Volcanology is an up and coming profession in the field of geology. Successful volcanologists today are ones who have a strong background in the natural sciences, math and computer science. Many educational paths can lead you to a career in volcanology. In the western U.S., there are a number of schools that provide advantages to students wishing to pursue a career in volcanology.
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Students interested in volcanology can attend the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and participate in the Bachelor of Science in Geoscience degree program. The Department of Geology and Geophysics at UAF allows students in this program to specialize in geophysics. The geophysics option emphasizes the study of volcanology, seismology and glaciology, and gives students opportunities to explore the Earth's physical systems in a number of different ways. UAF also offers a two-week field class in volcanology every summer, giving students a chance to study, explore and discuss volcanoes firsthand.
Oregon State University
The College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University offers students a Bachelor of Science degree with specializations in earth systems, geography and geology. Students can choose to minor in environmental geosciences and follow a track of study that emphasizes geology and geologic hazards including volcanology and petrology. At Oregon State, geology and geophysics majors have opportunities to participate in research in the areas of volcanology, ore geology, igneous petrology and geochemistry through a department known as the VIPER research group. VIPER research is based on active field studies conducted locally.
University of Hawaii
The Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has a Bachelor of Science in Geology and Geophysics program that would meet the needs of students interested in volcanology. This is an interdisciplinary program that integrates math, chemistry and physics into the study of the Earth. As part of the geology and geophysics program, students can participate in studies conducted by the volcanology, geochemistry and petrology research division, which uses Hawaii's active and inactive volcanoes as natural laboratories.
University of Washington
The Earth and Space Sciences Department at the University of Washington offers prospective volcanologists a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. This degree is intended for students interested in pursuing graduate studies or a career in research. Many students in this program go on to earn advanced degrees in earth and space sciences from UW as well. Students enrolled in the ESS department are also provided with opportunities to participate in undergraduate field and research studies in areas such as Death Valley and Hawaii.
- USGS: Information for Future Volcanologists
- Volcano World: How to become a volcanologist
- University of Alaska, Fairbanks: Department of Geology & Geophysics: Degree Programs
- Oregon State University: Earth Sciences Major
- University of Washington: Earth & Space Sciences
- University of Hawaii at Manoa: Geology & Geophysics
Based in Gainesville, Carissa Lawrence is an experienced teacher who has been writing education related articles since 2013. Lawrence holds a master's degree in early childhood education from the University of Florida.