Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge - Department of Geology and Geophysics

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Teaching of geology began at LSU on January 2, 1860. LSU was then known as the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning, and was located in Pineville, LA. During the Civil War, all teaching was suspended, but following the war, on October 2, 1865, classes resumed under the direction of a new president, David F. Boyd. President Boyd was very interested in geology and maintained his own mineral and  fossil collection. On October 15, 1869, the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning was destroyed by fire, but fortunately the library and geological collections were saved and later moved to Baton Rouge. Classes resumed on November 1, 1869, in the School for the Deaf in Baton Rouge. The Seminary was renamed Louisiana State University in 1870. In 1876, LSU and Louisiana A&M College were merged and the name was changed in 1877 to Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, the formal name used today. In 1893, LSU played its first football game, thus becoming a modern, bigtime public university.

Geology was formally established at LSU during the period from 1892-1898 and designated the Department of Geology, Mineralogy and Botany. By 1922, the Department had been renamed the Department of Geology. That year, the arrival of a young Ph.D. from Stanford University, Henry V. Howe, marked the beginning of what would become a comprehensive program of teaching and research in the earth sciences at LSU. Dr. Howe came with a mandate from Governor John M. Parker to build a department "to train Louisiana boys for the oil industry."

During the period 1983-85, the Basin Research Institute was formed by Clyde Moore and was loosely aligned with the Coastal Studies Institute, under James Coleman, and the Department of Geology, renamed the Department of Geology and Geophysics in 1985, now headed by Lyle McGinnis. Later in 1985, McGinnis resigned from the University, with the result that these three units were restructured back into the School of Geoscience, under Coleman, and the Louisiana Geological Survey was moved into the School of Geosciences. By 1991, the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences was added to the School. Oceanography had within it the Coastal Studies Institute, a Wetlands Biogeochemistry Institute, a Coastal Fisheries Institute and a Coastal Ecology Institute. The Basin Research Institute was moved out of the School and placed under control of the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development. 

In 1992, the School of Geosciences was dissolved and the Department of Geology and Geophysics became a stand-alone entity within the College of Basic Sciences. The Department of Oceanography and Coastal Studies was moved under the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development, within a coastal center for energy and environmental research.



Now its one of the best institutions in the U.S.A. to get geology/geosciences degree.

Department Programs

Bachelor of Science:

Geoscientists are stewards of Earth's resources and environment. They work to understand natural processes on Earth and other planets. Investigating the Earth, exploring other planets and the solar system; determining environmental impacts; and finding new sources of useful Earth materials are just a few of the ways geoscientists contribute to our understanding of Earth processes and history. The BS-Geology degree provides the foundation that geoscientists need solve problems and establish governmental policies for resource management; environmental protection; and public health, safety, and welfare. The Earth is an outdoor laboratory filled with opportunities to observe Earth processes in action. By applying their knowledge of forces and factors that shape the Earth, geoscientists seek to reconstruct the past and anticipate the future.

There are three concentration areas within the BS-Geology degree. These are Geology, Environmental Geology, and Geophysics. The Geology concentration area allows you the most flexibility in tailoring the geology coursework to your career objectives. The Environmental Geology and the Geophysics concentrations have additional required course work within the major and within related departments (Math, Physics, and Petroleum Engineering) that automatically tailor your degree towards these sub-disciplines of geosciences.

Graduate Certificate in Applied Depositional Geosystems:

The Department of Geology & Geophysics offers students a tailored graduate school program - Applied Depositional Geosystems (ADG). The ADG program is an essential component in the department’s continued effort to prepare graduate students for careers in the oil and gas industry. The ADG certificate has roots in departmental programs dating back to the early 1990s and was first formulated as a departmental certificate in 2000. The goal of the program has not changed – preparing students for careers in oil and gas. We encourage students who hold BS degrees in other science and engineering programs to consider the ADG program and we encourage BS Geology students who wish to enhance their knowledge level to consider the ADG program.

The ADG certificate requires that the admitted student complete 15 credit hours (five courses) distributed as follows: two from GEOL4044, GEOL4060, GEOL4062, GEOL4068, GEOL4131, GEOL4164 and three from GEOL7061, GEOL7062, GEOL7132, GEOL7195, GEOL7200, GEOL7900 (when topic is applicable to energy industry), or GEOL7972. Admission to the LSU Graduate School and to the Department of Geology & Geophysics is required. For specific information on graduate school admission, please see the Graduate Admission Procedure page.

Master of Science:

The Department of Geology & Geophysics offers an MS degree. This 30-credit hour program requires an independent research project (thesis). The thesis is driven by scientific curiosity and is completed with the guidance from the primary faculty member and from the members of the thesis committee. Course work is tailored to prepare the student to complete the thesis (narrowly focused courses), to enhance communication skills, and to broaden the student’s knowledge of the geosciences.

Ideally, students complete an MS degree in two academic years. Commonly students seek an internship during the intervening summer as the industries (environmental and oil & gas) consider the MS – Geology degree the "working degree". The strength of the independent thesis, the development of communication skills, and the breadth of knowledge acquired as you progress through the MS degree prepare you for your chosen career. Admission to the LSU Graduate School and to the Department of Geology & Geophysics is required. For specific information on graduate school admission, please see the Graduate Admission Procedure page.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD):

The Department of Geology & Geophysics offers a PhD degree. The PhD degree is a research-driven degree. The candidate is expected to propose and defend original research that contributes to the understanding of geosciences. PhD geoscientists are individuals who want to conduct research for industry or government research centers or who seek careers in the academic institutions. Currently PhD candidates at G&G at LSU are gaining employment in academic institution and in industry research laboratories. Your committee should help guide you through the PhD program helping you obtain your career goals. Admission to the LSU Graduate School and to the Department of Geology & Geophysics is required. For specific information on graduate school admission, please see the Graduate Admission Procedure page.

Source: Department Website August 2016




Additional Info

  • Department Name: Department of Geology and Geophysics
  • Disciplines and Research Areas: Geology, Geochemistry, Geomorphology, Geophysics, Glaciology, Hydrogeology, Hydrology, Structure and Tectonics, Mineralogy, Paleontology, Petrology, Stratigraphy and Sedimentology
  • Degrees: Certificate, BS, MS, PhD
  • State: Louisiana
  • City: Baton Rouge
  • Phone: (225) 578-3353