Department of Geology

Map of Locations of WIU Geology AlumniMost geology jobs require at least a Bachelor's Degree to qualify for an entry level position. Usually a Master's Degree (and sometimes a Ph.D.) is desirable for more senior level positions with more responsibilities.

The diversity of the discipline and the excellent employment opportunities for women entering the profession make geology an excellent career choice. Our department, where nearly 50% of our majors are female, proudly reflects the trend for women to consider science as their career. A principal mission of the Dept. of Geology at WIU is to help launch our graduates into a career in one of the many geoscience professions. Our faculty are well-qualified in this respect. Most have had previous geologic experience in industry before coming to Western, and several maintain ties to industry as geologic consultants to well-known firms.

Our curriculum emphasizes the applied aspects of geology and is geared to provide our majors with an academic foundation which is broad and flexible in order to maximize career options after graduation. We also teach all the necessary courses to launch students successfully into environmental geology and hydrogeology.

Although many of our graduates begin their career with only a Bachelor's Degree in geology, others have gone on to complete their Master's Degrees and/or Ph.D.'s at such well-known universities as: University of Arizona, Ohio State, Purdue University, Indiana University, University of Nebraska, University of Oklahoma, University of Tennessee, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, University of Missouri, Texas A&M, the University of Arkansas and many more.

Environmental Geology

The majority of recent graduates are beginning their geology careers in this important and rapidly growing field of study. Job titles might include: geologist, environmental geologist, environmental analyst, engineering geologist, environmental engineer, hydrogeologist, hydrologist, soils engineer, geochemist, geophysicist, geological technician, or laboratory assistant.

Some potential employers in this field of geology are:

  • Government agencies associated with environmental problems (such as the Environmental Protection Agency)

  • Environmental consulting firms

  • Civil engineering firms

  • Water testing laboratories

  • City, state and federal land use planning agencies

  • Public utilities

  • Sanitary districts

  • Large factories

  • Mines

  • Aerial survey firms

  • Highway departments

  • Surveying and drilling companies

Economic Geology

Once the greatest employers of new geologists, this area consists of the two major fields listed below.

Petroleum Geology

Job titles might include: petroleum exploration geologist, well-site operations geologist, paleontologist, geophysical prospector, geochemist, scout, stratigrapher, sedimentologist or sedimentary petrologist, well-log analyst, mud-logger, logging engineer.

Some potential employers in this field of geology are:

  • Oil and natural gas exploration and development companies

  • Geophysical exploration firms

  • Independent petroleum consultants

  • Drilling companies

  • Oil well service industries including well-logging companies

  • well testing and treatment companies

  • Sales and service of oil-field machinery and supplies

Mining Geology

Geologists may be employed as mineralogists, petrologists, explorationists, or economic analysts. Some potential employers in this field of geology are:

  • Geological or geophysical exploration firms

  • Mining engineering companies

  • Mining companies specializing in metals, non-metals, or coal


Jobs in this area include teaching general science or earth science in secondary schools, or geology and earth sciences in junior colleges, colleges, and universities. A Master's Degree is usually needed for junior college teaching and a Ph.D. is required for teaching at the university level.


The wide variety of jobs that WIU geology graduates have landed is surprising. Among these are the military, railroads, environmental cleanup companies, waste control and disposal businesses, state highway departments, manufacturers and suppliers, import/export companies, technical publishing companies, sales firms, banks, and investment groups.

WIU students should visit the WIU Career Services office in 125 Memorial Hall as a first step towards finding a job.