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Geosciences: Concentration Geography

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Why study Geosciences: Concentration Geography at APSU?

Austin Peay is a great place to major in geology.  It has excellent faculty dedicated solely to undergraduate students.  Classes in geology are generally small, and geology majors get the full attention of the faculty.  The faculty are experts in a wide variety of geologic disciplines and routinely publishes their research in nationally and internationally recognized scientific journals.  Geology students at Austin Peay State University have an opportunity for close collaboration with faculty, which is not often seen at larger universities with graduate programs.  Student research is a high priority in the geology program and faculty actively involve students in their research.  APSU geology majors commonly undertake research projects and present and publish the results of their research.  The geosciences program has state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, and equipment; such as a scanning electron microscope, ground penetrating radar, and petrographic microscopes.


What will I learn?

Geology majors study a wide variety of topics that include materials of the earth (minerals and rocks) and processes that affect them, as well as the evolution of life and its relationship to earth materials and processes.  These Earth processes include volcanism, plate tectonics, earthquakes, landslides, and ground and surface water migration.  Geology majors utilize their knowledge to identify and assess environmental hazards such as ground and surface water contamination, land surface stability, and volcanic and earthquake activity.  Knowledge of earth processes also helps majors understand the formation, occurrence, and extraction of natural resources such as water, oil and gas, and valuable minerals and metals. Geology is an outstanding field of study for students who enjoy blending the outdoor physical environment with science.  Geology majors are deeply concerned about environmental issues and resources and their impact on society.  Thus they have chosen to do more than just talk about such issues; they have decided to focus their careers towards actually solving these “real world” issues.  

The Freshmen Seminar degree requirement completed by most students is APSU 1000. The course is delivered in a small-class setting with like-minded students led by a faculty member and a peer leader. The interdisciplinary course is intended to support first-semester students and provide them with a foundation for university success. Emphasis is placed on student engagement, university learning success strategies, support services, library literacy, financial literacy, and academic and career planning. The first class meeting of APSU 1000 during fall semesters is on Freshmen Convocation Day.

The general education core is designed to develop critical competencies in written communication, oral communication, mathematical analysis, and critical thinking skills. Students at APSU select coursework in the general education core in the areas of Communication, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, History, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. While the general education core requirements for graduation can be met by choosing courses from each of these areas, some programs of study require lower division courses that serve as prerequisites for upper division courses. The General Education Core requirements for the Geology Concentration include courses in Physical and Historical Geology, and Physical Geography.

What engagement opportunities are available to APSU students?

APSU fosters a positive campus environment that encourages active participation in university life. Many Geosciences majors belong to the Geo Club which is student-led club actively involved in organizing extracurricular activities for students such as field trips, guest speakers, fund raising events, travel to conferences, and competing in state geosciences academic competitions.

APSU students engage in HIP curricular and co-curricular experiences that advance their learning and knowledge. Opportunities include first-year seminar, first-year learning communities, common reading experience 'The Peay Read', undergraduate research, study abroad, service and community-based learning, internships, e-portfolio development, and capstone courses & projects.

What Do Geosciences: Concentration Geography Majors Do After Graduation?


  • Environmental Geologist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Mineral Exploration Geologist
  • Petroleum Geologist
Chris Gentry poses for photo in McCord lab

Chris Gentry

Associate Professor of Geography

National Geographic recently picked Gentry to be Tennessee’s steward in a new national program to improve K-12 geography education in the U.S.

“It’s cool to be involved with the National Geographic Society because I think they prompted me to think about the world spatially early on,” Gentry said.

Geographers can be climatologists, city planners, conservationists and geographic information system specialists.

“Incorporating geography in K-12 education is the way to prepare students for future jobs that will be available doing spatial analysis,” he said.