The M.S. degree is the terminal degree for most employment situations in geology and is usually required to permit rapid advancement beyond entry-level positions. However, ECU B.S. graduates have been employed in many types of geologic jobs, examples of which are described below. The B.S. degree in geology at ECU requires 126 semester hours of credit; including general education requirements and course work in mathematics, writing, chemistry and other sciences. The M.S. degree in geology requires 30 credit hours of study beyond the B.S., including course work and a substantial independent research project or thesis.

Solving environmental problems and finding and developing mineral and energy resources are the largest areas of work for geologists. Other areas include helping to design roads and structures, developing and enforcing environmental regulations and through academic and government work, asking basic questions of the earth, such as how the various features of our planet came to be. A large number of our graduates end up working on solving groundwater contamination and supply problems.

Increasingly, our graduates are taking well-paying jobs in the petroleum industry. Here, the geoscientist uses his or her knowledge of earth processes to analyze ancient subterranean formations with the goal of figuring out where oil and gas will be found.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, beginning salary offers in July 2007 for graduates with bachelor’s degrees in geology and related sciences averaged $40,786 a year.

Lots of good information about Geoscience Careers can be found at the American Geological Institute website:

This source indicates that for new masters recipients, 2007 starting salaries were as follows:

Oil and Gas:

Environmental Firm:

Any Government:




The percentage of Geoscience degrees being awarded to women has been steadily increasing, and is currently near 45%. 

Tables from the Department of Education list the number of degrees conferred in the United States between 1970 and 1994.  U.S. institutions granted bachelors degrees to 659,495 biologists; 244,348 chemists; 94,862 physicists; and 88,906 geologists.  The ratio of jobs to degrees granted is 1:6 in biology, 1:3 in chemistry, 1:5 in physics and 1:2 in geology.  Divide the number of people who get bachelors degrees in a field by the number of people working in each discipline and you get an estimated rate of replacement for science professionals.  So, if every working geologist quit today, it would take 17.2 years to replace him or her.  Compare that to 10.3 years to replace working chemists, five years to replace physicists and only five semesters to replace all working biologists.

The Geological Sciences are currently experiencing increased demand for workers at the same time that a major wave of retirements is occurring. 

The employment prospects for geoscientists at the present time are excellent. Government entities, environmental consulting firms, the oil and gas industry, and the mining industry are all looking for entry level employees on both the bachelors and masters levels.

Although a large portion of ECU Geological Sciences graduates work in North Carolina, many have gone quite far afield. Of the M.S. graduates that could be contacted, 95% of them are pursuing careers in geology. Our B.S. graduates have also attained employment in various geologic-related sectors, a few are listed below. (Check out the alumni directory for more information on current alumni activities).

Employers of ECU Geology B.S. Graduates

NC Dept. Envir. & Nat’l. Res.

NC Dept. of  Transportation

Duke Marine Lab

US Geological Survey, NC

Northwind Environmental, Yuma, AZ

RockWare; Denver, CO

East Carolina University

Groundwater Management Assoc.

Clean East Associates, Kinston

Private Employers

Apex Environmental, Inc.,
MD Aerotech, Charlotte, NC
Amerada Hess Corp.
BCM Laboratories, PA
Catlin & Assoc., Wilmington, NC
CBM Environmental, Greenville, NC
CH2M Hill, Raleigh, NC
CHK Energy, OK
Conestoga Rovers, MI
CONOCO Oil Co. Casper, WY
Dames and Moore, Inc., Raleigh, NC
DS Waters of America, GA
Dyn Corp., VA
E. A. Engineering, Charlotte, NC
Echo Bay Exploration, Mexico
ENSR, Raleigh, NC
Environ. Aspects, Raleigh, NC
Environ. Res. Mgmt., Charlotte, NC
Exxon Corp., U.S.A
Fronterra Petroleum, OK
Geco-Prakla, Inc., TX
GEL Geophysics, RTP, NC
General Engineering Lab., Charleston, SC
Geodynamics, NC
Geological Consult. Services, TX
Geophysical Co., Raleigh, NC
Geraghty and Miller, Inc., NC
Groundwater/Environ. Services, PA

Groundwater Management Assoc., NC
Groundwater Technology, Inc., Raleigh, NC
GW & Environ. Services, PA
GW Technology, Inc., NC & VA
Handex, Inc.,  Charlotte, NC
Hatch Mott McDonald, NY
Kidd Well Drilling, NC
Law Engineering, Charlotte, NC
Materials Testing Corp., ID
Mobil Oil Corp., Midland, TX
Newmont Exploration Ltd, MT, Peru
Ocean Drilling Project, Bremen, Germany
Piedmont Mining Company, Kershaw, NC
Research Triangle Institute, NC
RGC Mineral Sands, Inc., FL, VA
Roux Environmental, PA
RUST Geotechnical, Inc., SC
Samadan Oil Inc., TX
Science App. Internatl. Corp., CO
SCS Engineers, OH
Sirrine Environ. Inc., SC
Texaco, Inc., LA
The IT Group, TN
U Mining Company
UTTS Environmental, Greenville, NC
Westinghouse Savannah River Co., SC
Woodward-Clyde Consultants., AL

Government Employers

Bureau of Indian Affairs, DC
Craven County Health Dept., New Bern, NC
Environmental Protection Agency, TX
Kentucky Geological Survey
Lincoln County, NC
Mecklenberg County. Env. Protection, NC
Mississippi State Dept Env. Quality
Ocean Drilling Project, Germany
Oregon State
Nat'l. Wetland Research Center, LA
NC Dept. of Envir., Health & Nat'l Res.
NC Dept of Labor/Mine Safety
NC Dept. of Transportation
NC DOT Geotechnical Branch
NC Office of Coastal Management
NY State Highway Department
S. Carolina Geological Survey
USMC Base, Japan
Virginia Water Control Board
Wayne County-Environ. Health, NC

Education Employers

Agnes Lloyd College, KY
Albert Magnus High School, NY
Albuquerque Public Schools, NM
Concord College, WV
East Carolina University
Essex County School System, VA
Hardin Simmons Univ., TX
Harnett County School System, NC
Roanoke School System, VA
Rocky Mount School System, NC
Texas A & M University
Tidewater Community College, VA
University of Phoenix
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Wake Technical Community College, NC
Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, NC