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Careers: Geology/Hydrogeology


R/sir! I am doing BS in earth sciences. I am interested both in hydrogeology and seismic. Now  what will you suggest me whether i should do my thesis in seismic or hydrogeology (at BS level)? Can i do MS in hydrogeology?
Thanks in advance



First off there is a big pay difference between the two.  Generally the pay difference runs close to 50% lower for hydrologists than geophysicists.

There are a number of paths for "seismic" you can do solid earth seismology, which is more research oriented, and studies earthquakes.  Or exploration geophysics which is where the money is, in petroleum exploration.  Earthquake seismology is the realm of government and academia.  Neither one are "profit centers" meaning they don't make money, the just sponge off of the tax payers like leeches.  So they do not have the luxury of paying high salaries.

Petrolum companies make a lot of money and so pay the people who help the find the oil, more.  The pecking order is Petroleum engineers, geophysicists, geologists, with geologists getting the lowest pay.   A Pet Engineer can make more with a BS than geophysicists or geologists with a MS.

You HAVE to have a MS in Geology or Geophysics to be hired by a large oil company.

Hydrology will lead you into either the environmental industry, cleaning up contaminated ground water, doing modeling, pump and treat projects, mapping contamination plumes, and possibly working lawsuits.  It can also have you working for companies exploiting ground water resources. This can be in government, or private water well companies.  Neither pays very well.

Yes, you can do a MS in hydrology, but do yourself a favor and do some research on line about what the job prospects are.  Look in the job postings in Ground Water journal to see a sampling.  Be aware that a MS in hydrolgy will not make you a suitable candidate for a job in petroleum.

The reasons most companies prefer an MS candidate is the thesis teaches you problem solving skills that you do not get with just a BS.  That is what a company pays you to do, solve problems.  A BS only gives you a half filled tool box, the MS gives you more specialized tools and the knowledge of how to use them.  I can get someone how knows how to use a hammer to drive a nail and a saw and knows how to cut a plank, but that does not mean he knows how to build a house.  Right?  A BS only gives you general knowledge, the MS makes you more of a specialist with problem solving skills.  

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Keith Patton


Career and educational options open for fledgling geoscience students. What courses you should take to prepare for the current job market.


24 years experience in Petroleum, Environmental Consulting and geological and geophysical computer software development.


Registered Geologist in Texas
Certified mapping scientitst in RS

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