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What draws students to the Geology Major? Watch our short video to find out!

 Paul Myrow's Oceanography class gets rave reviews.

Welcome to CC Geology!

Features of the 2020-21 academic year are online teaching and 'the 11-block year!' Solomon Seyum is the Department’s distinguished Riley Teaching and Research Fellow, and Visiting Assistant Professor Rosario Esposito joined the Department for one year. Both are teaching courses in their specializations in 2nd Semester: Structural Geology, for Prof. Seyum, and Volcanology, for Prof. Esposito. Another esteemed Faculty visitor is our own Visiting Prof Eric Leonard, who teamed up with Prof. Esposito to teach Regional Studies “in” Iceland.

 Regional Studies class in California 2019-20GY445 Regional Studies class in California


Mission Statement

The Geology Department is a place of active inquiry and intellectual exploration for faculty and students who are engaged in academic courses and original research in Earth Sciences. We use Colorado College's flexible Block Plan schedule to teach distinctive courses that extensively utilize the natural laboratory of the Rocky Mountain West and learning in the field to engage students in observing natural systems, understanding geologic time and geospatial concepts, studying the processes that make Earth a complex and dynamic system, and solving geological problems.

Land Acknowledgement

The Geology Department acknowledges that our educational programs are carried out on the homelands of the Ute and other Native peoples and rely on networks of travel paths developed by these peoples.  We also acknowledge that Colorado College and our department were founded upon practices of resource extraction and land appropriation that dishonored and diminished the traditional lifeways in this region.  These practices displaced indigenous populations, degraded landscapes, and led to unequal distribution of wealth, health, and opportunity in the Rocky Mountain West.  Yet the Ute and Native populations are living people with a present and a future as well as a past, and we strive to learn from their knowledge of earth systems to create a more inclusive field of study while seeking to redress the exclusions and erasures they have endured.

2021 Anti-Racism Commitment

We commit to learning, listening and working to become an antiracist department and program, in order to offer a welcoming place of study and home-department for students of all backgrounds and identities. We acknowledge that a culture of racism often works unconsciously in our thoughts, actions, and words (Hill, 2008), and that without an active awareness of racism we as educators and learners may inflict harm.  We recognize that the compositional diversity of the U.S. population as a whole is not represented among students and professionals in STEM fields, a disparity that is even more pronounced in the geological sciences. Addressing this limitation will strengthen earth science.

Within the CC Geology Department, we are working to: 1) be engaged and actively aware of racism both in academia and everyday life, 2) counter racist expressions and behavior, and 3) take collective action to change, transform, or augment department policies, practices, and policies to be inclusive and equitable. We are participating in URGE, a federally funded semester-long  antiracism education workshop in geoscience, that guides our creation of Departmental  policies and actions that will form our own antiracist framework, which in turn helps to achieve the College’s mission to become antiracist. 

Cited work: Hill, Jane H. 2008. The Everyday Language of White Racism. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Curricular Goals

The Geology Department serves geology majors and CC students who opt to include geoscience perspectives in their liberal arts education through implementation of the following goals:

Goal One: Establish a strong foundational knowledge in fundamental principles of geology, in order to impart understanding of geologic time scales and spatial concepts and bring insight about the Earth as a complex and dynamic system.

Goal Two: Offer scientific experiences that train students in observing natural systems and apply such observations towards building an understand of the Earth.

Goal Three: Bring geoscience perspectives to bear on students' lives.

Goal Four: Prepare geology majors to function as earth scientists.

Goal Five: Contribute to the aims of a liberal arts education.

How do we achieve this?   

The Geology Department at Colorado College offers introductory and advanced courses in earth sciences that may lead to a B.A. in geology. Half of our faculty teach in the Environmental major, as well as in Geology, and all of the professors enthusiastically offer cross-disciplinary and General Education courses on a variety of topics. In addition, we enjoy the chance to collaborate with CC students on independent study/research projects that involve primary investigation in Earth Sciences.

Department Philosophy

The Geology major curriculum is designed to provide a foundation for a professional career in the earth sciences, provide the background for graduate school, which is a prerequisite for many professions, provide an opportunity for CC students from other majors to combine their focus discipline with geology, and educate students about the physical environment and humans’ place in it, as part of a liberal arts education.

Marcia K. McNutt ('74 graduate, Physics; 22nd President of the US National Academy of Sciences), reflected about her earth science education at CC, as follows.

"My favorite college course was Introduction to Geology, taught by [past] Professor John Lewis. Colorado College uses the Block Plan, in which students take only one course at a time for a month. The course was two blocks long. So my first two months at college were spent with Doc Lewis and about 19 other students scrambling around the Front Range with our backpacks and sleeping bags trying to piece together the geologic history of the Southern Rockies from first principles… I was drawn to the grandeur of the Earth sciences and awed by the time and space scales upon which Earth processes played out. No lab coat. No test tube. Science outside!"


The Block Plan

Thanks to the Block Plan, CC Geology’s undergraduate program is virtually unique : hands-on in its essence, intensive and individualized. Classes are limited to 25 students, and upper level Geology courses typically have an enrollment of about 15. Since students take just one course at a time, scheduling conflicts are few, and the classes can take place in the ‘outdoor classroom’ or make extensive use of laboratory instrumentation.

The flexibility of the Block Plan also allows faculty and students to pursue independent study and research projects, throughout the academic year as well as during summer and winter breaks. Much of this original investigation may take place away from the CC campus. Many of our students do field-oriented research as part of as part of a distinctions thesis, or engage in collaborative research via the senior research seminar.

Students who have strong interests in both geology and environmental issues often choose to major in Geology.  These geo-environmental sentiments are actively shared, in fact, by several of the Geo faculty, who contribute to CC’s interdisciplinary Environmental Program. Geology coursework can include elective courses in environmental sciences and allow capstone research that addresses environmental issues. An alternative option is a major in Environmental Science, complemented with elective coursework in Geology.


What Careers can be pursued, for one who majors in Geology?

Recent CC Geology graduates, who obtained employment immediately after graduation, are employed with environmental consulting and geotechnical firms, and in economic geology.  The environmental and geotechnical work often emphasizes water quality and supply, and or urban planning.  Economic geology jobs, in this century, generally focus on exploration or production of precious commodities (copper, gold) and/or trace elements or major elements that are in high demand for renewable energy and the tech industry.  Other recent graduates work for federal agencies such as the National Forest Service and National Park Service.

     The possibilities for geology graduates of this liberal arts institution, though, are limitless! Quite honestly, the full span and variety of careers and occupations are open to Geology majors.  Within the past year, CC graduates have been admitted to law school, medical school, graduate school, midwife training, physiotherapy training, guiding certification programs, computer science specializations, flight school, and natural resources management training.  The central experience at the foundation of “life after CC” is an enduring appreciation for the dynamic systems and processes of Planet Earth, the long view provided by the familiarity with geological time, and the lifelong fascination with the beauty, complexity, and history of Earth’s geology.

    For many CC Geology graduates, the pursuit of earth science education just is not achieved to their full satisfaction during a mere two to four undergraduate years.  The intellectual quest takes them on to graduate school in earth, environmental and climate scientists.  They enter programs that help them specialize and become : geobiologists, geomorphologists, cartographers, petroleum engineers, hydrogeologists, geophysicists, paleoclimatologists, volcanologists,  seismologists, geochemists, glaciologists, mineralogists, sedimentologists, paleontologists, petrologists, stratigraphers, economic geologists, planetary geologists, GIS specialists, urban planners, surveyors, environmental advocates, viticulturists, state and federal agency experts, consultants, museum curators, and… last but not least, earth-science educators and college professors!

Report an issue - Last updated: 05/03/2021

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"GroupMe" for Geology majors to ask questions and receive answers from faculty and staff. Email if you are a Colorado College Geology major and would like to be enrolled in the group.

Recommended Sequence of Courses

Off-campus credits and Study Abroad

Contact Us

Department of Geology
Colorado College
14 E. Cache La Poudre
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: 719-389-6621
FAX: 719-389-6910


Geology Majors Abby Roat '22 and Cade Quigley named Goldwater Scholars

Read their stories at:


Precambrian Basement:

Geology Department goes green with the annual alumni newsletter; featuring highlights from students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Read all the department's highlights on this link: Precambrian Basement 2020-21 or prior years PCB publications.

Invited Talks for 2020-21:

Sept 24, 7pm, Professor Christine Siddoway, Colorado College Geology, "Afloat Among Icebergs: a Southern Ocean voyage and quest for new Climate Records" (Women's Educational Society seminar)

Sept 29, noon Professor Paul Myrow, Colorado College Geology, "Bedforms Under Waves, Currents, and Wind: New ideas and Applications to the Rock Record"

Oct 30, 1:00 PM Visiting Professor Rosario Esposito, Colorado College Geology "Entering the Earth Science door through pop-culture, and discovering volcanoes inside micro bubbles"

Dec. 3, 12:30 pm Professor Alexis Ault, Utah State University, "Nanoscale textural and thermochronometry evidence for earthquakes in the rock record"

Feb 10, 3:30 PM, Riley Scholar Solomon Seyum, Colorado College Geology, "Echelon veins in limestone: what they reveal about regional stress"

March 8, 3:30 PM, Dr. Bob Raynolds,  Denver Museum of Nature and Science, “Stratigraphic studies in Colorado: Building on the work of CC Professor Richard Pearl to define new digital ways of revealing Colorado's past.”