.
Internships for earth science majors
Get practical, real-world training in geoscience work. NewFields, an international environmental consulting firm with a Missoula office, has an internship program specifically geared toward our geoscience majors. SM Energy and similar companies also regularly recruit our students for the summer intern program — experiences that often lead to employment post-graduation.
Field research in the geosciences program
Our geoscience majors work alongside UM faculty all over the world, from Montana to Greenland and beyond, learning cutting-edge computational and field methods spanning environmental and earth sciences.
One of our students, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, studies how landscapes change rivers and how rivers change landscapes on the border of Glacier National Park. Others are helping to set up GPS monitoring stations that track changes in the shape of the Earth from the storage and flow of water, or participating in field studies of ice-sheet hydrology in Greenland. Learn more about research in the geosciences program at the University of Montana.
Career development in the geosciences major
At UM, we are here to help you succeed in your career as well as in the classroom. In addition to internships that provide networking and career development opportunities, we offer a Careers in Geosciences course that introduces students to the rich spectrum of workplace opportunities available to earth science majors. Our curriculum also provides workforce preparation through training in an array of field, computational, critical-thinking and communication skills. Two student clubs, the Geology Club and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Student Chapter, provide additional opportunities for community building and networking.
Get help paying for tuition and other education costs. We offer a number of scholarships designed for majors in geoscience. Explore geoscience scholarship opportunities at UM.
Geosciences degree requirements
In the geoscience bachelor’s degree at UM, you’ll gain a unique and practical mix of field, communication and computational skills in the context of knowledge water, climate and solid earth processes.
We offer four options for a Bachelor of Science degree: Geosciences B.S., International Field Geosciences Joint B.S. with University College Cork (Ireland), International Field Geosciences Dual B.S. with Potsdam University (Germany), and a B.S. in Earth Science Education.