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B.A. / B.S. in Geology

Geoscientists gather and interpret data about the Earth and other planets. They use their knowledge to increase our understanding of Earth processes and to improve the quality of human life. Their work and career paths vary widely and include geology, environmental science, paleontology, economic geology, geophysics, hydrology, oceanography, marine science, atmospheric science, planetary science, meteorology and soil science. A Geology degree from SUNY Potsdam is an excellent foundation for a career in any of these areas.


Students will be able to:

  • demonstrate a significant amount of geologic knowledge so that they can be successful geologists either in a job or in graduate school.
  • demonstrate geology-specific skills that they will need in either graduate school or in the workforce including mineral, rock, and fossil identification; recognition of geologic structures; Brunton compass use; and topographic and geologic map reading.
  • demonstrate their ability to apply the knowledge and skills to a problem. They will collect, synthesize, and analyze data; make interpretations; and present conclusions.

Career Outlook

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“Pursuing a degree at SUNY Potsdam is probably the best decision I’ve ever made. I would not have gone anywhere else."

Samantha McComb '20 Geology major
“Some of the Most Amazing Places in the World”

During the Spring 2024 semester, 11 students joined Dr. Page Quinton, Dr. Mike Rygel and Dr. Christian Schrader on an amazing journey to explore significant geological sites of west Texas and southwestern New Mexico. They plied acres of ground in search of clues and fossilized life forms, climbed 2,000 feet in elevation and hiked 10 miles roundtrip along the way—bringing to life topics discussed in their classes back home.

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Breaking the Mold

In a world with rising education costs, Dr. Michael Rygel and Dr. Page Quinton are at the forefront of reducing financial burdens, while also elevating the academic experience for their students. They recently completed an OER textbook on sedimentary geology, full of photos and illustrations from their own research with SUNY Potsdam students and alumni, which is now part of the curriculum in Rygel’s 300-level course.

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A Mover and Shaker

Unlike the slowly developing rock formations that she studies with her students, Dr. Page Quinton has moved mountains since she started at SUNY Potsdam—infusing the campus with her passion for teaching as she launches new applied learning initiatives in and out of the classroom.

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Graduating at the top of her class in high school, Anah Bogdan ’24 was looking for a college experience close to home where she could pursue her passion for mathematics. Now a sophomore, she has made the President’s List the past two semesters, and has added a second major in geology. She was recently asked to join a research team to examine rock formations in Texas’ Guadalupe Mountains National Park with Dr. Page Quinton and Dr. Mike Rygel. Leading up to that trip, Bogdan will be working as a field assistant in Montana to measure and describe 300 million-year-old rocks, valuable field that she will inform her research project in Texas.

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Hammering Out the Past

From analyzing rocks within the walls of the geology lab, to visiting rocky outcrops around Northern New York, Megan Heins '20 gained valuable skills as an undergraduate student at SUNY Potsdam. Now she's completing a master's degree, with plans to get a Ph.D. in the field of micropaleontology.

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Finding her Layer at SUNY Potsdam

Using cutting-edge technology in SUNY Potsdam’s geology labs, Rachael Savoie ’21 has been analyzing the rich shale and limestone from the Joggins Formation in Novia Scotia—digging back 300 million years in search of answers.

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