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As a student in MSU Denver’s Applied Geology Program, you will delve into the processes that formed the Earth and learn about the rocks and minerals that have allowed civilizations to flourish and enable our modern way of life. Learn how natural hazards impact cities and nations and how gemstones are formed. Learn about all of it on an urban campus surrounded by natural wonders.

Our passionate geology faculty will guide your education through a variety of laboratory courses and fieldwork. Additionally, undergraduate research projects will allow you to investigate geological problems in the field or lab. MSU Denver student work has included the discovery of a new kimberlite, the source rock for diamonds in Northern Colorado, the mapping of rock glaciers in the Colorado mountains and international research in Ireland and Germany.

With this strong foundation in geological sciences, you will graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to start a geoscientific career or pursue graduate studies.

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver

A Geology lab in session.

As an Applied Geology student you can also participate in Geology Club. Geology Club provides excellent networking and career-discovery opportunities as well as field excursions and social events.

The Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department, which houses the Applied Geology program, has two Geology teaching labs, an integrated science lab, a prep room, map library, x-ray lab, undergraduate research lab and Geographic Information Systems classrooms equipped with ESRI and ENVI software. Petra Geologic subsurface mapping software is also available via an educational grant.

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates


Four images: meteor shower, rock samples, a collection of maps and an earth-moving machine.Your program in Applied Geology will prepare you for post-graduate study in a geology-related area in addition to careers such as:

  • Exploration geologist
  • Forensic geologist
  • Geochemist
  • Geodesist
  • Geophysicist
  • Geoscientist
  • Hydrologist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Mining geologists
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Paleontologist
  • Physical oceanographer
  • Planetary geologist
  • Quarrying
  • Surveying and mapping
  • Volcanologist

Geology Career Outlook

The outlook for geoscientific careers is outstanding. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median pay for geoscientists in 2015 was $89,700 and the field is expected to grow at a rate of 10 percent per year through 2024.

Featured Faculty

Professor Uwe Richard KackstaetterUwe Richard Kackstaetter

Professor Uwe Richard Kackstaetter is the inventor of the MSU Denver Stone and Mineral Identification Kit, which allows students and rock hounds to identify stones and minerals using a special process involving density. His professional expertise on two continents ranges from environmental testing and geohydrologic investigations to minerals and igneous research, including volcanoes. He specializes in Applied Geology and Mineralogy and is considered the “hard rock” (mining and minerals) geologist in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Kackstaetter is the recipient of the 2014 MSU Denver Faculty Senate Teaching in Excellence Award.

Professor Barbara EchohawkBarbara EchoHawk

Associate Professor Barbara EchoHawk is an expert on high-resolution stratigraphy, engineering geology, energy and minerals and the geology of Colorado and Wyoming. She is a strong advocate for “whole person learning,” teaching geology as a second language and social justice in geology. Her expertise and field studies revolve around sedimentary geology and stratigraphic questions, and she is therefore the “soft rock” specialist in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. EchoHawk received the 2016 MSU Denver Faculty Senate Teaching in Excellence Award.

Alumni at Work

Applied Geology alumni from MSU Denver have gone on to work at these organizations:

  • Colorado School of Mines
  • United States Geological Survey
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Freeport-McMoRan Climax Molybdenum Mine
  • Arizona Gold Mine Developer and Owner
  • Commercial Petrographic Thin Sectioning
  • Newmont Mining Corp. Cripple Creek-Victor Gold Mine
  • Schlumberger (petroleum)
  • Kumar and Associates (civil/geotechnical engineering)
  • CCI Systems Inc. design and intake engineer
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • A.G. Wassenaar, Inc. geologist

MSU Geology graduates have been accepted for graduate study at:

  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Colorado State University
  • University of Colorado
  • Montana State University
  • University of Colorado Denver
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Wyoming

Contact the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Phone: (303) 615-1177

Email: [email protected]

Location:  Science Building Room 2028  (near the northwest corner of the building on the second floor)

Mailing Address:

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science
Campus Box 22
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362