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How do I Choose the Best Introduction to Geology?

By Sarah Valek
Updated May 17, 2024
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To choose the best introduction to geology, you first have to decide why and how you want to learn about geology. Geology is the study of the Earth. It can cover anything from the basics of volcanoes and minerals to geochemistry and chemical geodynamics. Decide how in-depth of an introduction you’re looking for.

If you’re looking to become a geologist or want to become a geology major at a university, you’ll want to take an introduction to geology course at an institution of higher learning. The first steps in determining the right college course to take are deciding how much money you want to spend and where you want to live. Pinpoint your location of choice then pick out schools that offer geology courses and see if they’re affordable.

Many community colleges, along with private colleges and public universities offer introduction to geology courses. Decide whether you want a course that’s primarily a lecture or one that features a hands-on lab. You can also choose to take online distance leaning classes or traditional courses.

Look into how students are assessed. Does the course pile on homework, have students write research papers and conduct experiments or take tests and quizzes? Can the class be audited, where you take the course without being graded?

See if the introduction to geology courses offer credit that transfers to other institutions or serves as a prerequisite for higher-level courses. Compare different instructors by looking into their backgrounds and teaching styles. Some courses offer a lot of field trips, which may be suitable if you’re a hands-on learner. See what curriculum is covered and whether the course covers what you want to know.

Of course, taking college courses isn’t the only way to get an introduction to geology. Think about your personal learning style. If you’re a visual person, you can find many introduction to geology books to read. Besides textbooks, you can find light-hearted yet informative books that are easy to read, workbooks and books focusing on specific geology topics like Hawaiian volcanoes or Colorado minerals. If you’re more of an auditory learner, you can find books on tape or attend an introduction to geology lecture at a local museum or park.

There are also many online sources of geology information. You can learn a lot about geology by simply searching the Internet. Many college professors have their own introduction to geology websites complete with a list of relevant scientific links.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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