Marine Biology or Geology?
Are you inspired to solve the mysteries below the surface of the water? Or do you, perhaps, love to investigate the secrets in the ground upon which we walk? If the answer to either of those questions is a resounding “yes”, then you may be meant for one of two exciting careers: marine biology and geology. In specialized fields such as these, it is extremely important to choose the right educational program – one that will equip you with the skills and qualifications for long-term professional success.
Marine biology deals with the study of marine life. This means that getting the opportunity to study in a suitable environment is a crucial part of your education. This small specialty field is set to grow but its size means that relatively few new jobs will become available over the next decade. Your chances of finding the right job will be greatly enhanced by your educational credentials, field work experience, and chosen specialty area. Marine biologists can choose from among a range of settings: marshes, wetlands, lakes, and oceans. Those who want to work with marine mammals (like whales and dolphins) will face particularly tough competition as this is a very popular sub-field.
Aspiring marine biologists may have to looks outside of their home states to locate a good marine biology program that offers the desired access to marine life. The US is home to a number of excellent marine biology schools, with undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Each top program has its own unique strengths. Duke University, for instance, is distinguished by the sheer number of research laboratories in its biology department – more than 45! Boston University’s top-ranking marine biology program includes intensive research study and its Marine Science Association provides social opportunities and lectures to students. At Cornell University, compulsory field work is conducted at the Shoals Marine Laboratory. Other reputed US marine biology schools include Eckerd College, Oregon State University, University of Miami, and University of California – Berkeley.
Geology, on the other hand, is an earth science, dealing with the study of the earth’s materials and processes. As an aspiring geologist, it would be useful for you to narrow down your field of interest before applying to schools. Geologists can be involved in a plethora of tasks: studying the earth’s past (such as its magnetic history and ancient lakes), predicting earth movements (such as volcanoes and earthquakes), researching mineral and fossil fuel deposits, and analyzing moon rocks and meteorites. Knowing what you want to specialize in will make your search for the right school more targeted. Look for a program that is strong in your sub-field, in terms of curriculum, faculty, and learning opportunities.
There are a number of reputed top geology schools in the US, with an array of varying programs for students. The University of Arizona, for instance, offers a bachelor’s degree in geo-sciences with a concentration in geology wherein the final two years include extensive field-work. The master’s degree required the completion of a thesis. Pennsylvania State University provides an undergraduate degree with the opportunity for hands-on field-work and participation in a research study program abroad. The school also offers a master’s degree in teaching earth sciences. Other top choices for geology in the US include the University of Michigan, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Along with a passionate interest in the subject, getting a world-class education is integral to becoming a successful marine biologist or geologist in tomorrow’s competitive world. Choose your school carefully, based on its reputation and how well it is aligned with your individual aspirations.