How do I get an Online Geology Degree?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

It is very hard to get an online geology degree. There are few programs that offer such a degree, and any that are available should be subject to the usual tests to determine if they are accredited programs. Some degrees don’t adapt well to online studies, which are typically limited to studying from a visual perspective or studying from books. Geology is one of these, where at times, more of the senses than sight and sound must be engaged to learn material.

Online geology degrees might be difficult to pursue because well-rounded coursework requires fieldwork and laboratory experience.
Online geology degrees might be difficult to pursue because well-rounded coursework requires fieldwork and laboratory experience.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some geology studies online, but these are usually not offered for credit. However, those passionate about this science could take open coursework from universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which offers classes on structural geology. Such a course could continue to fuel interest in the subject.

Online geology degrees do not offer the one-on-one attention students may have the option to have in a traditional classroom.
Online geology degrees do not offer the one-on-one attention students may have the option to have in a traditional classroom.

However, as previously stated, there are a few programs in geology or earth sciences that may be offered at online universities. Any undergraduate programs are usually offered with more of a teaching focus if people want to pursue a high school or junior high teaching credential. A handful of graduate programs may offer an online geology degree at the master’s level, but study of geology might lean heavily on fieldwork or laboratory studies, which is much harder to accomplish in an online setting.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers open courses in structural geology.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers open courses in structural geology.

People shouldn’t view the difficulty of getting an online geology degree as necessarily a bar to their future education because there are many offline degrees available, at inexpensive and/or possibly close by universities. Students should remember that they don’t even need to begin most degree studies until they have finished the first two years of college, and met all requirements for being promoted to junior year.

One thing students could consider is attending school at a local junior or community college. Many community colleges do have online or television courses that can be taken if a person can’t be on campus at all times. This might mean that for first couple of years at school, many classes could be taken off campus, which would increase flexibility in scheduling. Moreover, studies at a junior or community college usually cost very little, which can help in saving money for attending a four-year university thereafter.

The other benefit of this scenario is that students can have time to prepare for getting a geology degree (even if not an online geology degree) at a school of their choosing. A lot of people look to online schools because their present schedule would not allow them to attend full time at an offline school. Yet given a few years to plan, many folks can restructure their lives so attending a bricks and mortar university is possible.

The other possibility, of course, is that more schools might begin to offer an online geology degree. Should this be the case, having completed studies at a community college still won’t harm students. This simply means they have less to study when they get into an online geology program, and their degree should cost less money and time.

It is important to seek courses from a reliable, reputable school when attempting to complete an online geology degree.
It is important to seek courses from a reliable, reputable school when attempting to complete an online geology degree.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

anon149810

Love it! To the point, articulate and interesting.

It is easy to earn a degree online! Thanks!

anon134952

There are many accredited public and private universities who offer Geology courses online. Part of preparing to attend a 'bricks-and-mortar' college could well be completing some courses online first. Oregon State University and Eastern Oregon University offer college GEOL courses online, for example.

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