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What college and university should i go to for paleontology?

I'm a high school freshmen interested in paleontology and wanted to as someone who is a paleontologist.

What is the best college/university to become a paleontologist?
What education and/or training helped prepare you for this job?

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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Angel,

Choosing the perfect college or university to pursue your dream of becoming a paleontologist can be influenced by several factors. These include your preferred area of specialization, the expertise of the faculty, research opportunities, and the general academic atmosphere. Luckily, there are numerous esteemed institutions that offer top-notch programs in paleontology.

The University of California, Berkeley, is one of the leading institutions in paleontology. Their Department of Integrative Biology presents a robust program in this field, boasting faculty members who are experts in various aspects of paleontology. Plus, the university's close proximity to key fossil sites and museums offers students a wealth of research opportunities and access to invaluable resources.

Yale University is another prestigious institution with a rich history in paleontology. Their Department of Geology and Geophysics provides a comprehensive program that encompasses various branches of paleontology, including vertebrate paleontology, invertebrate paleontology, and paleobotany. The Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale is also a significant asset for students keen on studying fossils.

Stanford University is also an excellent choice for budding paleontologists. Their Department of Geological Sciences offers a solid program in paleobiology, focusing on the study of ancient life forms and their environments. Being located in California, Stanford students enjoy access to a variety of fossil sites and collaborations with renowned researchers.

Other remarkable institutions for paleontology include Harvard University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Kansas, and University of Texas at Austin. These universities boast well-established programs, distinguished faculty members, and extensive research opportunities.

To become a paleontologist, you'll typically need a bachelor's degree in geology, biology, or a related field. It's advantageous to take courses specifically related to paleontology, such as vertebrate or invertebrate paleontology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, and evolutionary biology.

After obtaining a bachelor's degree, many aspiring paleontologists go on to earn a graduate degree (Master's or Ph.D.) in paleontology or a related field. These programs offer more specialized training and research opportunities, allowing students to concentrate on their specific area of interest within paleontology.

Field experience is vital for paleontologists, providing practical training in fossil collection, excavation techniques, and field mapping. Many universities offer field courses or summer programs for students to gain hands-on experience.

Moreover, attending conferences and workshops related to paleontology is highly beneficial as it offers networking opportunities with professionals in the field, a platform to present research findings, and updates on the latest advancements in the discipline.

In conclusion, becoming a paleontologist requires a strong foundation in geology, biology, and evolutionary sciences. It's crucial to pursue higher education at reputable institutions that offer comprehensive programs in paleontology and provide ample research opportunities.

Top 3 Authoritative Reference Publications or Domain Names Used:

1. University of California, Berkeley - Department of Integrative Biology: [](
2. Yale University - Department of Geology and Geophysics: [](
3. Stanford University - Department of Geological Sciences: [](

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Lesly’s Answer

Hey there! Here's an exciting list of the top paleontology schools in the U.S. that can help you achieve your dreams:
1. Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)
2. Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Virginia)
3. University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
4. University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas)
5. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
6. University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, California)

Becoming a paleontologist is an amazing journey, and it all starts with earning an advanced degree like a Master's or Doctorate. A popular path is to first complete a bachelor's degree in geology, then move on to a higher degree in paleontology. Don't worry, there are plenty of options for majors, including physics, botany, ecology, chemistry, biology, and geology!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to help. Angel
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Abigail M.’s Answer

Hello Angel! I just graduated from Mizzou with a degree in geology and took several paleontology classes. I would definitely say Mizzou is one of the best schools to become a paleontologist as they probably offer the greatest amount of paleo classes and probably have the greatest amount of paleo professors. In order to become a paleontologist, you would need a geology BS degree and then a masters or PHD in paleontology. Paleontology itself is not offered as an undergraduate degree. At Mizzou, most of the geology professors are paleontologist and there is a very strong paleontology graduate program with many paleontology students. Many paleontologists also get a minor in biology. I took classes such as historical geology, intro to paleontology, conservation paleobiology, and taphonomy. I also had two research lab assistant jobs in the graduate paleontology lab. Other paleontology undergrad classes offer include age of the dinosaurs and advanced paleontology. To understand paleontology it is very important to have a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of geology. Paleontology is a subcategory of geology so they go hand in hand. Understanding geologic time, fossilization processes and environments, lithology, past ecosystems, mass extinctions, rock and mineral identification etc.... is all necessary to become a paleontologist and are all things that are taught to geology majors.

Abigail M. recommends the following next steps:

Get a Bachelors degree in geology with a minor in biology
Take as many paleontology classes as possible
Do ungraduate research in paleontology
Get a graduate degree in paleontology (masters or PHD)
Get a paleontology job
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this was extremely helpful and also congratulations on graduating. Angel