The Geology: Paleobiology program is part of the School of Earth, Environment and Society in the College of Arts and Sciences.

BGSU geology paleobiology students gather and measure rock samples to trace the path of life through the fossil record.
  • Bachelors Available
  • Bachelors Available

Biology: Paleobiology specialization

Geology is the study of the Earth, its composition, its structure and the processes acting upon them, including the evolution of the organisms that inhabit our planet. 

BGSU geology major offers a specialization in Paleobiology, the study of the biology, evolution and extinction of plants and animals through the fossil record.

Using the same core skills as a geologist, paleobiologists hunt for traces and clues of how life unfolded through the fossilized remains left behind in the layers of our Earth. 

Careers tend to parallel geologists, with paths in science, education and research, resource management and protecting the natural environment.  

Dig deeper

Clues to the evolution and extinction of life over millions of years ago can be found under the Earth’s surface.  

The examination of the ebb and flow of previous life is the concern of the paleobiologist. By examining the layers of the Earth and the remnants of life preserved in sediments and rocks, paleobiologists can find clues about the evolution, environment and life on Earth.

Paleobiology is crucial to dating and correlating rock layers.

Fossil clues during previous climate events are generating insight into how we may handle the current climate change of the Anthropocene. 

Geoscientists consider the Earth in a broad context that integrates atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere using geospatial sciences and multidisciplinary perspectives.

BGSU researchers are on the cutting edge of paleobiological research, with science partnerships with major governmental agencies and a rich history of published discoveries.   

Stand Out in courses like

  • Earth Structures & Tectonics
  • Sedimentation & Stratigraphy
  • Geologic History of Dinosaurs
  • Quantitative Methods in Geology
  • Vertebrate Paleontology
  • General Genetics
  • Paleontology
  • Evolution

An evolving view of our past, and future.

Curriculum

The geology major emphasizes both laboratory and field experience. Geology provides an understanding and knowledge of the history and processes that have shaped our planet through its 4.5 billion years. 

The BGSU Bachelor of Science degree in geology with a paleobiology specialization will add courses in evolution and genetics to core courses in the structure and processes of the Earth.

With a technology revolution unfolding in geology, all students will become familiar with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques and quantitative methods in geology. These skills open up careers in many Earth science disciplines.  

There is a required five-week summer field course held in New Mexico and Colorado. Field courses expose students to various geological settings and applications, integrating the latest technology in field mapping.

Field Camp

The BGSU field course exposes students to a variety of geological settings and applications, integrating the latest technology in field mapping. Geology students learn how digital mapping and data analysis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can facilitate fieldwork and improve the understanding of the geology of an area. 

Working with sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks, students learn how to make systematic observations, accurate recordings and sound interpretations of the geology seen in outcrops. 

Field exercises include measuring and analyzing sedimentary sections, construction of geologic maps, structural analysis of folds and faults, slope stability analysis and environmental assessments. Paleobiology specialization students will examine the fossil record of all locations visited. 

Students will learn to use Brunton compasses, laptop and ruggedized tablet computers, GPS receivers, aerial photographs, topography maps, satellite images and GIS databases in their projects. 

Field areas are in the Basin and Range, Colorado Plateau and Rocky Mountain provinces.

Laboratory Facilities

GeoInformatics Laboratory (GIL)

The aim of the GeoInformatics Laboratory (GIL) is to support applications of emerging geospatial technologies in interdisciplinary research and education at the School of Earth Environment and Society as well as Bowling Green State University. With state-of-the-art equipment, including laser scanners, marine radar and canopy analyzers, the lab helps students and our communities understand their environment.

G-ECO Remote Sensing Lab

Graduate and undergraduate students use field, satellite and drone data to address environmental, geographical, biological and geological issues.  

Students gain knowledge and experience in both field data collection and computer lab research. Graduate and undergraduate students in G-ECO lab monitor the status of forest, crops, rocks, water (e.g., Lake Erie’s Ohio coastline) sediments and algal blooms, carbon budget, land-use changes, and many other natural and human-induced phenomena. 

Paleontology laboratory  

The paleontology laboratory houses well over 120,000 fossil specimens for teaching and research, with particular strength in Paleozoic marine invertebrates. Students have access to several stereomicroscopes (including one with a dedicated digital camera and camera lucida), mechanical (hand tools, Dremel), and chemical preparation facilities and field collection equipment.

Careers

Geologists are employed in areas such as environmental consulting, oil and gas exploration, mineral resource exploration and mining, and federal and state agencies. Their skills are in demand and the critical nature of the work means reward and responsibility levels are high. 

Geologists also explore and help develop natural resources and clean up and reclaim land.

Many paleobiologists work in museums or as research scientists. Science and education careers can follow many research areas; climate investigations rely on an in-depth understanding of the Earth’s past that paleobiologists are well placed to help explore.

Splitting their time between the lab, the office, and the field, geoscientists need to be as comfortable and knowledgeable on a computer as they are in the field, able to understand and critically analyze the samples in their hands and data flowing in from sophisticated sensing equipment like satellites or seismometers. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a rise in the number of geologist jobs needed in the next ten years as the impact of climate change and the competition for resources increase.  

The BLS also reports that the median annual wage for geoscientists was $93,580 in May 2020. 

GO FAR in your career

  • Paleontology Principal Investigator
  • Human Paleontologists
  • Paleobiologist
  • Geoscientist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Land Use Lawyer
  • GIS Technician
  • Science Journalist
  • Museum Curator
  • Park Ranger

BGSU Arts and Sciences white

The Geology: Paleobiology program is part of the School of Earth, Environment and Society in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Academic Investment in Mathematics and Science (AIMS) Program

All AIMS Scholars have a unique opportunity to strengthen their academic skills and to increase their likelihood of academic success in college.  

The AIMS program has two scholarship packages with distinct requirements.  

The AIMS Standard scholarship is traditionally awarded to women and students of color with STEM majors. 

The AIMS BOSEF scholarship targets Ohio residents majoring in the following majors: chemistry, physics, biology, geology, environmental science, applied mathematics, mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology and with career goals related to renewable energy.

Part of your college success depends on the relationship you create with faculty mentors and academic advisors. The AIMS Program is designed to promote and strengthen these relationships.

Geology Club

The Bowling Green State University Geology Club serves geology majors and faculty and other geologically inclined students from across the University.  The club strives to foster the communication of ideas within the geological sciences and works to create social and professional opportunities for students.

Geology Club has organized group discussions, movie nights, field trips, and the annual Geology Banquet. The Geology Club also strives to provide information on professional opportunities including internships, graduate schools, and job openings. Check out our social media page.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the baccalaureate degree, students in geology are expected to:

  • Identify, describe, and classify earth materials, formations and structures and interpret them in the context of geologic processes;
  • Analyze and report quantitative geologic data collected in the field and laboratory;
  • Read, write, present, and critically evaluate geologic reports, professional papers and maps;
  • Synthesize information from a variety of disciplines to solve geologic problems.

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Geology program went through Program/Cluster Review during the 2019-20 Academic Year.

Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The geology program does not lead to professional licensure.

Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The geology program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.



* Job placement and salary information was compiled by the Office of Academic Assessment through the Graduation Survey from AY2015-2018. The data are gathered around the time of Commencement and a follow-up survey six months post Commencement. For the salary question, data for programs with fewer than fifteen responses are not included. Salaries for those programs are from the National Association of Colleges and Employers Summer 2019 Survey. For questions regarding the data, contact assessment@bgsu.edu.

Updated: 04/14/2022 04:27PM