Students

Appalachian GES students in lab

Questions, Answers, and Resources for Prospective Students

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

  • We have been successful in establishing a program that is arguably among the best Bachelor degree programs in the geosciences available in the southeastern United States, and we are proud to be home to the largest undergraduate geosciences program in the UNC system.  We have numerous concentrations within our degree program, which can be found on our Degree Tracks 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 small (generally < 16 people) in order to allow students to develop their communities 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 Appalachian Geological Society ("GeoClub") and the Environmental Sciences Club ("ENV 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 AGES students, and make it a priority to foster a collaborative, supportive atmosphere within the Department.
  • 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 geosciences.  Click here to find out about the specific jobs available to our graduates, and examples of where our graduates are currently working.

Every year in the spring semester we have an industry Q&A panel with recent alumni who went straight from Appalachian into government or industry positions.  They can help answer questions about the types of jobs available, how to apply for these jobs, what coursework they will need for these jobs, etc.

Where do AGES 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.  Some of our recent graduates have received MS or PhD degrees at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Brown University, the University of Chicago, the University of Maryland, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Oregon, 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?

Since Appalachian's Geological and Environmental Sciences program is undergraduate only, there are numerous opportunities to get involved with research that would not be available in research universities that cater more to graduate research. Research in the Department is a privilege, not a right - the faculty have very high standards for their own and their students' performance. Students who elect to do Independent Research and Senior Theses have access to state-of-the-art facilities, and most go on to graduate programs.