What is Geology? Branches Of Geology and Career Opportunities


Last Updated on February 13, 2023 by Okoro Daniel O.

What is Geology?

Geology is a science that deals with study of earth and the processes that formed it.

Some Major Branches Of Geology

  • Hydro Geology
  • Geophysics
  • Sedimentology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Paleontology
  • Economic Geology
  • Petroleum Geology
  • Astrogeology
  • Environmental Geology
  • Medical Geology

Quick / Short Breakdown and Career Opportunities


Also known as Hydrology Is the branch of Geology that deals with the study of ground water resources, their occurrences, development, movements, chemistry and their flow pattern.

Hydrogeology is wide, same goes for its career opportunities.

Career Opportunities For Hydro-geologists

What do Hydrogeologists do? Hydrologists study how water moves across and through the Earth’s crust.

  • Independent business owner and Freelancer.
  • Teaching or lecturing job.
  • Some are employed by water companies whilst others may have roles in engineering or environmental consultancy firms.

The work of a hydrogeologist may include ground investigation, borehole construction, collecting data in the field and developing conceptual site models.


Is the branch of Geology that deals with physical theories or the principle of physics to study Geology or to state geological problems.

The study of Geophysics has simplified the study of Geology because it gives geological information that is used in the study of Geology.

Career Opportunities For Geophysicist

  • Teaching or lecturing job.
  • Construction and engineering companies
  • Exploration and consulting firms
  • Federal agencies including:
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Army, Navy, Air Force
  • Bureau of Mines
  • Defense Mapping Agency
  • Department of Energy
  • National Aeronautics
  • and Space Administration
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Universities, colleges
  • Soil conservation service
  • Geological surveys
  • Construction companies
  • Mining and quarrying companies
  • Non-profit research institutes
  • Petroleum and natural gas companies
  • Public utilities
  • State departments of water resources,
    conservation, transportation, energy
  • State geological surveys


Is the study of sediments in Geology. Sedimentology is concerned with the study of processes by which sedimentary rocks are formed, description, classification and origin of the sedimentary facies.

Career Opportunities For Sedimentologist

  • Researcher (Dependent & Independent).
  • Lecturing or teaching job.

The sedimentologists do preliminary tests to determine the composition of the different layers of sediment and run the sediment through an array of machines that take very high-resolution photographs and determine the colour of the sediment.


Is the branch of Geology that deals with the study of fossils.

Career Opportunities For Paleontologist

  • Teaching or lecturing job.
  • Professor or Teacher
  • Research Specialist
  • Museum Curator
  • Museum Research and Collections Manager
  • Prospector
  • State or National Park Ranger Generalist
  • Paleontologist or Paleontology Principal Investigator On-Call
  • Paleoceanography/Paleoclimatalogy
  • Science Journalist
  • Human Paleontologists or Paleoanthropologists
  • Paleontologist and Comparative Morphology
  • Paleontological Field Technician
  • Ichnologist
  • Paleobotanist
  • Paleontology Lab Manager
  • Vertebrate Paleontologist
  • Micropaleontologists
  • Paleoecologist
  • Specialty Environmental Monitor
  • Scientific Illustrator
  • Palynologist
  • Forensic Taphonomist

Economic Geology

Is the aspect of Geology that deals with study of value, the occurrences and prospects of solid minerals.

NB: Mineral can be defined as any naturally occurring inorganic solid substance that are crystalline and has both physical and chemical properties.

Career Opportunities For Economic Geologist

  • Businessman / Entrepreneur.
  • Mining companies.
  • Government departments – Geological Survey, Water Affairs.
  • Museums.
  • Scientific bodies e.g. Chamber of Mines, CSIR ? civil engineering firms.
  • Universities of technology and universities.
  • Consulting companies.
  • Council for Mineral Technology (MINTEK)
  • Self-employment, as a consultant.


Is the branch of Geology that deals with the formation, composition, sequence and co-relation of stratified rocks. In a short form, it is the study of rock sediments and how they (the rocks) are layered.

Study of Stratigraphy helps one to understand the order and timing of events in Earth’s history. It also provides the framework that allows one to interpret sedimentary rocks in terms of a dynamic evolving environment.

Career Opportunities For Stratigrapher

  • Researcher (Dependent & Independent).
  • Lecturing or teaching job.

Petroleum Geology

Is the aspect of Geology that deals with the study of origin, occurrence, movement, accumulation, and exploration of hydrocarbon fuels. It refers to the specific set of geological disciplines that are applied to the search for hydrocarbons (oil exploration).

QUICK QUESTION: Is Petroleum/Crude a mineral?
The answer is; NO! Petroleum/Crude is not a mineral. Why? Because it is not crystalline.

Career Opportunities For Petroleum Geologist

  • Completions engineers.
  • Drilling engineers.
  • Natural gas engineers.
  • Oil drilling engineers.
  • Oil exploration engineers.
  • Oil well engineers.
  • Production engineers.
  • Reservoir engineers.


Astrogeology is concerned with the geology of the solid bodies in the solar system, such as the asteroids and the planets and their moons. Research in this field helps scientists to better understand the evolution of the Earth in comparison with that of its neighbours in the solar system.

Career Opportunities For Astrogeologist

  • Researcher (Dependent & Independent).
  • Lecturing or teaching job.

Environmental Geology

Is the aspect of Geology that deals with the study of the interactions between humans and their geologic environment: rocks, water, air, soil, life. Humans are impacted by Earth processes, and by their activities have an impact on Earth.

Career Opportunities For Environmental Geologist

  • Researcher (Dependent & Independent).
  • Lecturing or teaching job.

Environmental geologists help prevent contamination of soil and groundwater by determining geologically safe locations for new landfills, coal ash disposal sites, and nuclear power plants. They also help plan underground waste disposal.

Medical Geology

Medical Geology is an earth science specialty that concerns how geologic materials and earth processes affect human health. Geologic materials such as rocks, soils, dusts, and volcanic emissions can contain naturally elevated levels of elements, minerals, other compounds, or microbes that harm or benefit human health.

Career Opportunities For Medical Geologist

  • Researcher (Dependent & Independent).
  • Lecturing or teaching job.

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