“Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.” Will Durant

Geologists are scientists who study the solid matter that constitutes the Earth. They attempt to study present – day soil and the rocks that have created it. They also study about the changes it has undergone through the course of history. This includes the study of fossils, rocks, soil, volcanoes etc. to get information about a variety of aspects of the past such as climate and topography.

A career as a Geologist can be an adventurous one. Geologists get to travel a lot and go to unusual places in search of fossils. Geologists are required in a variety of fields today for work such as mineral and hydrocarbon exploration, studying natural hazards and their causes and prevention and looking for remedies for environmental problems.

What do Geologists do?

The research of a Geologist might have different aims. Some Geologists work to find out more about the history of this planet, whereas some work towards getting to know where the natural gas reserves are located.

Geologists study history of the planet. They examine soil, fossils, earth materials, photographs etc. to get to know how a particular place might have looked 1000 years ago. They find out how a particular place may have changed over the years and the processes that may have led to the change.

A Geologist plays a very important role in the construction of any structure. For example, a flyover will only be constructed once a Geologist has confirmed that the land is fit for construction and can handle the weight of the flyover.

A Geologist is heavily involved in constructing foundations of buildings, bridges and other construction sites. He works with the Civil Engineer and the Architect and advises them on the style of foundation that would best suit that particular area.

It is the job of Geologists to foresee natural disasters and study them. They study the causes behind natural disasters and also suggest ways through which they can be prevented. Geologist study earthquakes and volcano eruptions etc. in detail and come up with theories on the basis of their research.

Geologists also consult space research organizations. They examine land samples from meteorites and other celestial bodies. They study these samples and predict as to how that soil might have been formed. Geologists are currently in the process of trying to find traces of water on the surface of Mars.

Geologists also study different areas to find out where natural gas and mineral reserves are most likely to be found. They perform this task for private companies as well as the Government.

On the basis of his research, a Geologist has to come up with theories that can be scientifically proven. This is extremely important in the case of independent research.

How to become a Geologist?

A Geologist requires a lot of dedication, stamina and flexibility apart from knowledge. Much of a Geologist's job can be outdoors in difficult terrains.

A Geologist can work in a variety of fields. He can work with the Government or join a petroleum company.

In order to become a Geologist, you would pay attention to subjects like Math and Science after 10th. If your school allows you to do so, it’ll be beneficial if you choose Geography as an extra subject. Once you complete your schooling, you should preferably pursue a Bachelor’s in Geology.

A Bachelor’s degree enables you to work as an assistant or a trainee. But a Master’s degree in Geology is essential if you want to become professional. This will help you get an in depth knowledge of the subject.

In some companies, higher positions are only given to Geologists who have completed their PhD. Therefore, it is advisable that you complete your PhD in Geology in order to become a successful Geologist. A PhD will help you get better jobs and provide you with good exposure in the field of research.

Once you complete your PhD, you can take up a post – doctoral job at a university. This will help you sustain yourself while you look for a permanent job or do independent research. There are jobs available for Geologists in private companies that deal with petro – chemicals, natural gas etc. as well as in Government institutions.

Another way of becoming a Geologist is to start working as an assistant or a trainee after your graduation. This will help you gain industry experience and provide you with a good understanding about the practical aspect of this job.

To become a Geologist, basic computer skills are a necessity. Geologists are required to build models and diagrams very often so a strong base in computers can be very helpful.

A Geologist has to constantly be in the outdoors and do field work. Therefore it is advisable that you gain as much as experience as you can. You can assist other Geologists or work as an intern. This will help you gain valuable information about tools and methods that are essential to Geology.

What are the skills required to become a Geologist?

Geologists are highly skilled individuals that constantly collect samples from the field. Therefore, they should know about the different tools and methods used in Geology. Geologists need to have great communication skills as they are often required to work in teams. Geologists need to be fit and have a lot of stamina as they would have to walk for long distances in harsh weather while doing research. Geologists need to be flexible in terms of their work timings. They might be required to go on field expeditions without any prior notice. They need to be confident as they might have to face job insecurities from time to time.  Most of all, Geologists need to be in love with the subject. It is this love that inspires them to work harder.


There are many institutions that provide you with quality education in the field of Geology. Fergusson College, Pune and Hansraj College, New Delhi are two of the best institutes that provide you with a B.Sc degree in Geology. It is to be noted that Hansraj College offers a M.Sc (Integrated) course in Earth Sciences, which consists of Geology among other related subjects. The duration for this course is 5 years and it provides you with a Master’s in Geology without having to separately do a B.Sc in Geology. If you choose to leave the course after 3 years, you will be provided with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology.

 Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal and Fergusson College, Pune are the two best options for your Master’s degree in Geology.

Is this the right career for me?

The life of a Geologist involves a lot of travelling to remote locations. Geologists have to stay away from their home for long periods. It is a tough job that requires one to be physically fit. Geologists have to work for long hours and constantly be aware of the environmental changes that are taking place every day. They lead adventurous lives and constantly work towards unveiling unknown facts about the history of this planet.

So if you’re looking for a secure job that has fixed timings and if you’re no comfortable with travelling, then this isn’t the right job for you. But if you’re genuinely interested in the field of Geology, and if you’re okay with regular travel, then this might be the right career for you.

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Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.