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Interested in Earth Science? Consider a BGS Degree

Earth sciences touch on various aspects of our planet, ranging from the study of the Earth's core to the impact humans have on climate change. If you have an interest in this field of study, Eastern Michigan University's online Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) can take you one step closer to a rewarding career in Earth science.

EMU's BGS degree allows students to craft a curriculum based on their interests. Students can build on previously earned college credits while choosing three areas of focus, including Earth science. Once you graduate with a four-year degree, you can pursue careers that have a positive impact on the lives of others — predicting hurricanes and earthquakes, or helping farmers better understand climate science, for example.

EMU's BGS program also allows students to combine areas of focus in complementary ways. A focus on Earth science could benefit from courses on general education, for example, by preparing graduates for a career as an Earth science teacher.

How Can a BGS Degree Prepare Me for a Career in Earth Science?

EMU's BGS degree requires that students complete at least 20 credit hours in three areas of focus. Courses on Earth science are taught by EMU faculty — the same faculty who teach on campus. Earth science courses offered through the online degree program include: 

  • Climate Change in Human Times: This course introduces the study of climate science. Students learn how climate systems work while delving into how global warming is measured. Potential solutions to reverse the effects of climate change are also discussed.
  • Geology of the National Parks: The geological features of the U.S. National Parks and Monuments are discussed in this class, with an examination of the geologic processes that created the formations.
  • The Dynamic Earth System: Students learn about the Earth system and its components in this course. The class also explains the composition of the Earth and how humans impact the Earth system.
  • Natural Environmental Hazards: Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, storms and other environmental catastrophes are discussed in this course.

Possible Careers in the Earth Sciences

Many jobs in the Earth sciences involve fieldwork.

Environmental Scientist

Environmental scientists have a working knowledge of the environment, including plant science, zoology, oceanography and atmospheric science, among others. In practice, environmental scientists are often employed by a governmental agency to consult or conduct research on environmental issues. Environmental scientists are often tasked with identifying harmful pollutants that can threaten human, plant or animal populations. The average pay for this career is $50,604 per year, according to PayScale (May 2019). 

Petroleum Geologist

Petroleum geologists use earth science insights to consult on oil discovery and production projects. Most of these geologists are employed by private companies. Their main task is to predict (and map out) areas for oil and gas exploration. The average salary for this position is $109,699 per year, according to PayScale (May 2019).

Environmental Consultant

Environmental consultants work in a wide range of industries, both within the private sector and government. One common job they are tasked with is predicting the environmental impact of a business as a whole or of a specific process. Many companies hire environmental consultants to determine the risks posed to employees by dangerous materials. The average salary for an environmental consultant is $54,118 per year, according to PayScale (May 2019).

Further Your Career in Earth Science Through EMU's Online BGS Degree

The online BGS program offered through EMU provides students with an important first step toward a rewarding career as an Earth scientist. A BGS degree offers the flexibility to pursue three areas of focus, while building upon college credit hours you earned in the past. A BGS also holds the same distinction as a Bachelor of Science (BS). Whether your interest lies in climate change, geology, meteorology or any other of the Earth sciences, a BGS degree with a focus on Earth science can pave the way for your next career.

Learn more about the EMU online Bachelor of General Studies program.


PayScale: Environmental Scientist

PayScale: Petroleum Geologist

PayScale: Environmental Consultant

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