The USC Department of Geological Sciences consists of highly regarded
teaching and research programs in a diverse range of related disciplines. Among these are:
Environmental Geosciences, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Global Climate Change, Hydrocarbon
exploration, Marine Sciences, Oceanography, Petrology, Satellite Geodesy, Sedimentology,
Seismology, Structural Geology and Tectonics. We offer B.S. degrees in Geology and
Geophysics with opportunities to concentrate in many of the disciplines listed above. Our
Master of Science degree in geology has been offered for over 50 years and our Ph.D.
program celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1998. Both the M.S. and Ph.D. programs are
the only such degrees offered in geological sciences in the State of South Carolina and
each is recognized among the best programs in the southeast.
The Department currently consists of 20 faculty. We teach earth sciences courses to 1,700 undergraduate
students, 133 South Carolina secondary and elementary teachers, 40 undergraduate majors
and 80 graduate students.
On a state and national level, the department anticipates increasing opportunities for
geosciences driven by the relevance of our discipline to the mitigation of natural
hazards and those our society has created, as well as the management of nonrenewable
natural resources. In order to anticipate state and national needs, to build on the
existing expertise in our department and to address problems of fundamental importance in
the geosciences, our faculty have identified three emphasis areas to guide our commitment
to improving our department:
Environmental Geosciences - Geologic
aspects of environmental sciences, including hydrology, hydrogeology, aqueous geochemistry
and contaminant transport, will play a crucial role in environmental hazard assessment and
Evolution of Orogenic Systems -
An understanding of the physical and chemical processes controlling the formation and
evolution of the planet earth is critical to many issues of fundamental and societal
importance, including identification and mitigation of geologic hazards and the
maintenance of a sufficient supply of natural resources.
Global Climate Change - Understanding of, minimization of and adjustment
to geological, geochemical, and geophysical influences on global climate change is of
critical concern for the coming decades.
These emphasis areas and the historical strength of our Department and University in
Marine Sciences provide students with
a breadth of opportunities. Our three new emphasis areas do not completely
encompass, nor in any way restrict, the academic pursuits of our faculty and
students. In fact, many of our faculty utilize their expertise in all of the
emphasis areas. Our goal in identifying these emphasis areas is to bring focus to
our future efforts and to create the atmosphere necessary to be competitive as
geoscientific inquiry becomes increasingly multidisciplinary. For a listing of traditional
fields of research and the faculty associated with them please look at the following table.
Please proceed to:
Affiliated Research Institutes