Hi Mr. Patton, I wanted to ask a couple questions regarding degrees in geology. I am considering applying to UC Berkeley because I have heard that they have a fantastic geology program. When I was filling out my application, I discovered that they only had a B.A. in geology when most of the other schools I am applying to all have a B.S. This made me unsure if I should still apply there or not. What is the difference between a B.A. in geology compared to a B.S. in geology? If I was to go down the petroleum geology pathway would either degree help me or is there one that outweighs the other?
The difference is that the BS usually gives you more electives in your chosen field, whereas the BA will require that you take more electives in other non-major related areas. The BA was conceived to produce a "more well rounded" graduate.
So what you might do is compare the required curriculum of a BA and a BS program to get a feel for the difference.
If your goal is to pursue a petroleum geology expertise, be aware that a MS will be required to land a job. A BS will only make you a Geotech.
Also be aware that anything coming out of Berkley is likely to be "trendy" with a definite far left liberal slant and that means you won't be getting cutting edge stuff currently hot in the industry such as the unconventional resource play: fracking, horizontal drilling and such as it is not very popular among the Green and Liberal crowd.
Do your research and check to see what jobs the department graduates on the masters level are landing. The Geoscience department should have that info if they are worth anything, they should still be in touch with graduates. Or the Alumni or Student Relations department might have the information. If they cannot provide any information about he success of their graduates in finding jobs, be wary.