About the Department


Please browse our site, and feel free to contact us for more information or to arrange a personal visit. As geologists, the earth is our laboratory, and we encourage active participation in field work to compliment a rigorous sequence of traditional classroom and laboratory work.


What is Geoscience?

Geoscientists are the caretakers of the earth's resources and environment. They study the Earth, its soils, water, oceans, and atmosphere, providing essential information for solving problems and establishing policies for resource management, environmental protection, and public health, safety, and welfare.

Geoscientists locate new resources and learn how to develop them while protecting the environment. Geoscientists study mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes, rivers, groundwater, glaciers, and other planets. For more information on what geoscientists do, visit this page on geoscience careers from the American Geological Institute.



The prospect of diverse, interesting, and challenging career opportunities is one of the strongest reasons to consider majoring in Geology at New Paltz. Diminishing non-renewable energy, mineral, and water resources, and global warming have brought the geosciences to the forefront of societal concerns. Career options are wide ranging and include resource exploration and management, technical consulting, engineering, environmental remediation, and education. There are a multitude of different jobs in the private sector as well as federal, state and local governmental agencies.

Graduates from our program work at the United States Geological Survey, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the New York State Department of Transportation, the New York State Museum, numerous engineering and geotechnical consulting firms, colleges, and high schools. Others go on to graduate school, or work in the mining and petroleum industries.


The Region

New Paltz is an area of scenic beauty and exceptional geologic diversity, forming a natural classroom for the study of geology. Spectacular white cliffs of the Shawangunk Mountains, popular among rock climbing enthusiasts, overlook the campus. These cliffs are composed of Silurian quartz pebble conglomerate which unconformably overlies Ordovician shales along the classic Taconic Unconformity. Situated within the Hudson Valley fold and thrust belt, we are also within easy reach of Devonian red beds of the Catskill delta, classic metamorphic sequences of New England, high grade metamorphic and igneous rocks of the Hudson Highlands, and ancient Precambrian rocks of the Adirondack Mountains.

Field excursions form an essential component of the learning experience at SUNY New Paltz. Day trips are commonly taken to study the rich variety of local geology, and longer excursions are made to study geology further afield.

Recent multi-day trips include excursions to Acadia National Park in Maine, the Adirondacks, Quebec, Niagara Falls, and National Parks of the Western United States, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Death Valley.



While geology is a field based science, laboratory analysis is also an essential component. Our laboratory facilities include:

  • Geology Student Computer Laboratory with 16 workstations
  • Mineralogy/Petrology Laboratory with 20 research grade microscopes
  • Stratigraphy, Geomorphology, Paleontology, and Structural Geology Laboratories
  • Thin Section Laboratory with diamond saws and grinders
  • Extensive Paleontology, Mineralogy, and Petrology collections
  • Hydrogeology Laboratory with ion chromatograph, spectrophotometer, and aquifer testing equipment
  • Mobile Hydrogeochemical Laboratory
  • Cold storage facility for cores containing ecology and climate records
  • Seismograph station on the Lamont-Doherty Seismographic Network
  • United States Geological Survey Federal Map Repository


Contact Information

Department of Geology, Science Hall Room 112
State University of New York at New Paltz
1 Hawk Drive
New Paltz, New York 12561

Phone: 845-257-3760
Fax: 845-257-3755