World class and well funded, KU Geology changes lives. With new faculty members and a new building on the way, KU Geology is a vibrant, expanding department. KU Geology offers a world-class carbonates program, is the birthplace and home of Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, has a top-ranked paleontology program, and boasts of geobiologists who are close to solving the dolomite problem among many other achievements. KU Geology hosts an internationally recognized geophysics program, a top-ranked geohydrogeology program, and glaciology, tectonics and geochronology programs that bring in millions in grants and contracts, and send students around the world to study the most intriguing questions of the day.

Two-thirds of KU Geology faculty members collaborate with the energy industry, consulting and engaging in research with ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron, among many others. Every year more than a dozen corporations make the trek to campus to recruit KU Geology’s graduates.

In their careers, the 28 members of the KU Geology faculty also have produced more than 3,500 scholarly papers, books and other works. Their peers so honor the KU faculty that the members of the Society for Sedimentary Geology have elected one KU professor as their president, while the Society of Exploration Geophysicists made a second KU professor a recent president.

Generous Support

Backed by industry contracts, alumni gifts, and grants from such sources as the National Science Foundation and NASA, research at KU Geology tackles the most intriguing geoscience questions of the day. The Department also provides a wide range of scholarships and fellowships to its students.

Industry Connections

Faculty and students collaborate with industry on a daily basis. Among other efforts, KU Geology hosts a thriving industry-academic partnership called The Kansas Interdisciplinary Carbonates Consortium, which provides funding for research where students work directly with the people who can hire them after graduation.

A Balanced Approach

While the laboratory and classroom are key to a KU Geology education, fieldwork remains integral. Undergraduates take required field courses and work out of KU Geology’s permanent field camp in Colorado. Students at all levels can choose between numerous field experiences, including work in Spain, Puerto Rico, Iceland, the western United States and a barrier island off Georgia. New trips are being added all the time.

A Bright Future

KU Geology is poised to start construction on a new complex called The Earth, Energy and Environment Center. This new building will bring even more state-of-the-art geoscience facilities to the KU campus. The complex will integrate geology and petroleum engineering, exploration and environmental science, field and laboratory and analytic experience, and scientific research and field applications. KU Geology recently added two new professors to its faculty, and is in the process of conducting searches for two other faculty members. KU offered its first geology class nearly 150 years ago. The best is yet to come.

The authors of a study just published in Science (Heim et al., mainly from Stanford, CA, and Swarthmore College, PA) used all 50+ volumes of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology (published by the KU Biodiversity Institute’s Paleontological Institute, which is led by Geology Professor Paul Selden) as the main dataset for a massive study that looked at 17,208 genera of marine animals spanning the past 542 million years. They found that mean biovolume across genera has increased by a factor of 150 since the Cambrian, yet minimum biovolume has decreased by less than a factor of 10, and maximum biovolume has increased by more than a factor of 100,000. They could not explain this by random drift, so suggest that the trend observed and popularized by the famous dinosaur paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope in the 1880s–1890s was shown to be accurate. Here's a link to a BBC story about the study ( and a photo from the BBC of the researchers and The Treatise.

Internationally recognized programs
Millions in grants and contracts for research
Generous financial support for students
Research projects that stretch to Antarctica, Greenland, and numerous points in between
Birthplace and home of Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology
A thriving field program that sends undergraduate and graduate students throughout the world
Industry recruiters who visit annually to hire KU Geology's graduating students