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What is Paleontology?

Paleontologists discover the secrets buried in ancient plant life and dinosaur bones. Students in OU's Paleontology program in the ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics take courses to prepare them to conduct digs as well as give them the background necessary to analyze the data they gather. OU Paleontology students work in the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in the collections and labs to gain hands-on experience. Students typically explore their own research interests and complete research projects with the curators at the museum. 

Do my interests fit?

Paleontology students typically have interests in:

  • Problem solving
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Working in the field/lab

High school preparation should include science and math courses, especially geographic sciences.

How can OU Paleontology help me?

Graduates from OU's School of Geosciences in the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy are among the most highly recruited students in the energy industry, and 98 percent of graduating seniors are placed in full-time positions or choose to continue onto graduate school. With some of the highest starting salaries in the nation, we prepare students for success in their professional careers by instilling knowledge, skills, confidence, pride, principled leadership, and the ability to contribute to the wise stewardship of the earth and its resources. Curriculum is taught by exceptional faculty with the finest equipment and highly focused on providing hands-on learning through labs and field trips.

What courses will I take?

Paleontology courses include:

  • Introduction to Mineral Sciences
  • Introductory Zoology
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
  • Sedimentary Petrology and Sedimentology
  • Paleobotany
  • Evolutionary Paleobiology
  • Evolution
  • Structural Geology
  • Invertebrate Paleontology
  • Geowriting
  • Depositional Systems & Stratigraphy
  • Field Geology - Capstone

How can I study abroad?

Palentology students have the opportunity to study abroad through a variety of programs:

  • Geophysicists in Brazil
  • Geologists in Colombia
  • Petroleum Engineers in Bolivia
  • Petroleum Engineers in Romania
  • Petroleum Engineers in Spain

How can I get involved?

What kind of career could I pursue?

Environmental geologist
Environmental engineer
Engineering geologist
Consulting paleontologist
Topographic surveyor

How much will I make?

Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website to explore the median pay for jobs you can pursue with this degree. 


School of Geosciences
Phone: (405) 325-3255