A lot of incredible plants and animals that once existed on earth are now defunct. However, they left some traces and fragments of their existence in form of fossils. These fossils give us a peek into the world in prehistoric times. If you want to know more about plants and animals that existed in the ancient years, you need to study Paleontology.
Paleontology is the study of ancient life, from dinosaurs to prehistoric plants, mammals, fish, insects, fungi, and even microbes.
In this post, I’m excited to list the 15 best paleontology undergraduate programs abroad. See the table of content below.
What Is The Paleontology Undergraduate Program?
Paleontology undergraduate program is a joint undergraduate program that requires in-depth awareness and teaching in both biology and geology. Paleontology and its utility are used to solve problems around geology.
The majority of paleontologists in this contemporary world use the fossil record to discover the account of life in the framework of progressing earth, thereby making a connection between modern and past ecosystems. The job of paleontology is often confused with archeology, a related field in the study of human activity and culture.
Paleontologists often spend their time on worksites, performing field projects to unearth fossils or collect specimens to aid their laboratory work. They may discover and preserve traces of animals and plants, fossil bones, and other information and then use the findings to make conclusions about the evolution of life in the history of our planet.
Generally, formal undergraduate paleontology program does not exist in some colleges and universities, especially in America. However, the course is offered as a subfield in geology, earth science, and biology major.
Why Should I Earn A Degree In Paleontology?
You might wonder why the government, universities, and museums should be interested in paleontology research in this hard economic experience? Is paleontology relevant in today’s world? Does have any value when compared to other scientific research?
Paleontology focuses on the study of the history of life. Since this history of life is inscribed in the fossil and geological record, paleontology creates a space for us to place living organisms in both evolutionary and geographical frameworks. This helps us to analyze the importance of the characteristics of living things and the occurrence of biological events in the modern world.
Earning a degree in paleontology will give you the theoretical and methodological foundation of paleontology as well as a sound footing in geology. It expands your knowledge of the evolution of life and geological developments. Studying paleontology also gives you the opportunity to work with the academic research team on the latest theories and models within the paleontology department. With your skills earned as an undergraduate student, you will be able to apply your knowledge in several scientific jobs like oil exploration and museum curation.
What Can You Do With A Paleontology Undergraduate Degree?
If you are pursuing a career in paleontology, you must understand that you are not alone. There are over a million other individuals who seek to earn a degree in this academic field. This interest to become a paleontologist often starts in childhood. Regrettably, the aspiration dies over time for most people. This could be traced to some disturbing factors like low-slung salaries and limited opportunities in the job market for paleontologists. It means that there is a need for more willing people who are on their pathway to fulfilling their childhood dreams in this field.
Most scientific researches rely on government, nonprofit grants, and private funding. As expected, the most funded scientific researches are those that provide immense benefits to man. Such researches aid advance in medical knowledge, war powers, and other financially beneficial research.
That notwithstanding, there are so many jobs available for paleontologists graduates in other fields. there are areas of specialization within paleontology and they include:
This is the study of plant fossils during the period of geological time. Paleobotanists renovate materials to categorize developments in the evolution of plants and modification in the environment over a period.
This is the study of the ecosystems that are recreated from the study of a range of lifeforms located in a geological structure. It provides knowledge of how the ecosystem is stabilized and the relationships that exist among organisms.
This has to do with the study of microfossils whose analysis would necessitate the use of a microscope. Information is provided by this field regarding the existence of microorganisms in a given environment to make available some data needed for climate science, evolution, and archaeological research.
This deals with the study of how living things are geographically distributed. Scientists can classify speciation across the universe by studying the shifts in the earth’s crust.
This is the study of climate before the emergence of human measurements. This study of past climates helps to give awareness to the existing developments and their impacts on the ecosystems.
Additionally, a paleontologist may work in different environments such as colleges, universities, gas and mining companies, museums, and historical exhibits. They may also travel across the country or the globe discovering fossils and preserving them for further studies. Other careers related to paleontology include professors, museum employees, science journalists, television researchers, and stratigraphers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job of geoscientists, including is expected to grow around 6% from 2021-2028. This growth rate may be due to the rise in the need for environmental protection and energy management in the United States.
What Are The Educational Requirements For A Paleontology Undergraduate Program?
Starting early is the ideal way to tread the path of becoming a paleontologist. Skills can be developed by children in reading simple scientific books of their age groups. While in high school, the students can take both math and science subjects seriously to have extensive knowledge of related topics in this field.
You will need a degree if you want to spend your days piecing together old bones, creating museum exhibits from fossils, or even finding out why and when dinosaurs existed. However, as we have earlier pointed out, there are no schools that offer an undergraduate degree in paleontology.
Instead of racking your brain on what to make of this unfair situation, you can plan on majoring in either biology or geology and proceed for your master’s degree or Ph.D. in paleontology. While searching for a school as an undergraduate, looking for the ones with courses around paleontology and topics in “paleontology of lower vertebrates” and “the DNA of dinosaurs”.
When searching for schools for your bachelor’s or master’s degree, bear in mind that obtaining a master’s degree is just a step ahead. You will need a Ph.D. to be able to make something out of this career pathway. You can also in some online programs in related fields to have a well-grounded knowledge of the program. In addition, paleontologists use such skills as communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills.
How Long Does It Cost To Complete A Paleontology Undergraduate Program?
It takes an average of four years to complete an undergraduate program in paleontology. However, since most job positions in this field require professionals to possess an average of a master’s or doctorate, it will require between 6 and 8 years to become fully a paleontologist for a master’s degree and 4 years for a doctorate. Do not forget that you will be required to invest some time in acquiring some level of work experience.
How Much Does It Cost To Complete A Paleontology Undergraduate Program?
For the academic year 2020/2021, the average tuition costs of universities offering paleontology programs was $8,243 for in-state residents and $16,772 for out-of-state students in the United States of America.
How Much Can You Earn With A Degree In Paleontology For An Undergraduate Program?
On average, paleontologists can make around $90 000 per annum, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The salary of a paleontologist can vary based on a lot of factors such as their location, the type of work environment, and the industry they work in.
How Can I Get An Undergraduate Degree In Paleontology?
Becoming a paleontologist requires a strong academic background in biology, anthropology, environmental engineering, geography, or geology. Many programs in biology, geology, or paleontology require that you have completed your coursework in areas like modern languages, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. You will also need skills in statistical analysis and computers to be able to navigate modern paleontology.
What Are The Requirements For A Paleontology Undergraduate Program?
To qualify for an undergraduate program in paleontology, you need to satisfy the following:
What Are The 15 Best Paleontology Undergraduate Programs?
Here’s a list of the best 15 paleontology undergraduate programs:
#1 Paleontology – University of Alberta (Bachelor of Science)
The paleontology program is offered at the University of Alberta under the Faculty of Science. The Faculty of Science is known for its high-quality programs whose focus is to study, elucidate and explore the actual science behind issues that affect man.
Paleontology is an interdisciplinary program that is designed to help students with a solid framework in paleontology, earth sciences, and biological sciences while preparing them for entry-level jobs and graduate-level studies.
The program is of world-class standard, with students having access to top researchers, widespread collections and digs, bone, and a chance to practice work experience. The program focuses on the study of fossils and ancient life forms.
Tuition: ARS 22 125 per year
#2 Paleontology – University of Birmingham (BSc)
The University of Birmingham is a world top 100 university and part of the prominent Russell Group. It is a public research institution esteemed for producing highly employable and successful students.
Studying paleontology at the University of Birmingham enables you to make use of fossil records in understanding the evolution and diversity of ancient life – from dinosaurs to microfossils. You will also be provided with skills necessary in the development of your career as a professional paleontologist. In addition to lectures and classroom experiences, you will be looking forward to fieldwork training in palaeobiological and geological techniques, to be taken both in the UK and overseas.
Tuition: £23 400 per year
#3 Flinders University
Flinders University is the only Australian university that offers a dedicated undergraduate program in paleontology by combining lab and fieldwork from Biological and Environmental Sciences, Archeology, and Visual Arts.
Studying the Bachelor of Science at the university will enable you to have a detailed understanding and appreciation of the Australian fossil record, with an extensive foundation in the scientific principles guiding paleontology and similar disciplines.
Flinders University has the largest paleontology team of six professors and over 25 researchers in Australia.
Tuition: $36 500 per year
#4 University of Bristol
A Bachelor of Science at the University of Bristol prepares you with the knowledge of the evolution of life on this planet through the study of geology and biology. The interdisciplinary degree provides you with a wider framework in palaeobiological science and the advancement in technology.
In addition, you will develop immense mathematical and statistical skills through the department’s quantitative research.
#5 Department of Geology and Geophysics – Yale University
The Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University is one of the top interdisciplinary programs for earth science as a result of its broader resources, superior academic programs, and modern research facilities used in carrying out their teaching.
Many of the previous and current faculty members have significant credibility for their efforts and contributions in the advancement of earth science.
The program, in addition, integrates numerous aspects of the disciplines of earth science such as chemistry, physics, geology, and biology. As a student, you are sure to attain the desired level of expertise in this department upon graduation.
Tuition: $55,500 per year
#6 Department of Geology – University of Cincinnati
The Department of Geology at the University of Cincinnati boasts of being one of the best among the top programs of the school. The undergraduate program is designed to develop and improve the skills of the students and prepare them to become top leaders in their various career pursuits.
The students are taken on comprehensive fieldwork around the world to gain an experiential understanding of the subject. The department’s laboratories, with their advanced equipment, have become one of the best places for hands-on experience by the students.
Tuition: $26,994 per year
#7 University of Portsmouth
The University of Portsmouth is an award-winning university and a top 30 in the UK for satisfaction, according to NSS (2020). It is a state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary institution that offers practical courses at the undergraduate, postgraduate taught, and research levels.
The Bachelor of Science in Paleontology teaches the theory and methodology of paleontology and a sound foundation in geology.
Students are exposed to some interesting locations via fieldwork and they include Isle of Wight, Lulworth Cove, Lyme Regis, and other parts of Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The ever-ready researchers of the department integrate new ideas and data into teaching which the students a great advantage over their counterparts in other universities.
Tuition: £17,600 per year
#8 The School of Earth Science – Ohio State University
Ohio State University has consistently been ranked among the best in different classes of rankings. It has been credited for having the best technologies in the imparting of its students, making them leading professionals in their fields.
The School of Earth Sciences at the university is a research department involved with the training of future leaders in its field. The academic curriculum of the department is constantly reviewed to make sure that only current topics are taught.
#9 Paleontology – University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma is a public research institution in Norman, Oklahoma.
Paleontology is studied at Oklahoma University in the ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics. Students are prepared to conduct digs and also provided with the right framework necessary to analyze the data gathered in the process. The students work in the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in the collections and labs to gain practical experiences. They are offered the opportunity to explore their research interests and complete the required tasks at the academy.
#10 Paleontology – University of the Witwatersrand
The Wits Evolutionary Studies (ESI) at the University of Witwatersrand is the largest paleontological research institution in Africa. South Africa has a diverse fossil heritage, which makes the research facility of the University of Witwatersrand a very interesting institution to obtain a career in the exciting field of paleontology.
Paleontology at the University of Witwatersrand aims to expatiate on the evolution of life on earth through the fossil record and other fields of study.
Tuition: R 50 920 per year
#11 Geology (BS) Paleontology – Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University is a public university and an affiliate of the University of North Carolina. It currently has around 15 900 enrollments. It offers its study programs within the four academic colleges including Arts and Sciences, Fine and Applied Arts, Education and Business, and the School of Music.
Paleontology at the Appalachian State University prepares you with the knowledge of evolution and plate tectonics, sedimentation and sea-level change, water resources, and groundwater contamination, etc. Upon graduation, you will obtain a Professional Geologist license (PG), a certification that would enable you to navigate through jobs in the field of geology.
Tuition: $7,410 per year
#12 Department of Geo-sciences – Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech is renowned for its research and academic prowess which is evidenced in the professional development of its students. it offers comprehensive degree programs in its multi-disciplinary departments.
The department of Geosciences at the university encompasses a wider range of various disciplines that provide the best academic knowledge and tools necessary to enable the students to become the best in their career pursuits. Students are provided with a comprehensive academic experience from the atomic level to the planetary.
Tuition: $50,900 per year
#13 Paleontology and Evolution – University of Leicester
The University of Leicester is revered for its research and academic prowess. It offers over 150 different degree programs across 30 subject areas.
Students at the Department of Paleontology and Evolution will develop a wide perspective of the evolution of life on this planet. Their interests are sparked up by experts in topics like dinosaurs, fossils, and the origin of the earth, allowing them to become the best in their careers.
Tuition: £9,250 per year
#14 Paleontology – University of Queensland
Studying paleontology at the University of Queensland offers enormous benefits to you. The researchers in the field of paleontology at the University of Queensland are ever busy investigating marine and terrestrial environments, together with microorganisms. Not forgetting that the specific interest of the researchers which is to the Australian fossil corals, radiolarian, geomicrobiology, and many more are always achieved.
As an undergraduate, you will learn more about paleontology through teachings, hands-on experience, and so on.
Tuition: AUD 31,920 per year
#15 Paleontology – University of New England
The University of New England is among the few Australian universities offering a comprehensive undergraduate program in paleontology. It has a long history of paleontological education and research, providing the best natural lab for the study of fossils and evolution.
Paleontology at the University of New England is a multidisciplinary science program that involves geology, biology, and some aspects of chemistry. Students can also research the postgraduate level at UNE.
Tuition: $38,750 per year
A paleontologist is a scientist who studies the history of life on Earth through the fossil record. Fossils are the evidence of past life on the planet and can include those formed from animal bodies or their imprints (body fossils).