Information for Prospective Students

Questions, Answers, and Resources for Prospective Students

Still got questions? We've got answers.


What's so special about the Appalachian Geological and Environmental Sciences (GES) Department? What's it like to be an GES student?

  • We have been successful in establishing a program that is arguably among the best Bachelor degree programs in the earth and environmental sciences available in the southeastern United States, and we are proud to be home to the largest undergraduate-only earth and environmental science program in the UNC system. We have numerous majors and concentrations, which can be found on our Programs of Study page, so you can be sure to find a program of study that aligns with your interests.
  • Our students support each other.  Our curriculum is challenging, and we encourage collaboration rather than competition between students.  GES students typically create lifelong friendships as they work their way through our program, and we keep our gateway "prep" classes for sophomores very small (generally < 16 people) in order to allow students to develop friendships and support networks early in their academic career.
  • The close personal contact between faculty, students, and staff results in a feeling of belonging to a tightly knit group.  Students get to know each other through field trips, lab work, outreach activities, the GES Student Club, and of course long, late nights in the lab (those 24-hour access keys are a mixed blessing!).  The faculty and staff expect a lot from GES students, and make it a priority to foster a collaborative, supportive atmosphere within the Department. See our Get Involved! page for departmental opportunities in student teaching, research, and outreach.
  • Recent research indicates that geoscience majors are the happiest students on college campuses, and our senior exit surveys indicate this is likewise true at Appalachian.

What kinds of jobs can you get with a BS in Geology or Environmental Science?

94% of our graduates are employed in the geoscience and environmental science fields.  Click here to find out about the specific jobs available to our graduates, and examples of where our graduates are currently working.

In the spring semester we typically have an industry Q&A panel with recent GES alumni who went straight into industry or government positions upon graduation.  They can help answer questions about the types of jobs available, how to apply for these jobs, advice for getting your first job, what skills and coursework you need to have, etc.

Where do GES students go to graduate school?

Our students typically receive full tuition waivers and stipends to attend graduate programs, so paying for graduate school is not a problem.  Click here to find out about how graduate school works in the geosciences and environmental sciences.

Some of our recent graduates have gone to recieve MS or PhD degrees at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Brown University, Cornell University, the University of Chicago, the University of Maryland, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Oregon, the University of New Mexico, the University of Kansas, Texas A & M, the University of Utah, Clemson University, NC State University, Virginia Tech, and many, many more.

Every year in the fall semester we have a graduate school Q&A session to provide information about the application process, requirements, funding mechanisms, how to contact potential advisors, etc.

What are the opportunities for undergraduate research and outreach?

Since Appalachian's Geological and Environmental Sciences program is undergraduate only, there are numerous opportunities to get involved with teaching, research, and outreach that would not be available in research universities that cater more to graduate students.