Experience first-hand the important and exciting field of geology through our diverse program offerings

Why study Geology?

Geoscientists study and assess global and local earth systems and contribute to prediction of future trends. They solve environmental issues, locate water, mineral, and energy resources, and predict and help understand, predict, and lessen risks of natural hazards and disasters.

Few disciplines in today's world play such a significant role in how society operates and what we can do to protect our future. Few fields of study can play such a profound role in protecting people's lives on a daily basis, whether you realize it or not. And few can bring together so many disparate ideas, from sciences to social sciences to humanities to the arts, like the study of the Earth can. (Dear College Students: You should take Geology  https://www.wired.com/2016/08/dear-college-students-take-geology/)

Why study Geology at GVSU?

“There are few undergraduate geoscience programs that compare to GVSU. The opportunity for academic success, rigorous undergraduate research and positive mentoring relationships has been invaluable in my academic career.”


“This program offers so many opportunities to become academically involved and form close mentorship connections with faculty. The blend of geology and chemistry provides the knowledge and skills to prepare you for a range of successful career paths.


“The Earth science program is not only the most comprehensive program of study I’ve participated in, but also the most well-rounded. I came into the program knowing very little about Earth science, but due to the active, hands-on, and engaging nature of the program, I emerged from the program as a person ready to enlighten others in the field.”


Take an introductory course in GEO

People hiking up rocky trail

In these courses you will build a better understanding of and your relationships to the earth systems that you inhabit. Finding solutions to many of our most pressing societal issues requires that we as global citizens understand the dynamic earth systems in which we live and our complex relationships to them. All of the introductory courses offered by the Geology department fulfill a General Education Physical Sciences requirement.

GEO 480/580 Applied Glacial and Quaternary Geology - Online Asynchronous Course

GEO480/580 - An online asynchronous course
Applied Glacial and Quaternary Geology
Prof. Patrick Colgan ([email protected])
Department of Geology, Grand Valley State University


group shot

Students visiting LaRue Quarry (an excellent outcrop of the Cambrian-Precambrian unconformity) during a Fall 2021 field trip exploring the geology of the Baraboo district in Wisconsin.

Become a Geoscience Major or Minor

Join a vibrant and welcoming learning community of students and faculty. Our curriculum includes significant project-based learning that includes significant exposure to learning in the field and in the lab using a variety of instruments and analytical tools. The geoscientists’ need to use spatial analysis and consider problems in the context of deep time make them excellent critical thinkers and problems solvers. Most students engage in high-impact practices, including individual research with faculty. Our students are active in the department, running two faculty-mentored clubs and maintaining a student research space.

The Geology Department offers undergraduate B.S. degrees in Geology, Geochemistry, and Earth Science. Our graduates are well regarded and go on to outstanding graduate schools and/or find well-paid jobs in environmental science, hydrogeology, the energy and minerals industry, engineering geology, academic research, and K-12 teaching.  We are a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Geology Department Highlights

Emeritus Professor William (Bill) Neal is co-author on paper in SCIENCE!!

Check out the full article: Rangel-Buitrago, N and Neal, W,  2023, The unsustainable harvest of coastal sands, Science 382 (6675), . DOI: 10.1126/science.adj9593

Recent graduate Ryleigh Landstra and Geology Professor Ian Winkelstern co-author paper on “pisoid” formation

Their results on how pisoliths form today can inform how we interpret them in ancient geological deposits. Read the full article for more information.

Link to full article: Landstra, R., & Winkelstern, I. (2023). Constraining the formation conditions of modern pisoids at Ore Lake, Michigan. Sedimentologika, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.57035/journals/sdk.2023.e11.1179.

Image Source: Ian Winkelstern, GVSU Geology Dept.

Geology Professor John Weber is co-author in Nature Portfolio paper

What do medically important snakes have to do with geology? Learn more by reading the full article...

Image reference and link to full article: Jowers, M.J., Smart, U., Sánchez-Ramírez, S. et al. Unveiling underestimated species diversity within the Central American Coralsnake, a medically important complex of venomous taxa. Sci Rep 13, 11674 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-37734-5

GVSU students studying water in the western United States

link to newsclip about course

Fossil Clues - GVSU Geology Research in South Carolina

Video of research on fossils in South Carolina

A short video highlighting the work of a research team led by GVSU geology professor Ian Winkelstern

GVSU geology faculty member recognized as a top public university educator

Making Waves: Tara Kneeshaw analyzes ways the microscopic world can indicate, or help, water quality


19th Annual Chili Cook-Off

Nineteenth annual geology chili cook off fosters friendship through food. click on image to read the Lanthorn article about this long-standing event.

Check out details of the first annual climate meme contest and pioneering winners of the meme contest and other climate-related happenings in Professor Mekik's Climatology Lab

Go to Professor Mekik's Climatology Lab website: https://www.gvsu.edu/climatelab/ or find out more on Facebook

A warm remembrance of Tom Hendrix (1933-2023)

Photo of Tom Hendrix

Photograph of Tom Hendrix from the GVSU archives.

On Sunday October 8th, 2023 Tom Hendrix passed away, and the GVSU Geology Department lost one of its most distinguished faculty members in the unit’s history. Read the full memoir by Bill Neal here.

The GVSU Geology Department mourns the loss of 2 departmental icons

Image of candle burning in black background

A warm rememberance of Norman W. Ten Brink (1943–2023)

We are saddened by the loss of an outstanding geomorphologist and pioneer of the GVSU Geology program, Norm Ten Brink. Emeritus faculty member William (Bill) J. Neal along with alumni Alan Werner, and Christopher Waythomas recently published "A thoughtful tribute to Norman W. Ten Brink (1943–2023)" in AAAR. We hope you will take the time to read the full article (linked here) in remembrance of Norm and celebrate his amazing life and accomplishments.

Reference: William J. Neal, Alan Werner & Christopher F. Waythomas (2023) Memorial to Norman W. Ten Brink (1943–2023), Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 55:1, 2248844,
DOI: 10.1080/15230430.2023.2248844.
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/15230430.2023.2248844


Upcoming Events

Invitation to department picnic and Greg Wilson retirement party

Help us celebrate Greg Wilson's retirement by sending pictures and memories to Peter Riemersma ([email protected]) or sharing them at this link.



GSA 2024 Joint North-Central and South-Central Section Meeting

21–23 April 2024

Springfield, Missouri, USA
Oasis Hotel and Convention Center

Goldschmidt 2024 is in Chicago!

Goldschmidt is the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organized by the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry.

 Are you a former student of the GVSU geology department?  Send us your contact information

Page last modified April 10, 2024