Hanover geology students are used to getting their hands a little dirty. After attending small classes with lively discussions and working with state-of-the-art lab technology, you'll likely find yourself turning over specimens in the field – both close to campus and on the other side of the country.

Most geology students study field methods in New Mexico and often travel to other exciting locations for studies or fun with the active Geology Club. As a geologist, you can use your knowledge of the Earth’s history to address critical issues such as global warming, human population growth and depletion of our natural resources.

Students in the field

Recent geology field studies have included:

  • Studying Precambrian rocks in Wisconsin and Missouri
  • Investigating Paleozoic rocks and fossils in Iowa
  • Analyzing Upper Mesozoic rocks and fossils in New Mexico
  • Examining the central Ohio River valley and the Oregon Cascade Range

The geology department also offers exciting opportunities for joint student-faculty research in paleontology, geomorphology, glacial geology and hydrogeology. Such research projects allows you to work side-by-side with professional experts.

What do geology majors study?

Hanover geology students choose from courses such as:

  • Physical geology
  • Geology of national parks and monuments
  • Environmental geology
  • Mineralogy
  • Global environmental change
  • Physical hydrogeology
  • Geomorphology

Previous graduates' career and professional placements have included:

The geology faculty is committed to providing excellent instruction and research mentorship. In addition to extensive field experience and expertise in computer applications to the earth and environmental sciences, they have extensive professional contacts in the academic and business worlds and regularly publish peer-reviewed research papers and abstracts.

  • Shrewsberry and Associates (Indiana)
  • GEM Engineering (Kentucky)
  • Hanover Environmental Services (California)
  • Sequoia National Park (California)
  • Shield Environmental (Kentucky)
  • The Nature Conservancy (Florida)
  • Precision Well Logging (Texas)
  • Department of Natural Resources (Indiana)
  • Chevron Oil (Texas)

Graduate school placements have included:

  • University of Iowa
  • Miami (Ohio) University
  • University of Kentucky
  • Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Idaho State University
  • University of Akron
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Wichita State University


GEO 161
Physical Geology
Introduction to the physical earth; its nature, structure, and the processes that shape it. Laboratory: minerals, rocks, topographic and geologic maps, aerial photographs. Not open to students with prior credit a 16X course. Satisfies the SL CCR and partially satisfies the SM CCR.
GEO 162
Geology of National Parks/Monuments
An investigation of geological features, processes, and history through a study of selected national parks and monuments in the United States. Laboratories emphasize hands-on learning through the classification of minerals, rocks, and fossils; the interpretation of topographic and geologic maps and remotely- sensed imagery; and will culminate with an extended field trip to describe and interpret the geology of one or more national parks and/or monuments. Not open to students with prior credit in a 16X course. Offered Spring Term alternate years. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Partially satisfies the SM/SL CCR.
GEO 163
Environmental Geology
Examines how the earth affects humans and how humans affect the earth. Not open to students with prior credit in a 16X course. Satisfies the SL CCR and partially satisfies the SM CCR.
GEO 220
Description, identification, and classification of naturally occurring crystalline solids. Includes crystallography and crystal chemistry. Application of crystallography and crystal chemistry to an understanding of the occurrence, origin, and physical characteristics of minerals. Laboratory: symmetry, stereograms, structure analysis, mineral identification. Prerequisite: a 16X course. Offered Fall Term.
GEO 221
Intro. to Geographic Info. Science
Lectures will introduce fundamental concepts of spatial data, data management, data analysis, modeling, map design and map projections and coordinate systems. A series of laboratory case studies will present real- world applications of GIScience while offering students opportunities to apply the fundamental concepts discussed in lectures. A working knowledge of computers is necessary.
GEO 233
Historical Geology
A survey of earth history throughout geologic time with emphasis on the development of North America. Laboratory: fossils, geologic maps, cross- sections, field trips. Prerequisite: a 16X course and consent of instructor. Offered Spring Term alternate years.
GEO 237
Field Study - Geology
Geologic principles, processes, and features as seen on field trips to selected areas of geologic interest. Geologic mapping, aerial photograph interpretation, description and interpretation of stratigraphy and geologic structures. Designed for majors and non-majors. Prerequisites: a 16X course and consent of instructor. Offered Spring Term alternate years.
GEO 241
Introduction to Meteorology
An introduction to the physical laws that control the structure and movement of the atmosphere and its interaction with the surface of the earth, weather prediction, climate, air pollution. Does not apply toward major. Offered Winter Term alternate years.
GEO 261
Issues in Environmental Geology
An in-depth examination of special topics in environmental geology such as natural hazards, pollution, water, energy or mineral resources. Will analyze real cases in the chosen topic. Labs. Field trips. May be team-taught. Offered Spring Term. Not open to students with prior credit in Geo 163. Satisfies the SL CCR and partially satisfies the SM CCR.
GEO 262
History of Life
Introduction to the scientific study of fossils (paleontology) and survey of major developments in the co-evolution of life and the physical environment. Laboratory exercises emphasize the identification and illustration of fossil specimens, mainly invertebrates, and the interpretation of their morphology. Field trips to local fossil collecting localities. Introductory biology or physical geology recommended. Satisfies the SL CCR and partially satisfies the SM CCR.
GEO 322
Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology
The description, identification, and classification of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The origins and occurrences of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Laboratory: hand-specimen and thin-section study of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Prerequisite: 220. Offered Winter Term alternate years.
GEO 323
Structural Geology
A study of the mechanical behavior of earth materials. Description, identification, and mechanical analysis of folds, faults and other geologic structures. Laboratory: geometric analysis of structures. Prerequisite: a 16X course. Offered Winter Term alternate years.
GEO 327
Sedimentary Deposits
The study, classification, and interpretation of ancient and modern sediments and sedimentary rock sequences. Laboratory: handspecimenand thin-section study of sedimentary rocks, mechanical and compositional analysis of sediments, and preparation of stratigraphic maps. Field study of modern sediments and sedimentary rocks. Prerequisite: a Geo 16X course and permission of the instructor. Offered Winter Term alternate years.
GEO 328
Physical Hydrogeology
Introduction to groundwater chemistry and the physical principles governing groundwater flow. Integration of geomorphic, stratigraphic, geochemical, and hydraulic date concepts in building mathematical models of groundwater systems. Heavy emphasis on analysis of numerical problems and, in laboratory, use of physical and computer models. Prerequisite: a Geo 16X course and permission of the instructor. Offered Fall Term.
GEO 334
The study of the forces and processes that shape the earth's surface as a means of understanding how the earth's features develop. Laboratory: interpretation and analysis of the earth's surficial features as seen on maps and photographs, field trips. Prerequisite: a 16X course. Offered Fall Term alternate years.
GEO 361
Research Methods
The detailed study of a specific topic in geology through a search of the literature and a review of current research in the area. Prerequisite: 220. Offered Winter Term. 0.25 unit.
GEO 461
Senior Seminar