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This is an archived copy of the 2013-15 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

General Information


As civilization enters an era of increasing challenge, it is imperative that leaders, professionals, and citizens be well educated, competently and realistically able to address issues of local to global scope. With regard to the origin, history, structure, and processes of the planet Earth, and the use and management of its resources, the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences aims to provide such an education. The objective of every natural science, including geological sciences, is to understand the realm of physical nature. Geological sciences, or geosciences, is a synthetic subject that examines the Earth through such traditional subdisciplines as geophysics, hydrogeology, paleontology, petrology, stratigraphy, and structural geology. Geoscientists also draw upon discoveries from mathematics, geography, archaeology, engineering, and the other sciences to meld an approach that is interdisciplinary, yet uniquely geological.

The need for well-educated geoscientists in industry, government, and education promises a bright future for geoscience professionals in the coming decades. As the human population expands, it is essential to develop sufficient resources and to maintain a livable environment. Geoscientists understand the dynamics of the Earth and its systems—the occurrence of natural resources and the diverse time scales of natural and human-induced change.

Every university seeks to enrich the education of its student body generally. Study of geosciences enhances a liberal arts or arts and sciences education. Geosciences uses experiments and observations to explore origins and processes, whether of the Earth itself, of geologic phenomena, or of the history of life. It operates in the conventional three dimensions of space and in the fourth dimension of deep geologic time. Both in the laboratory and in the field, it examines the Earth on all scales, from atomic nuclei, to a hand sample of rock, to an entire landscape, to continents and oceans, to the planet as a whole.

Financial Assistance Available through the School

Through the Geology Foundation, the Jackson School makes available to its students a number of scholarship funds established by individuals, foundations, and industrial or research organizations. Scholarships are awarded entirely on the basis of academic performance and standing. Grants, when available, may be awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need, without regard to grade point average. Information is available from the Undergraduate Student Services Office. The Geology Foundation also offers a student emergency loan program, and students may seek additional assistance through the University’s Office of Student Financial Services.

Student Services

Academic Advising

The Undergraduate Student Services Office and faculty members advise students in the Jackson School, including those not seeking a degree in geological sciences and those who have not yet selected a major.

Academic advising begins after the twelfth class day in the fall and spring semesters and after the fourth class day in the summer session. Students are encouraged to meet with an adviser as early as possible, because procrastination may prevent their timely registration.

Career Services

The Jackson School offers career planning and job placement assistance for students. The Career Services staff offers interview tips and can help with career planning, résumé writing, job search techniques, and business and professional etiquette.

Career Services also helps Jackson School graduates and students about to graduate seek full-time or part-time jobs and internships. The staff posts job opportunities throughout the year and hosts recruiters who offer information sessions as well as on-campus interviews each fall and spring. The Career Services office also offers résumé referral for students and employers. The Jackson School of Geosciences Career Fair, which brings students and employers together every fall, provides another forum for geosciences students to learn about different career opportunities.

Career services for students who plan to teach are provided by Education Career Services in the College of Education and by UTeach-Natural Sciences.

Career Services and the Undergraduate Student Services Office can help students choose majors and careers, find internships, and plan for employment or graduate study. However, the University makes no guarantee to secure employment for each graduate.

What Starts Here Changes the World