Departmental Spotlight: Geology and Environmental Geosciences

Choosing a major is an important and sometimes difficult decision; but, as always, the Honors College has your back. This semester, we’ll be doing some short features on interesting majors the College of Charleston offers for you “Undeclareds” out there.

This week, we’re taking a look at the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences.

What: Geology classes focus on the application of knowledge (learned in classes, laboratories, and the field) to modern issues in the geological sciences and our environment. The College of Charleston’s geology department is one of the biggest in the southeast, collaborating with private companies as well as local, state, and federal agencies. It’s also home to the following prestigious institutions: the Lowcountry Hazards Center, South Carolina Earthquake Education Program, Natural History Museum, Santee Cooper Geographical Information Systems Lab, and Project Oceanica. Students can complete a Bachelor of Science or Arts degree with a major in geology, add geology as a minor, or take one of various interdisciplinary courses the department offers. No stone is left unturned (literally) with the courses and opportunities available!

Who: The Geology and Environmental Geosciences department boasts top faculty from a variety of backgrounds. Associate professor Dr. Tim Callahan specializes in hydrology and water resources; Dr. Bob Nusbaum is interested in volcanism; Dr. Cassandra Runyon teaches classes in planetary geology. Instructors teach introductory as well as upper-level classes that align with their interests. Many also invite students to assist with their field research.

Where: The Field Study requirement (for the Environmental Geosciences emphasis) means that students have the opportunity to work outside the classroom—and even to travel far and wide. Take Josh Lieberman, for example. He traced the Ganges River in India all the way from its headwaters in the Himalayan Mountains down to its multiple mouths in the Bay of Bengal. Josh says, “As a geology major, I have to get out in the field to really apply what I’ve learned in class. It’s very difficult for me to visualize something on a blackboard, but if I can pick up a rock in the field, that’s entirely different. The geology department makes that easy.” The professors that run that program, Professors Vulava and Callahan, embody what attracted Josh to the College of Charleston. “That’s the main reason I’m here. My professors keep me grounded and focused…they’ll be there for you 100 percent.”

Why: A major or minor in Geology and Environmental Geosciences can prepare you for many lucrative professions or educational opportunities after college, mainly because the program enables students to tailor their studies in a way that best suits them for the next step. The emphasis on student research is also vital, as it lets students see the “big picture” of how to apply the skills they acquire. With more interplanetary exploration and the importance of developing sustainable energy in the twenty-first century, a degree in geology is highly relevant and makes you an ideal candidate for employment in a wide range of professions.

To learn more about the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, click here or reach out to Dr. Mitchell Colgan, the department chair, at


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One Response to Departmental Spotlight: Geology and Environmental Geosciences

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