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Career as a Geoscientist

Who is a geoscientist?

geoscientist refers to anyone whose work focuses on the earth's systems. They study the physical aspects of the Earth, such as its composition, structure, and processes, to learn about its past, present, and future. 

What do they do?

Geoscientists are often involved in the discovery and development of commercially viable and exploitable reserves of natural resources, such as oil, gas, minerals and water.

Others work in areas such as seismology, volcanology, environmental protection, land reclamation or oceanography.

Whichever area you're working in, you'll be studying the physical structure of the earth - how it was formed, the processes involved, and how it's changing.

Types of geoscientist

Engineering geologists apply geologic principles to civil and environmental engineering. They offer advice on major construction projects and help in other projects, such as environmental clean-up and reducing natural hazards.

Geologists study the materials, processes, and history of the Earth. They investigate how rocks were formed and what has happened to them since their formation. There are sub-groups of geologists as well, such as stratigraphers, who study stratified rock, and mineralogists, who study the structure and composition of minerals.

Geochemists use physical and organic chemistry to study the composition of elements found in groundwater, such as water from wells or aquifers, and earth materials, such as rocks and sediment.

Geophysicists use the principles of physics to learn about the Earth’s surface and interior. They also study the properties of Earth’s magnetic, electric, and gravitational fields.

Oceanographers study the motion and circulation of ocean waters; the physical and chemical properties of the oceans; and how these properties affect coastal areas, climate, and weather.

Palaeontologists study fossils found in geological formations to trace the evolution of plant and animal life and the geologic history of the Earth.

Petroleum geologists explore the Earth for oil and gas deposits. They analyze geological information to identify sites that should be explored. They collect rock and sediment samples from sites through drilling and other methods and test them for the presence of oil and gas. They also estimate the size of oil and gas deposits and work to develop sites to extract oil and gas.

Seismologists study earthquakes and related phenomena like tsunamis. They use seismographs and other instruments to collect data on these events.

Responsibilities and duties of a geoscientist

Normally, the responsibilities vary on the basis of which area of geoscience you are into, but these are the general duties a geoscientist needs to follow

  • collect geophysical, geochemical and geological information in the field from seismic and well data and other sources

  • monitor the acquisition of data to ensure consistent quality

  • interpret the data using sophisticated technical software to determine subsurface geology and the economic importance of natural resources

  • develop geological models of the earth's subsurface to understand the geological structure, rock characteristics and the likely distribution of oil/gas/mineral-bearing strata

  • assess the potential quality of mineral and hydrocarbon resources

  • collaborate with drilling engineers to determine drilling locations on the basis of the interpretation of the data and models developed

  • produce and present geological maps and reports to colleagues and clients

  • perform detailed geological risk analysis of proposed exploration targets

  • plan and undertake an exploration drilling programme, after collecting and modelling all available data

  • plan the location and trajectory of development wells

  • work in multidisciplinary teams to create well proposals

  • create new opportunities to access remaining reserves

  • implement new technologies in geological modelling and seismic processing

  • advise engineers and senior management on geological factors affecting exploration

  • use satellite imagery, gravity and magnetic surveys for evaluation purposes - this may be part of your role if you're working in exploration

  • make assessments through study of well core and well fluid samples - in some roles.

What is a workplace of a geoscientist like?

Most geoscientists split their time between working in the field, in laboratories, and in offices. Fieldwork can take geoscientists to remote locations all over the world and can be physically and possibly psychologically demanding. For example, oceanographers may spend months at sea on a research ship, and researchers studying advanced topics may need to collaborate with top scientists around the world.

The search for natural resources often takes geoscientists involved in exploration to remote areas and foreign countries. When in the field, geoscientists may work in both warm and cold climates, in all types of weather. They may have to travel by helicopter or four-wheel drive vehicles and cover large areas on foot. Having outdoor skills such as camping and boat-handling skills may be us.

How to become a geoscientist?

Geoscientists need at least a bachelor’s degree for most entry-level positions. However, some workers begin their careers as geoscientists with a master’s degree. A Ph.D. is necessary for most basic research and college teaching positions.

A degree in geosciences is preferred by employers, although degrees in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, engineering, or computer science are usually accepted if they include coursework in geology.

Most geosciences programs include geology courses in mineralogy, petrology, and structural geology, which are important for all geoscientists. In addition to classes in geology, most programs require students to take courses in other physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, and computer science. Some programs include training on specific software packages that will be useful to those seeking a career as a geoscientist

Skills required

Computer knowledge is essential for geoscientists. Ones who have experience with computer modelling, data analysis, and digital mapping will be potentially better

excellent communication and interpersonal skills

flexibility and the ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team

the ability to express ideas and findings clearly, both orally and in writing, to produce reports and make presentations

observational skills

the ability to learn quickly, work to deadlines and under pressure

analytical and problem-solving skills (it is necessary to have errorless data)

good project-management skills (one needs to handle a lot of projects)

attention to detail and the ability to record information accurately

a commitment to continual learning. (it is one of the most important skill because as a geoscientist you would always need to have a curiosity to learn more)

Work activities

  • analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

  • Interacting with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


One needs to be an active listener and a good reader to read research papers and literature related to it for their respective project. One needs to be critical thinker and a cool minded person who can work effectively under pressure of deadlines. One also needs to have good communication and speaking skills to convey their collected data or theories to others. Outdoor skills are a necessity because Geoscientists may spend significant amounts of time outdoors. Familiarity with camping skills, general comfort being outside for long periods of time, and specific skills such as boat handling or even being able to pilot an aircraft could prove useful for geoscientists. Geoscientists may need to hike to remote locations while carrying testing and sampling equipment when they conduct fieldwork so they need to have a great physical stamina.

Job outlook

Employment of geoscientists is projected to grow 6 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management is projected to spur demand for geoscientists.

Employment of geoscientists in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry, where most of them work, is projected to increase modestly. This growth will offset smaller losses in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry, the second-largest employer of geoscientists.

Geoscientists will be involved in discovering and developing sites for alternative energies, such as geothermal energy and wind energy. For example, geothermal energy plants must be located near sufficient hot ground water, and one task for geoscientists would be evaluating if the site is suitable.


Normally, a good geoscientist can ear 1 to 2 lakhs per month in India.

Frequently asked questions

Where can a geoscientist work?

Geoscientists often find work in the oil and gas industry. Principal employers include:

  • international oil companies

  • specialist geophysical companies

  • petroleum exploration companies

  • mining companies

  • contractors

  • consultants

  • the water industry

  • software companies.

Should I become a geoscientist?

If you have a keen interest for the subjects like geology, chemistry, physics and other related subjects and also have a suited personality as mentioned earlier, then yes!

Does a geoscientist gets paid well?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, geoscientists are now in a great demand.

Is master’s degree sufficient to be a geoscientist?

Preferably no, one needs to have a Ph.D. to have a greater and in-depth knowledge of the subject.

Relevant YouTube videos to watch

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