Academic expertise. Research prowess. Student success.

There’s a whole world of discovery in the ground beneath your feet. From the shifting of tectonic plates to the eruption of volcanoes, learn about the Earth and all of the natural processes that have shaped it over time.

Department faculty, researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate students pursue field, laboratory, experimental, and modeling studies of geological and environmental problems around the world. The department's excellent facilities and technical personnel support a range of methods and the department's ideal location also provides ready access to the many natural laboratories of Nevada, California and the western United States. Research specialties include Earth and planetary surface processes, geodynamics, volcanology, geochemistry, petrology, earthquakes and seismology, mineral and energy resources, hydrology and hydrogeology.

Why choose our programs?

Wendy Calvin instructs two students on how to use a research instrument.

Dedicated faculty

Our leading research-active faculty receive funding from national and international agencies, providing graduate students with a thriving work environment, valuable hands-on experience, and financial support to pursue their own research.

Lake Tahoe sunset.

Rich outdoor environment

Our campus is less than an hour away from some of the most beautiful and geologically interesting landscapes in the country, like Lake Tahoe and the Black Rock desert. We learn in an environment that encourages exploration and recreation.

A group watches on as a man flies a drone with a mountain backdrop.

Facilities & instruments

Our graduate students enjoy a full complement of modern facilities, instrumentation, laboratories and technical support personnel, all paired with the many natural laboratories of Nevada, California and the western United States.

Department news

A house’s porch stands unsupported by the ground that used to lie beneath it.

Yellowstone flooding response includes geotechnical surveys

Assistant geological engineering professor Michael Gardner visited the sites of flooding in Yellowstone National Park to determine how geostructure integrity was compromised

A male and a female stand on an ice sheet, posing with a LGBTQ+ Pride flag.

Exploring ice and expanding access

Hydrogeology student Drake McCrimmon found space to be himself while doing science on the Greenland ice sheet.

A man wearing a hat and sunglasses stands on red rocks in front of a rock arch.

Paving the Wolf Pack Way: Garrett Vice ‘08

Paving the Wolf Pack Way is a series of stories showcasing Wolf Pack Way alumni from the College of Science.