Undergraduate Programs in
Geology & Environment
Study how the Earth works, the geology and history of our planet, and how you can play a part in safeguarding and managing the environment for future generations.
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Our students have explored the Galápagos Islands to follow in the footsteps of naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin. They’ve researched volcanoes in Greece, logged thousands of miles in Arizona deserts, and trekked across five states to follow the path of a total solar eclipse.
Students studying Geology and Environmental Resources focus on pure and applied research on the Earth and Earth resources, taking advantage of the diverse range of geological formations and interesting geological problems in the New York metropolitan region and beyond.
Programs and Majors
Hofstra offers two Geology majors, and a major in Environmental Resources. The major you choose comes down to whether you want to pursue a career as a scientist, or use your geology degree to inform work in another field, like science writing, education, engineering or public policy.
Most students studying geology or environmental resources also take classes in Sustainability, on topics such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, waste management, and urban planning.
BS in Environmental Resources
The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resources is the study of the application of geology and the natural sciences to issues of natural resource development, resource management, conservation, and sustainability. This degree prepares students for careers in environmental geology, environmental science, resource management, environmental law, and environmental regulation.
In the Classroom
Learn from the Experts
Our faculty bring genuine enthusiasm for what they do into the classroom and to their respective labs. The department chair travels every other year with a group of students to the Galápagos Islands to retrace Darwin’s studies. He was also the recipient of the 2019 Neil Miner Award from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, recognizing excellence in teaching.
Our expert in geological hazards accompanies groups of students to Greece in the summer where they monitor volcanic activity on the islands of Santorini and Nisyros. The department’s specialist in climate change applied for (and won!) scholarships so her oceanography class could attend the 2020 National Coastal and Estuarine Virtual Summit. And our Meteorology Program director uses VR technology to study hurricane preparedness.
The Student Experience
Hofstra students have participated in research at one of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America, mapped the bedrock geology of New York City, investigated groundwater and soil contamination in the suburbs of Long Island, and sampled coastal marshes for evidence of prehistoric hurricanes. Trips to geological sites in the mid-Atlantic and New England, Arizona, Wyoming, California, and Ecuador are a regular part of the curriculum.
We encourage all of our students who plan on graduate study to gain research experience. Research may be done for course credit, towards completion of an honors project, or simply for experience. Students who are doing research often have the opportunity to present their work at regional and national conferences, such as the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA).
Examples of research projects include studies of the impact of Hurricane Sandy and the history of storm impacts on coastal Long Island, the analysis of dinosaur trackways, measurements of lead contamination in suburban soils on Long Island, mapping of the bedrock geology of New York City, and measurements of trace elements in economic mineral deposits.
Off-Campus Research and Internships
Students are also encouraged to pursue summer research opportunities at other universities and government research facilities. Internships also provide a means to gain professional experience as well as course credit, particularly in the fields of hydrology and environmental consulting. Hofstra students have worked as interns for companies such as Roux Associates, CA Rich Consultants, and the US Geological Survey and these internships often lead directly to post-graduate employment for our students.
Hofstra students have gained valuable experience working at such places as the Lunar and Planetary Institute, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford University, the American Museum of Natural History, the Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory, and the Petrified Forest National Park.
Labs and Resources
The Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability is located in Gittleson Hall. Students work in well-equipped laboratories for sedimentology and paleontology, a mineralogy laboratory equipped for X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence analysis, and laboratories for advanced digital microscopy and geographic information systems (GIS).
Students spend a lot of time in the Collaboratorium, a cutting-edge research and teaching space that includes labs, classrooms, and computer facilities. The lab is shared by several scientific programs to encourage collaboration across disciplines on research projects ranging from soil analysis of urban areas to bone replacement compounds.
The demand for some of the professions that require a geology degree – geoscientists, hydrologists, petroleum and geological technicians – is growing faster than the average for all other occupations over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Our graduates go on to work in a variety of public and private settings – in the petroleum, mining, engineering, or construction industries; in environmental management; and in government or the nonprofit sector. A geology degree from Hofstra is also great training for advanced studies, including sustainability, law, medicine, or engineering.
of recent geology and environmental studies alumni responding to a survey reported that they were employed or attending or planning to attend graduate school within a year of graduation.
is the mean annual salary of those recent alumni who reported employment.
Examples of institutions where Hofstra geology graduates are pursuing advanced degrees include Bard College, Columbia University, CUNY Hunter College, Hofstra University, Pace University, Syracuse University, Texas A&M University, University of California, Santa Cruz, and University of Georgia.
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Volcanos Get Their Annual Checkup
“We were the doctors there to give the volcanos their checkup,” said Associate Professor Antonios Marsellos, an expert in geohazards who led the summer expedition.
July 2019 marked the third year that students from the Department of Geology, Environment, and Sustainability traveled abroad with Marsellos to conduct fieldwork in his native Greece.
The students in Professor Antonios Marsellos’ geology class had spent several months studying a problem that has vexed scientists for centuries: how to help communities predict and prepare for flooding along the Mohawk River in upstate New York. But it was a chance encounter during a trip to a conference to present their research that drove home the value of their work.
In Darwin's Footsteps
It’s one thing to learn about Darwin’s theories in a classroom. It’s quite another to join him on his journey. But that’s what Hofstra University’s trip to the Galapagos during the January session does.
Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability
114 Hofstra University
143 Gittleson Hall
Hempstead, NY 11549-1140
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.,
Monday - Friday
Phone: (516) 463-5564
Fax: (516) 463-5120
J Bret Bennington
141 Gittleson Hall
Phone: (516) 463-5568