The geology program at Macalester focuses on all aspects of the Earth. Students who take our courses explore the origin of the Earth and solar system, the formation of continents and oceans, the evolution and extinction of life, the distribution and availability of natural resources, and the impact of humans on the environment. 

Students in geology courses also travel to regional and international destinations in order to investigate the Earth. Recent field trips have visited the local rock outcrops in the Twin Cities, the North Shore of Lake Superior, and the Galápagos Islands.

Our majors typically conduct independent research, and their projects take them to exotic geologic locales, such as Italy, Madagascar, Tanzania, and British Columbia. The post-graduation trajectories of our students vary widely – some continue their geological education in top-tier graduate schools – others work for environmental firms or museums, pursue law and medical degrees, or work for NGO’s.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to help Macalester students develop a scientific understanding of the Earth, its history, natural systems, resources, and recent global change. We take a diverse approach to teaching earth science in the liberal arts tradition, and we strive to inspire in our students a life-long passion for learning about the natural world. The geology major is designed to provide students with a solid foundation for further study and professional careers in earth science-related fields. Geology faculty, in collaboration with undergraduate majors, also endeavor to advance scientific knowledge of the Earth and to communicate this new understanding to the broader community.