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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Tulsa Geological Society


Tulsa Geological Society Digest
Vol. 30 (1962), Pages 151-152

The Status of Geological Education in the U. S. Today: Abstract

V. Brown Monnett1


The demands being made today of schools offering degrees in geology are to deliver a "dedicated" young college graduate with a "working" knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and engineering, and the ability to present clearly and concisely the results of his work either orally or in writing. In addition he should have a good comprehension of the basic concepts of geology, a good background in the areas of social science and the humanities, and be personally acceptable.

The response to these demands by geology departments varies greatly. A questionnaire was sent to 100 academic departments covering most of the United States. The responses indicate that almost 50% of the departments have increased in approximately 35% of the departments. Additional classwork in English composition and social studies is now required in many departments. Departmental expansion includes more work in geophysics, geochemistry, sedimentation and ground water geology.

The employment situation, and to a lesser extent, the additional course-work requirements, have had three major effects:

The employment situation, and to a lesser extent, the additional course-work requirements, have had three major effects:

(1) a four-year program is no longer considered adequate for geology students,

(2) the number of students choosing geology for their vocation has greatly decreased, and

(3) as a general rule, the best students are entering other fields.

The emphasis on graduate work and the reduced number of students in undergraduate courses have enabled many departments to expand their graduate programs and research activities during the past three years. However, the tremendous drop in the number of undergraduate majors is beginning to affect some of these expanded progress. There will be an insufficient number of capable graduates to support all of these graduate schools in the next few years. Even this year, a number of graduating Seniors had their choice of several Graduate Fellowships and Assistanships.

Corrective measures for the situation which we are rapidly approaching are not easily defined. It is apparent we can learn from the other sciences, for desirable positions for the recent recipients of the Bachelors' Degree in Zoology, Botany, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics have been meager for many years. Graduate work in these fields is essential, and yet today there are more undergratuates in these sciences than at any time in history. Obviously, the first step in the recovery of geology as a major university curriculum which attracts a fair share of the more intelligent students is the general recognition that employment prerequisites in geology are no different from those in other sciences. The four-year program offers a broad education which is superior to many fields of academic work. If an individual desires to become a capable, up-to-date, biologist, chemist, physicist or employed geologist, he must spend from one to three years in graduate studies.


Acknowledgments and Associated Footnotes

1 Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma

November 6, 1961

Copyright © 2006 by the Tulsa Geological Society