Geoscience Majors’ Career Options from the Mountains to the Seas


Those heading into geoscience majors are likely headed for a highly valuable career! As future geoscientists, you can look forward to work outdoors, travel, research, and a high salary as well. If that all sounds good to you, do some further research and make sure the courses are interesting to you, and that you develop the necessary skills through school and work experience.

What you’ll study

When you enter a geoscience major, expect to take many courses in geology, chemistry, math, physics, and geography. The geography courses within your major will vary and may include courses in physical geography, as well as human geography and mapping/modeling. For example, in physical geography, you’ll likely cover many courses in hydrology, natural hazards, and geomorphology. Whereas in your mapping and modeling courses, you may learn a programming language or ArcMap. Finally, you’ll likely touch on a bit of human geography in order to understand the human consequences of extractive industries.

Skills you’ll develop

As a geoscientist, there are certain skills that are essential to your profession. Here, you will aim to develop these during your undergraduate degree. After a few years, you’ll then take a step further in your co-op work placements or junior work post-graduation.

  • Cartography – map and chart making
  • Laboratory skills – conducted in the field
  • Mathematical and statistical analysis
  • Programming – in several languages
  • Remote sensing and GIS skills
  • Technical writing skills

Career options

Geoscience majors generally end up in positions as geoscientists within the public or private sector. But there is also the opportunity to be self-employed. In terms of their career descriptions, geoscientists spend their days researching and exploring Earth’s interior in order to minimize the harmful effects of large projects such as mining or petroleum operations. Therefore, this means they will often work out in the field, at the site of the project.

However, with a geoscience major, you have some flexibility in terms of career positions. In other words, you have a good head start on the careers below:

  • Atmospheric scientists (including meteorologists)
  • Civil engineers
  • Survey Tech
  • Environmental engineers
  • Geochemist
  • Environmental scientists and specialists
  • Geological and petroleum technicians
  • Hydrologists
  • Mining and geological engineers
  • Environmental Geoscientist
  • Site Cost Controller
  • Oceanographer
  • Water Management and Consulting
  • Explosives Specialist
  • Geoscience Support in IT and Consulting Services
  • Environmental Compliance and Performance
  • Sampler Analyst
  • Environmental Protection

If you love the environment, science, and technology, the geoscience major could be your calling. Careers in this field take you into the wilderness. There, you examine the Earth in order to minimize the costs of industries operating there. Also, it means it comes with a high salary, around $79 000 a year, with many geoscientists making over $100 000 according to Payscale.

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