Meet the Geology Department

Entering the doors to Darwin Hall, past the replica Dilophosaurus, lies the Geology Department, a department where faculty and staff understand that time in the classroom is not quite enough to enhance their student’s educational experience. The Geology Department goes above and beyond, digging up information and new findings within the Bay Area’s backyard.

"The SSU Geology Department is firmly committed to boots-on-the-ground field experience for its majors," shared Matt James, Department Chair.

This department takes their teaching methods to the next level, providing ample opportunities for hands-on learning and field studies. Field research is a necessity within this department. Any place in the world where there is beautiful “scenery” is due to the geology of the area. Geologists are the ultimate ecotourists: the entire world is their desitnation.

“Our department teaches— including the GE students — a better understanding of the world around them. This can range from an increased awareness of hazards such as earthquakes to an appreciation of California's amazing geology” said Martha Murphy who teaches geology at Sonoma State.

With the exceptional surroundings of Sonoma County, students are given the resources to take the tools learned within the classroom out into the world. In order to create such a strong basis of field study research, the faculty and staff in the Geology Department offer a variety of programs to their students including, bachelor of science in geology, bachelor of arts in earth science, minor in geology, minor in paleontology, and secondary education teaching credential preparation.

“The geology department at Sonoma State University places a strong emphasis on the importance of field geology. Our department stands out because we utilize the world famous local geology in our backyard as a teaching tool to train our students in the most current field techniques,” stated Phil Mooney, Department Tech.

For those interested in learning more about the Geology Department, visit and those wanting to say a quick hello can visit them at the coordinates of 38°20'24.08"N 122°40'30.00"W.

Top row from left to right: Matthew James, professor and chair; John Collins, technician; Matty Mookerjee, professor; Michael Smith, associate professor. Bottom row from left to right: Liz Meyer, administrative coordinator and Phil Mooney, technician. Photo by Liz Vargas.