WHAT'S IT LIKE TO BE A GEOLOGY MAJOR? 
HOW DOES A DEGREE IN GEOLOGY AT UM DIFFER FROM OTHER PLACES?

Geologists try to figure out how the Earth works. The best way to do this is to observe Earth processes in action today, or observe ancient deposits that record those processes in the past. This means that students need to be exposed to lots of geology in the field. South Florida and environs is a world class place to study young reef deposits, an important environmental “canary in the coal mine”, but lacks most other types of geologic deposits. Our students study modern reefs locally, and travel extensively to obtain that critical experience in diverse geologic environments.

Our students are world travelers. Recent department field trips include Death Valley in California (photos), Mexico, Hawaii (photos), and Ecuador (photos). We also take extensive advantage of our proximity to the Caribbean and Central America by taking frequent short trips to the region. Recent examples include Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico (photos). Individual students may also conduct field excursions as part of a study abroad program, or as part of their Bachelor's thesis requirements for Honors students; recent destinations included Iceland and New Zealand.

A required course for majors, usually taken at the end of their third year, is the month long summer field trip to Newfoundland (photos). Samples and data collected during that trip are used in several fourth year courses. Many students who have participated in this "capstone" course have said that it is a life-changing experience.