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The Geology program at Radford prepares you for a professional career, graduate study in the field, or for licensure to teach earth and space science. Offering a wide variety of emphases, we take particular pride in our environmental and engineering concentration which provides you with hands-on experience.

two students looking at a geology device


General Geology
The General Geology Concentration is designed for students who wish a broad, traditional overview of geology as an academic discipline. Students are encouraged to use electives to gain competency in particular topics. The concentration is appropriate for students interested in pursuing graduate studies in geology. A total of 120 semester hours are required for this degree (including Core Currciulum, required courses and electives).

Engineering and Environmental Geoscience
The Environmental and Engineering Geology concentration is designed for students wishing to emphasize the engineering and hydrological aspects of geology as they pertain to addressing practical problems in society. A total of 120 semester hours are required for this degree (including Core Currciulum, required courses and electives).

Earth Sciences
The Department of Geology offers courses which will qualify prospective teachers for licensure to teach earth and space science. The appropriate courses in education must be taken. (Contact the College of Education and Human Development for information concerning these courses.) A total of 36 semester hours of education courses are required; a total of 127 semester hours are required to graduate (includes Core Curriculum, required courses and electives).

Geology (minor)
A student who wishes to elect a minor in geology is required to take 20 credit hours, including GEOL 100, 105, and 106, plus a minimum of eight additional semester hours from geology courses other than GEOL 498.

Why Study Geology at Radford?

  • We offer a unique, four-course program in unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Students learn to fly and maintain drones, collect data, develop 3-D models, and gain knowledge leading to FAA professional certification. Drone use teaches students to analyze geologic hazards, aids in geologic mapping, and helps them conduct research. Radford's UAS program provides skills that are highly sought after by employers and widely applicable to related fields such as environmental analysis and infrastructure development.
  • We stress student-faculty research. Approximately one-third of our students present their research at professional conferences. We focus on Individualized instruction and each student is advised by a faculty member in the department.
  • A current study-abroad program is to study the ice fields and surrounding lakes in Patagonia, Chile with an emphasis on witnessing and researching the effects of climate change.
  • We’ve offered a concentration in engineering and environmental geosciences for nearly 40 years. Environmental geology has replaced the energy industry as the No. 1 source of employment for geologists. We have an active alumni network that looks to hire Radford graduates.

Careers and Internships

Radford graduates have entered careers in geology, environmental science, and drone-related fields. Present employers include:

  • Hazen and Sawyer (hydrogeology)
  • Koontz Bryant Johnson (civil engineering)
  • DroneUp (drones)
  • TRC (environmental construction)
  • American Electric Power
  • Underhill Engineering (geologist).

Opportunities at Radford

  • Artis College Living Learning Community
  • Research projects include: Mountain Lake, Virginia; Natural Bridge, Virginia; Mount Rogers volcanic rocks, Patagonia, Chile; Indo-Burman Ranges, India; Barrow, Alaska (with the physics department)
  • We have three very active student groups in our program:
  • RUGS (Radford University Geological Society)
  • AEG (Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists)
  • Sigma Gamma Epsilon (the National Earth Science Honor Society) 

Admission Requirements

Freshmen applicants who meet the following criteria will receive direct admission to Radford University:

  • Official transcript submitted directly from high school by email, mail, fax or partner services such as Parchment or
  • 3.3 cumulative GPA
  • Passing grade in Algebra II 
  • 30 majors

  • 8 to 10 students on average in upper level courses

  • 1/3 of our students present their research at a professional conference

  • 88% graduate school placement or job offer rate within 1 year of graduation

Over the wintermester of 2022, Garrett O’Hara made memories that are sure to last a lifetime and inspire other students to partner with faculty for doing first-hand research in some of the most remote and awe-inspiring regions of the planet! He and geology professor Ryan Sincavage, Ph.D. studied the glacially-fed lakes of Patagonia, Chile. Garrett was able to fly a state-of-the-art drone for collecting aerial images and collect sand samples for thermoluminescence-based age dating.

two individuals closely inspecting a large rock

“Part of why I chose Radford University was the amazing opportunities for research. For this year's Patagonia trip, I signed up the first day I could - my background in research with UAV drones was very applicable. Northern Patagonia is truly one of Earth's last great frontiers and I am extremely thankful to Radford University for working to provide such a valuable experience that I'll never forget!”

Garrett O'Hara

garrett ohara standing on a large rock in a river

We want to get to know you better and we are excited that you are ready to take your next step and learn more about us. We are here to help you and look forward to working with you during your college search process.