Geology Program

Why study Geology?

Study volcanoes in Italy, spend ten days on the Antigonish highlands with the geology field school, or take part in an international collaboration with geologists from Mongolia as part of our exchange program; the Geology program at Saint Mary’s offers these opportunities and more.

Geology is the study of the Earth, its components and the processes that affect it. Geologists seek to understand the Earth and its physical, chemical and biological evolution. Geologists can choose from a very diverse range of careers, including mineral and hydrocarbon exploration, engineering and environmental consulting, volcanology, seismology and other geological, process-based research. They often divide their time among work in the field, the lab and the office.

The Saint Mary’s approach

This valuable degree offers students state-of-the-art laboratories, world-renowned professors, a co-op option and an atmosphere that supports undergraduate research. Students can graduate with a Geology Major or Honours, or with a Double Major or Honours with either Geography or Business Studies.

Hands-on learning

This program is as hands-on as it gets, with about 50% of the degree taught in labs or in the field. As an undergraduate student, you’ll be actively involved in research areas such as economic geology, archaeological geology, as well as igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary geology. One particular strength of the program is its emphasis on student research. Our undergraduate students have presented their research internationally.

Sample courses offered:

  • Understanding the Earth
  • The Dynamic Earth
  • Global Change
  • Field Methods
  • International Field School
  • Optical Mineralogy
  • Igneous Petrology


Career options for geology majors:

  • Exploration geologist
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Mapping geologist
  • Marine geoscientist
  • Geochemist
  • Economic mineralogist
  • Hydrogeologist (groundwater resources)
  • Volcanologist

What our professors are saying

“Geology majors at Saint Mary’s University have access to world-class collections for their laboratory courses, gain valuable hands-on experience with state-of-the-art geological tools unique to the region, and participate in applied research with faculty and industry.”

- Dr. Jacob Hanley, Geology Professor 

What our students are up to

Meet Mariah Williams, a fourth-year Geology student and Vice-President of the Saint Mary’s University D. Hope Simpson Geology Society. Mariah is the inaugural recipient of the university’s Fred and Nali George Scholarship in Geology/Business Studies; she also won the prize for best oral presentation at the 2018 Atlantic Universities Geoscience Conference. Last summer, she worked as a Geo Technician in the Yukon on the exploration site at Triumph Gold, an experience she plans to use as the basis for her Honours project in deposit exploration.

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