As a geology student at Hanover, you will develop your scientific reasoning through discoveries in the classroom and in the field. Geology studies are supported by a wide range of hands-on experiences that make learning come to life.

Our small class sizes allow for lively discussions about compelling issues in geology, ranging from global warming to depletion of our natural resources. You will have opportunities to work with state-of-the-art laboratory technology and pursue research in collaboration with our faculty. You will gain valuable field experience in at least one of Hanover’s off-campus travel courses to the Grand Canyon, Ghost Ranch, N.M., or even northwest Scotland, where you will learn how to recognize rock types and geological structures, as well as apply your knowledge to field-mapping and problem-solving. Our students are prepared for graduate school or careers in environmental geology, geotechnical consulting, hydrology and the energy and mineral industries. As a Hanover geology graduate, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to address critical issues that will shape our planet’s future.

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. Fee charged.
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. Lab fee.
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. Satisfies the QL ACE. Lab fee.
GEO 224
Mineralogy and Petrology
Introduction to the major groups of rocks and minerals through examination of hand specimens and petrographic thin sections. Emphasis on identification and classification of rocks and minerals and the use of both to interpret ancient environmnets of deposition, orogens, and the genesis and evolution of rock melts. Lab work includes preparation of thin sections and polished slabs. Optional field trip to the metamorphic core zones of the Applachian Mountains. Prerequisite a 16X course. Offered Fall Term alternate years. Not open to students with prior credit in GEO 220 or GEO 322. Fee charged.
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 239
Field Studies in Historical Geology
An introduction to the scientific study of geology with an emphasis on reconstructing regional geologic and tectonic history. Students will learn to identify and describe rock types, rock sequences, fossils, geologic structures, and surficial deposits and landforms; understand their formative processes; and place them within a given region's developmental history. Students will develop specific skills and experience: 1) using topographic maps, geologic maps, aerial photographs, and GPS for navigation and for recognition and mapping of geological features; 2) with proper field-note taking, including written descriptions and drawings, and 3) with synthesis and interpretation of geologic data. Not open to students with prior credit in 233. Satisfies the SL CCR. Partially satisfies the SM CCR. Offered May Term of 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 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. Lab fee.
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. Lab fee.
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. Lab fee.
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. Lab fee.
GEO 461
Senior Seminar