Departmental Overview

About KU Geology

For nearly 150 years, the Department of Geology at KU has been a leader in the geosciences. Today KU Geology has 26 regular faculty members; 15 courtesy faculty members; 3 post-doctoral research associates; 11 research staff, research-support staff, or lab managers; and 8 professors emeriti. The graduate program has more than 100 graduate students from all over the United States and several foreign countries. M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are awarded. KU Geology places its graduates in academia, industry, and government.

The Department has close ties with a number of research units at KU, including the Kansas Geological Survey, the Paleontological Institute, the Biodiversity Institute, Natural History Museum, the Tertiary Oil Recovery Program, and the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets. In addition, some students and faculty work closely with the Water Resources Division of the U. S. Geological Survey, a branch of which is located in Lawrence, Kansas.

There are almost 100 undergraduate geology majors working toward earning a B.S. in geology with emphasis in general geology, environmental geology, engineering geology, or geophysics, or a B.A. in geology.

KU Geology is the home of the alpha chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the earth sciences national honor society, which was founded in 1915. It also hosts student-run chapters of the national or international organizations AWG, AAPG, and SEG, as well as the KU Geology Club. As one example of intradepartmental interaction, geology graduate students run a geology-undergraduate-student mentoring program, providing a way for undergraduates to learn from graduate students.

A Tradition of Success

Since geology was first taught at KU, geoscientists have built a tradition of success. Graduates like Wallace Pratt (1886-1981) helped create the discipline of petroleum geology. Pratt was the first geologist hired by what later became ExxonMobil. He pioneered the application of scientific principles to finding oil, and predicted enormous reserves at the King Ranch and Prudhoe Bay. Professors like R.C. Moore (1892-1974) took their disciplines to new levels. A world-class stratigrapher and paleontologist renowned for his work in Paleozoic crinoids, bryozoans and corals, Moore founded Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology in 1953. He taught at KU Geology for decades, served as the Kansas state geologist and director of the Kansas Geological Survey. Recently, faculty members like Paul Enos, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus, pioneered their fields of study. Enos was among the first to describe modern carbonate systems.


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Upcoming Colloquium


2/25/21: Dr. Katherine Ryker, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina

3/25/21: Dr. Jonathan Payne, Professor, Geological Science, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

4/8/21: Dr. Peter Burgess, Professor of Sedimentary Geology and Head of Earth Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

4/29/21: Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Professor, Geoecology & Carbonate Sedimentology and Director of the Center for Marine Environmental Science, Bremen University, Bremen, Germany.

Geology Scholarship

The 2021-2022 Academic-Year Undergraduate Scholarship Award Application is now online.
Complete the online form to be considered for the scholarship award.