Chadron State College
Chadron State College

Geoscience Degree Online or On Campus


Geoscience degrees are available face-to-face or online. Your online courses will be enhanced with summer field experience.

All online and face-to-face classes are offered on a rotational basis. .

As a Geoscience student you will learn about water and energy, geological hazards and resources. You will develop your skills of observation and problems solving, love of the outdoors and working with people to solve complex problems. Your hard work will pay off when you are ready to become an asset for your community. See templates for Geoscience or Environmental Geoscience for plans that will get you your degree in four years.

For more information, contact Dr. Tawny Tibbits or Dr. Mike Leite at

General FAQs

  • What is the CSC Geoscience degree?

    Geoscientists are broadly trained in the physical sciences, with emphasis on problem solving skills related to Earth processes and resources. CSC’s Geoscience degree is field oriented, meaning students are trained in skills of observing and interpreting phenomena in nature. Our Geoscience degree will help you develop the skills to enter technical fields in petroleum, mining, or environmental resource management, or to go on to graduate school in many other fields, such as geophysics or paleontology.

  • How is Geoscience different from geology?

    Geology is one of the Geosciences, among geophysics, hydrology, oceanography, atmospheric and planetary science. CSC’s Geoscience program is called that because we promote a strong foundation in the physical sciences with an emphasis on geology.

  • What jobs are available with a Geoscience degree?

    With degree in Geoscience from Chadron State College you can get a job right out of college in some fields with strong demand, including oilfield mudlogging, water quality sampling, GIS mapping technician, geological field assistant or laboratory assistant. Most entry level jobs involve some field work. Many more Geoscience jobs will be available to you if you decide to go on to graduate school. In fact, the Geoscience field is among the fastest growing job markets for people with a master’s-degree level education.

  • For career information you can browse Career Opportunities

    or go to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

  • What is field camp?

    Field camp is an intensive course in mapping and field geology techniques. Traditionally a six-credit-hour field camp is taken between the junior and senior years of a geology or Geoscience program. However, because of the need to introduce and reinforce field methods, and the challenges of doing this in the online setting, CSC’s field camp is split into three parts, which a student takes at the end of freshman through junior years. In the annual field camp you will practice geology skills learned in the classroom, learn new field mapping skills, gain experience working in different parts of the world, and get to know your fellow online and face-to-face students.

  • How much will a Geoscience degree at CSC cost?

    The Business Office has a cost calculator that you can use to estimate your cost of attendance.

  • How should I prepare in high school?

    You should take high school physical science and as much physics and chemistry as possible. Where available, it would be a good idea to take a geology, earth-science or integrated science course. Also, get a solid grounding in English composition, because geoscientists need to be able to write and speak clearly.

  • Why do I have to take so many difficult classes?

    Geoscience is an applied science; you need to be able to apply the concepts and problem-solving skills of chemistry, physics and math to Earth system concepts. Your Geoscience classes give you experience with rich observational and theoretical practices rooted in field observation. It is the combination of proficiency in analytical sciences and field observation that will make you an effective geoscientist.

  • Can I earn the entire Geoscience degree online?

    Mostly. You can take all your classes online except field camp. There is really no way for you to get good at interpreting geology in the field without the hands-on guidance of a professor. You will be required to attend field camp for two weeks each May. This small sacrifice will make a big difference in your learning throughout the program.

Online FAQs

  • How is CSC’s online Geoscience degree program unique?

    CSC’s online Geoscience degree is the only one of its kind. We think both our online and face-to-face students have an advantage because they learn problem-solving skills along with students in other parts of the world. Collaboration in the information age—in a world without borders—lends a personal perspective to global study of the Earth sciences.

  • How can you teach a field-oriented science like Geoscience in an online setting?

    The distributed “field camp” gives our students significant field experience over their undergraduate career, concentrated in three two-week summer sessions. So technically the online degree program is not 100% online since students are asked to commit to attending these two-week sessions each May. But field experience is critical to understanding how the Earth works and we think the small annual sacrifice is worth the benefits. Students also gain field experience without direct supervision of a professor. Students start developing this autonomy in the first course—physical geology—and keep working at it through the course sequence. Good field practices are reinforced and documented in the writing of professional reports, which are used in every class.

  • Don’t Face-to-Face (F2F) students have an advantage?

    We try as much as possible to give all Geoscience students, whether learning F2F or online, the same experiences. We do this by encouraging F2F students and online students to work in problem-solving teams, and at a higher level to develop a community of Geoscience students. This enhances the learning experience for students in both modes of the course.

  • What opportunities are there for meeting and collaboration?

    All CSC Geoscience students are encouraged to participate in professional conferences and field trips. Students often attend the annual GSA conference, around the end of October. See GSA Conferences are held in cities around North America, with alternate years in Denver. The department has a three-day field excursion each fall, usually in late September, stopping at various locations in Wyoming and Nebraska. This excursion is run as a course experience either for sedimentology (odd-numbered years) or rocks and minerals (even-numbered years), but all Geoscience and science education majors are invited to attend Each spring we attend the meetings of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, held at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. The physical science capstone students present result of their research at this conference. This is another opportunity for students taking courses online to interact professionally with those from the face-to-face setting.

Ask a Geoscience Student

Do you have a question for students who have gone through the Geoscience program at CSC? Please fill out this form, and we will try to provide you with an answer.


Hear from Geoscience Students

Jessica Rowshandel

I’m a part time non-traditional student. I hope to graduate with a B.S. in Geoscience, Math, and a minor in Applied Statistics. Because the degrees I’m working toward are offered online (except for the field camp portion of Geoscience), I am able to have the flexibility I need to take classes and work.

If you’re a traditional student, take advantage of the time you have now to focus on school because it gets more challenging to do so when you’re older and have to work full time and tend to other responsibilities. Included in that is taking the time to do an internship. Experience in the real world will not only help introduce you to what it’s like to work in your field, which in turn helps you decide if it’s a good fit for you, but when you graduate and look for work, that real-world experience is invaluable and will help you obtain employment.

Dr. Michael Leite has impacted me the most—from being generally supportive of me and also introducing me to new opportunities like the NASA Space Grant that I otherwise would not have known about.

Joslynn VanDerslice, Class of 2016

Joslynn VanDersliceI am the Water Resources Manager at the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District in O’Neill, Nebraska. The degree I received at CSC set me up for a job in the field I wanted. The opportunities I had allowed us to see, apply, and experience what we were learning about locally. When I was looking for a college, I wanted to focus on local issues in Nebraska.

The size and location of the school were really appealing to me when I was selecting a college. Your professors got to know you and could help direct you to projects that fit what you were interested in. The location and the opportunities it presented for going out in the field whenever we felt like was great! While we did plan field trips to Wyoming with the classes, if we wanted to go up in the Pine Ridge, or to Toadstool Park, or to South Dakota, we could. We weren’t limited.

Don’t be afraid to go to your professors and ask questions if you need help. While it might seem daunting, they are there to help you and by asking questions you might start some deeper discussion of the topic. Don’t be afraid to take a class that isn’t required or associated to your major. If you think it’s worth the time chances are you are interested in it and you never know when those skills will be useful.

Field Work

My advisor, Dr. Leite, and the way he ran the Geoscience program was a big reason I picked Chadron State. I had at least one class with him each semester. He was hands-on (we had a lot of specimens to look at) and we were able to go out in the field because of the location of the college. It helped a lot with application of what we were reading about in the classroom. We learned a lot in class and I find myself looking at geology a lot now. It’s intertwined in water resources, especially in Nebraska. We studied national and worldwide issues, but we also studied local things, including having presentations from people working in the community, such as the City of Chadron and the Upper Niobrara White NRD.

The other thing that impacted me was just being involved. I was in the Natural Sciences Club, Student Alumni Council, Cardinal Key, a tutor in the Learning Center, event staff at sporting events, and also with the TRIO Program Upward Bound at the high school. I got to do so many things like go to the Mammoth Site and volunteer in the bone bed, meet students, staff, and community members, that I would have never met had I not gotten involved.

You never know who you will meet or how it could impact or influence your future. I run into people who went to Chadron, or know someone at Chadron. Some of my best friends are those I met at Chadron.

I got a couple different summer internships during college because something we talked about in class piqued my interest in the subject. I got to intern with the City of Columbus in the lab at the wastewater treatment plant — just because we went to Chadron’s and I thought it was cool. One of my classmates worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and offered me an internship out there for 10 weeks, where I was able to use the GIS skills I had learned in class to help with a project. The opportunities that presented themselves broadened what aspects of water and/or geology I knew anything about and I still get to use some of those skills in my current job.