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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.


The Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin is among the most established and well-regarded geosciences programs in the world. The school includes the University’s Department of Geological Sciences , one of the country’s oldest geological sciences departments, and two world-renowned research units, the Institute for Geophysics and the Bureau of Economic Geology . The school is home to the world’s largest academic geosciences community of alumni, research scientists, and faculty members as well as one of the largest combined graduate and undergraduate enrollments of any major geoscience program.

The Jackson School is both old and new. It traces its origins to the Department of Geology founded in 1888 but became a separate unit at the level of a college on September 1, 2005. The school’s formation resulted from one of the most generous gifts in the history of higher education when the late John A. and Katherine G. Jackson bequeathed endowments and assets toward “the subjects of geology; geophysics; energy, mineral and water resources; as well as the broad areas of the earth sciences, including the Earth’s environment.” The charge of their gift and the responsibilities that come with it are reflected in the school’s vision:

To become the preeminent geosciences program in the country with international prominence in geology, geophysics, energy, mineral and water resources, and in the broad areas of the earth sciences, including the Earth’s environment. To realize this vision, the Jackson School will pursue initiatives that:

  • Place the school at the forefront of research.

  • Place the school at the forefront of education, student services, and student opportunities.

  • Create the fabric of a great college.

  • Increase competitiveness for top talent.

Financial Assistance Available through the School

Through the Geology Foundation, the Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG) 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 standing and performance. Each long semester (fall/spring) JSG geological sciences students’ academic performance is evaluated along defined criteria including, but not limited to, grade point average, progress towards degree, and hours completed. New geological sciences students are eligible for consideration starting their second long semester as a Jackson School student. Award amounts range from $750 to $3,450 with the total award amounts increasing as students approach graduation and a 4.00 GPA. Funds are awarded after the start of the semester and can be used to pay for books, course supplies or any other academic expenses. 

The Geology Foundation also offers an Undergraduate Recruitment Scholarship for freshmen geological sciences majors and an emergency loan program for Jackson School students. All students may also seek financial assistance through the University’s Office of Student Financial Services. Additional information for all of the JSG Financial Assistance programs is available online or by contacting the JSG Student Services Office.

Student Services

The mission of the Jackson School of Geosciences Student Services Office is to facilitate students' development and advancement in the Jackson School community and beyond.  Services provided to all Jackson School majors and nonmajors such as professional academic advising and career counseling are available to students year-round.

Academic Advising

The JSG Academic Advising office, located in the Holland Family Student Center, JGB 2.108, serves the undergraduate students of the Jackson School by offering academic advising and guidance. Each undergraduate student is expected to meet with a JSG academic adviser at least once per semester to review his/her academic progress and prepare to register for the next semester. Information related to JSG academic programs and opportunities is frequently distributed to students via email which is considered an official form of communication by the University. Students are responsible for reading this information and taking the necessary actions in a timely manner. JSG Student Services staff is available to meet with students throughout the year to address any issues or questions they may have.

Counseling and Referral Services

The Jackson School of Geosciences Student Services office advises and counsels students about problems or concerns they have about their academic work or life in the school.

In addition, University counseling services are available from the Counseling and Mental Health Center , the Telephone Counseling Service, the Sanger Learning Center , and University Health Services . These offices are described in General Information.

Career Services

The Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG) Career Center , located in the Holland Family Student Center, JGB 2.112, serves the undergraduate and graduate students of the Jackson School by offering career development workshops, job search resources, and opportunities to network with alumni, recruiters and members of industry.

The JSG Career Center 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 company information sessions as well as on-campus interviews with recruiters each fall and spring. 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.