Best Colleges For Paleontology

A Guide To The Best Colleges For Paleontology

Although we’ve all seen the Friends character Ross always talking about his career in Paleontology, have we noticed what the career means or stands for? If you have and know that this is the career option for you, then this blog will be a perfect read. Not only will it remind you what Paleontology is all about, but it will also show you where the best colleges to go for a degree are! Be sure to always research these colleges as well, but we’ll now get right into it, showing you exactly where you’ll want to go to study for your future career! 

What Exactly Is Paleontology?

It’s Not All About Dinosaurs and Fossils! 

Although we may think this career path is full of Dinosaur bones and the study of Dinosaurs, it’s actually the study of fossil plants and animals. Students who want to pursue a career in Paleontology will study the history of life on Earth as reflected in the fossil record. As students prepare for a career in this field, they’ll need to understand things like rocks and genetics, but will also want to know about ancient climate change and the evolution and extinction of past life forms. For undergraduate programs, students will want to pursue any type of background in the sciences, whether that’s in biology or geology. Liberal arts courses like art, history, and writing are also important classes during your university undergraduate years. So, whether or not you want to take classes related to that type of liberal arts or not, you’ll want to have some form of science in your background and memory. 

There are also many different things that paleontologists do, it’s not just research and dinosaur fossil hunting! Some of the different career paths they may have can include teaching paleontology, taking care of collections, being a writer, or even designing exhibits. They could even help with research studies and museum maintenance. 

People standing near a dinosaur exhibit 
Although there are many different types of paleontologist work fields out there, finding the right profession with it can be difficult. You’ll want to know what kind of work you want to enter before starting your professional work journey and before you start looking for graduate work. You’ll also want to know what kind of studies you want to do before you even pick a major. That way, if you think you’d like to study more on biology rather than geology, then you’ll start in that direction first! 

Schools For Paleontology

Dinosaurs and Fossils Galore 

After you’ve established that you want your degree to be all about studying the life before us and fossils on our earth, you’ll want to narrow down your search with schools you’ll want to apply to. Here is a list of some of the best ones you’ll want to decide from: 

  • Brown University. Here, students are able to get the most out of studying forms of life from the past and the present, along with learning more about Earth’s history and extinction events. This is a great place for anyone who wants to study degrees like geology and biology since it has programs that combine the two, helping them understand both. 
  • Boston University. Here, students will be able to understand Earth and its relationships with humankind to further help build a sustainable future. This school offers a great undergraduate earth and environmental studies program that’ll help prepare any student for their future in paleontology. Not only will students be able to understand issues regarding climate change, but they will also immerse themselves in studies related to figuring out how the world is evolving.
  • University of California (Berkeley). Here paleontology is offered as a subfield in geology, earth science, or biology major. With the Museum of Paleontology right at school, there are many resources and different learning experiences to choose from. The school also offers a full graduate school paleontology program, which includes resources from the Museum like DNA extraction, paleohistology, and wet labs. Students who want to be able to get a great experience in paleontology will want to think about going here
A picture of fossils 
Before you pick the college you’re going to be attending for the next couple of years, make sure you have somewhat of an idea as to what you want to be studying. This is because although you can always change your major, it’s easier to have some sort of idea before you go into school, that way you’ll take the classes you want to take and learn the things you want to be learning about! 

Best Colleges Continued…

A Guide To More Schools 

  • University of Missouri (Columbia). Here, students will be able to study the past and present of Earth’s critical zone and how humans have affected it. Some projects that they’ve done here include finding fossil records and their relationship with global change and conducting research on the geochemistry of fossil prevention. If students want to get an interactive learning experience, this is a great place for them.
  • Cornell University. Here, students will be able to use many resources from the Paleontological Research Institution which provides different types of research training and resources to Cornell’s students and teachers. At Cornell’s School of Engineering, in their Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department, students will also be able to make breakthroughs in the understanding of our planet’s past, present, and future. If students are interested in a great research program, this is the school for you! 
  • Dickinson College. With the Earth Sciences program here, students will be able to think critically about the Earth’s systems which includes soils, organisms, oceans, solid earth, and the atmosphere. They’ll also be able to study geology, global climate change, and paleontology through this program at Dickinson College. In addition, with their field component here, students will be able to go on a field trip to places like New Mexico, Sicily, and the UK to learn more about the geology around them. 
  • Tufts University. Here, with their department of Earth and Climate Sciences, students will be able to learn all about the different types of geological sciences. At Tufts, students will also have many different resources like field equipment and collections of fossils to help do research with. Some of these different collections include a curated fossil collection of more than 3000 specimen and a curated mineral collection of over 4000 specimen. If you’re looking for a place to go with great equipment and resources, this is the place for you! 
A college classroom 
Students who want to earn a degree focusing on paleontology will typically have to take many classes related to geology and biology. And even if students want to study a different form of science before they make their way to the world of paleontology, there are many different types of science to choose from. But, you’ll want to ensure that you’re taking at least some classes related to biology or geology in order to have a sense of the subject. Students will want to understand biology and geology to ensure they’re on the right track toward a career in paleontology. 

By choosing any of these colleges, students will be on track toward a career in paleontology. Not only are these some of the best schools to choose from, but they offer many different classes and courses that’ll help guide students to the studies they want to focus on. For example, there are many classes related to history and biology that’ll keep students focused on their main areas of study. Be sure to research each school as well just to make sure they’re the right fit for you! Then, you’ll be on your way to applications and eventually acceptances to your dream schools. 

Isabella Abbott
Isabella Abbott is a professional writer.
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