Development of student skills and employment by graduates of the FHSU BS Geology program

John Heinrichs, Fort Hays State University

The BS program in Geology has been offered by Fort Hays State University for over 40 years, almost entirely through on-campus instruction and organized field experiences. The program is divided into two parts: the core curriculum and the specialty areas. Within the core curriculum students obtain general knowledge and skills by mastering topics associated with introductory courses in calculus, chemistry and physics. This knowledge of cognate disciplines prepares the student to master the foundation knowledge in geology, including physical and historical geology, mineralogy, petrology and structural geology. Needed skills are obtained via laboratory experiences associated with physical and historical geology. After mastering the core curriculum, students complete a curriculum in one of the specialty areas of traditional, paleontology, environmental, technology, or petroleum geology. Completion of a focus in paleontology requires additional courses in biology, the environmental focus requires hydrology, the technology focus requires courses in computer applications and Geographic Information Systems, and the petroleum geology focus requires courses in petroleum geology and business.

All of our graduates with BS degrees in Geology typically find their employment in Kansas (especially in Western Kansas), Graduates of this program hold positions in Kansas at the Kansas Department of Health, the Kansas Corporation Commission, the Kansas Water Office, the Kansas Department of Transportation, and the Kansas Department of Emergency Management among others. Many graduates work for independent oil and gas companies in Kansas, and others are employed by or have founded environmental consulting companies in the state. Graduates with a paleontology focus often work in museums and/or pursue graduate study and are employed in academic institutions where they teach and conduct research. The Fort Hays State University Department of Geosciences has for the past 5 years (FY2008-FY2012) placed 36 out of 37 (97.3%) of its undergraduate students in jobs or advanced graduate programs; and 12 of 12 (100%) of its graduate MS students were placed in jobs or PhD programs. Placement data from FHSU Career Services for the BS Geology program are included below.

Fort Hays State University Geology Graduate Data
Academic Year20082009201020112012
Number of graduates361511
Employed in Major Field11124
Employed Outside Major Field04002
Continuing Education20022
Not Seeking Employment00000
Still Seeking Employment01013
No info00000
Success Rate100%83%100%80%73%

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