10 Best Free Online Geology Courses

We live in a world where our environment has been tampered with, by us, but these free online geology courses will help to mitigate that. You’ll be learning a lot on how to reduce climate change through carbon sequestration and have an understanding of the earth’s future.

One of the beauties of studying online is the ability to study at your own convenience and pace. However, even if you struggle to study, you can improve your learning and study skills with a few tweaks.

Geologists are more than needed in our world, in fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment of geoscientists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030. And, About 3,100 openings for geoscientists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

To stand out in the labor market, understanding some requirements through pre-employment screening tests will be an added advantage. Also, where there is a problem, a solution is needed.

So is the case of geologists, we have an increasing problem in our world, we have climate change horribly threatening us. We have earthquakes that attempt to take us unawares and volcanoes that cause a lot of problems to our surroundings.

But our respected geologists are there to help us reduce that, and you can be one of them through these free online geology courses.

What is Geology?

Geology is the study of our world, what makes it up, and the study of what acts upon our planet. A geologist will have to study the creatures that have come and gone on this earth, including creatures that no longer exist.

A geologist will go deeper to know the materials that have existed here on earth and how they have evolved to what they are now. And, you’ll be learning all of these and more in these free online geology courses.

In fact, geology has to do with the study of the history of our planet. This is necessary, especially to avoid becoming a victim of a word from George Santayana, which says, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it!”

A geologist needs to know the past to be able to predict what can influence the future. A geologist can learn what to do with a history degree, and which profession a geology degree can fetch him.

Where do Geologists work?

As I mentioned earlier, the demand for a geologist is meant to increase by 7%, that is, you might be one of those that will be easily employed within these years. And, geologists can work both nationally and internationally including in some countries where IELTS is not required to work.

Here are some areas a geologist can work;

  • As Engineering Geologist
  • As a geochemist
  • As a Hydrogeologist
  • As a Geoscientist
  • Geophysicist
  • Environmental geologist
  • Marine geologist
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Paleontologist

Even if you only have a bachelor’s degree in geology or you took one of the free online geology courses here you can also work as a drilling engineer. Or, even acquire the best paying jobs in energy engineering.

Benefits of free online geology courses

By taking one of these free online geology courses you’ll;

  • Work with other scientists to predict the geological future of our planet Earth, and know the best changes we can make to improve it.
  • Learn how to reduce carbon emission, and global warming through carbon sequestration and moving to geothermal energy.
  • You’ll also learn our to avoid landslides and you’ll know places vulnerable to it through these free online geology courses.
  • Further, you’ll learn the importance of the ocean and how we can sustain it to benefit us and our world at large.

Requirements to take geology courses online

Unlike most degree programs, online geology courses are short, some of them are a maximum of 6 months. And there is no requirement for these courses since they are short courses.

Free Online Geology Courses

Here is the list of free online geology courses

  • Introduction to Geology
  • Planet Earth…and You!
  • GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis Specialization
  • Monitoring Volcanoes and Magma Movements
  • One Planet, One Ocean
  • Advanced Diploma in Structural Geology
  • Advanced Diploma in Environmental Geomechanics
  • Oil & Gas Industry Operations and Markets
  • Our Earth: Its Climate, History, and Processes
  • Climate Change: Carbon Capture and Storage

1. Introduction to Geology

Having a little knowledge of how the earth we live in operates makes us value it and try to geologically make it a better place. This is one of the free online geology courses that are foundational to geology.

This course welcomes you to the world of earth science, such as plate tectonics, mountain building, landslides, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes. And, you’ll start to learn how the earth’s atmosphere, surface, and life have changed throughout history.

We have seen how our man-made equipment is affecting our environment including the climate, that is why an understanding of geology is important. Further, this is one of the free online geology courses that will be taking you on lectures, practicals, and field trips.

Your instructor will be emphasizing minor and major minerals, and how to identify rocks. In addition, you’ll learn geological mapping, plate tectonics, erosions, and the origin and age of the earth.

There are 36 lecture topics here, with lots of downloadable lecture notes and many downloadable labs and exercises. This course is offered by MIT OCW (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, OpenCourseWare)

Apply Now!

2. Planet Earth…and You!

This is one of the free online geology courses that is offered by the University of Illinois. Even though Acts of God like; earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, landslides, are inevitable, they have shaped the way we see our world today.

The world has given us a wide picture, geologically of what our world looks like. This course will start by teaching you what these natural disasters are.

It will help you see a broader meaning of earthquake, you will even see if some things can cause an earthquake in an area. You will go further to learn the effect these earthquakes can be on our earth, especially the affected areas, and what we can do about them.

In addition, you’ll start seeing the effect of our world map on our society, and the changes that happened to it during geological evolution. This is one of the free online geology courses that will broadly explain why natural disasters happen and why they occur in specific areas.

You’ll learn about volcanoes, their types, and the kind of rocks found during volcanic eruptions. They will teach you the step-by-step process involved in creating the energy and mineral resources we all currently depend on.

You’ll learn all of these, online and, at your convenience. And, the course has been enrolled by 22,822 students already (and counting), and it takes approximately 42 hours to complete.

If you need a certificate to prove your completion of the course, you’ll need to pay a little fee. There are English, Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Spanish subtitles.

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3. GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis Specialization

This is one of the free online geology courses that is offered by the University of Toronto. Which was established in 1827, and has since become one of the top universities in the world.

This course is exclusively for students that know nothing or little about mapping and GIS (Geographic Information System). And, if you want to learn more about how mapping and GIS work, you’re also welcome.

This course is not just theoretical, you’ll be gaining practical knowledge on mapping and GIS through software created by Esri. Inc. The practical knowledge will teach you to find and create professional GIS data.

You’ll also learn how to create a successful map, evaluate spatial relationships, and work with satellite imagery. At the advanced part of the course, you’ll use what you’ve learned so far to create a small or even a large project.

Your result will then be presented so that you can share it with your family and friends. This is one of the free online geology courses that take as long as 6 months to complete.

And, you can enroll on it at your convenience, and at your own pace, you can choose not to hurry over it or you can even finish it within a short period. It’s all up to you.

Your instructor, Don Boyes, a Professor of Geography and Planning, is rated as a Top Instructor at Coursera. And, 31,345 students have already enrolled in this course.

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4. Monitoring Volcanoes and Magma Movements

A volcanic eruption can cause a massive environmental impact. The ashes that are received by the atmosphere, can close the airspace.

Even the one that comes to our environment can be dangerous to our health and our habitat. That is why this is one of the free online geology courses that will teach you what exactly happens before an eruption.

You’ll learn how magma accumulates in a volcano and the signs that this volcano gives us before an eruption. Understanding a problem gives you an edge to solve it, so this course won’t only show you the concept of volcanic hazards. 

It will also explain how you can know when the next eruption will happen. You’ll see videos of what takes place inside the volcano, which will enable you to monitor the volcanic technique.

This is one of the free online geology courses that will show you so much equipment used to monitor and predict volcanoes.

Your instructors have lots of experience over past Volcanoes, so they will be teaching you exactly what they have seen and learned. This course is offered by the University of Iceland, and it takes 8 weeks to complete.

However to get full access to all the course materials, and their certificate, you need to pay a little fee of $50.

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5. One Planet, One Ocean

This course will be taking a deep dive into how the ocean works, it will even show you how humans interact with the ocean. This is one of the free online geology courses that will explain what we can do to sustain our ocean.

Most of the time, we always focus our major attention on things outside our world than things in our world. For instance, we have put more focus on the moon that is far away from us, than on the ocean that is just our next-door neighbor.

The knowledge we have grabbed has proven that there are lots of opportunities on the blue planet. It has proven to support our world and improve our economic, and environmental growth.

Even though it is naturally helping us, it has been under threat from the same people it seeks to protect; humans (I’m not blaming us to some extent). This course will teach you how to treat our oceans better.

This is one of the free online geology courses that will teach you scientific better solutions to keep our water safer, for our own good. It will start by lecturing you on the physical, biology, chemistry, and geology of the ocean.

This course runs for 6 weeks and it’s free.

Apply Now!

6. Advanced Diploma in Structural Geology

This is one of the free online geology courses offered by NPTEL (The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning). This course will be teaching you how rock deforms, and how they have developed during geological time.

This course will show you the basic knowledge of structural geology, that is, you will learn how rock forms from scratch. Further, you’ll start by learning the basic concepts of earth structures.

Then, you’ll progress to structural elements, like stereonet and stereograph projections. You’ll also learn about strain and stress, and their effect on geological structure.

In the middle of the course, you’ll be learning the deformation mechanism of rocks, foliation, lineation, folds, and mechanism. Finally, you’ll learn ductile shear zone and structural mapping.

After the course, your knowledge over the course will be accessed, you’ll need an 80% pass mark to scale through.

Apply Now!

7. Advanced Diploma in Environmental Geomechanics

This is one of the free online geology courses that teach you more about the depth of environmental Geomechanics. You will grab a deep understanding of geosocietal issues and how to develop a lasting solution to these issues.

The course starts by introducing you to the history of environmental geomechanics and explains deeper about nature and soil composition. You’ll also learn about those problems that our world naturally has, and the problems we have created.

Next, you’ll learn some scopes and trends of environmental geomechanics, then progress to the nature of the soil, energy fields, and waste management. At the ending part, you’ll learn electrical properties of soil, and Magnetic and Pore-Structure Characterization of Geomaterials.

When you’re done, you’ll freely take your last assessment to prove you understood and properly went through the course. This is one of the free online geology courses that will also require an 80% pass mark to scale through.

This course takes around 15-20 hours to complete and can be done at your own pace.

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8. Oil & Gas Industry Operations and Markets

We have seen the impact of oil and gas, even the current impact on our innovation including our recent all-electric vehicles and planes. It greatly impacts our daily lives, so we can’t do without them.

So a problem to it is a problem to our lives, this is one of the free online geology courses that look deeper into its fundamentals. You’ll learn from the course how oil and gas production goes on from the onset to the final product.

Next, you’ll start learning some forces that make this industry scale or dwindle, how costs of wells are been affected, and the role oil reserves play in our world.

This is one of the free online geology courses offered by Duke University and has over 103,000 students enrolled in it. When you are done with each module, you will take an assessment to test your learned knowledge.

It takes approximately 8 hours to complete this course and there are 30 videos to equip you with the right knowledge from this course.

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9. Our Earth: Its Climate, History, and Processes

This is one of the free online geology courses that help you to appreciate your environment. That is the air we breathe, the water around us, the land we step on, and the life we have.

The course starts by introducing you to the building components of our Earth’s climate. And it does it by teaching you how science works in our world, how we measure geological time, minerals, and rocks, how we know the age of the earth. And many other videos.

Further, it explains the formation, evolution, and processes of the solid earth, through 14 videos such as; how the moon form, the importance of the moon to life on earth. You will even learn what came before plate tectonics and how it was discovered.

Moreover, this is one of the free online geology courses that will teach you how earthquakes happen, how magma forms, and the supercontinent cycle. The third week which also has 14 videos will teach you water in Earth’s climate system, where you will be learning deeper about the oceans, atmosphere, and cryosphere.

The fourth week starts to summarize it with; life, and its effect on the earth’s climate system. Which has 17 videos to lecture you through.

Finally, the fifth week concludes with; build your own earth and conclusion, with 5 videos. This course has 55 videos that can enable you to learn all you need regarding this topic.

There are also so many course materials that can be read, and you’ll be able to take assessments whenever you conclude any of the modules.

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10. Climate Change: Carbon Capture and Storage

We are seeing the effect of climate change on humans, other forms of life, and our environment, such as; hotter temperatures, stronger storms, forests fire, acidic oceans, to name a few.

Lots of billions have gone in to mitigate climate change. And, this is one of the free online geology courses that will teach you technologies that can create a better solution to this climate change.

It will teach you how technology can help reduce carbon dioxide, which is one of the major causes of climate change. Further, you’ll learn how we can balance the use of carbon in the atmosphere through carbon sequestration.

You’ll see how carbon is permanently stored underground which will prevent them from entering the atmosphere. This is one of the free online geology courses provided by the University of Edinburgh.

And, your instructors already have decades of experience in this field, they will help you see more reasons to broaden your knowledge in ways to reduce climate change. It’s a 5-week course and is free to enroll in it and can be taken at your own pace.

Apply Now!

Free Online Geology Courses – FAQs

Can I obtain a certificate after taking a free geology course online?

Yes, you can obtain a certificate, but you’ll need to pay a little fee to obtain it.

Are certificates from online geology courses relevant?

It depends. If you intend to be hired to a geology profession or be promoted from work, then you must get a certificate. But, if you just want to grab the knowledge and move on with your life (that’s fine), you can ignore the certificate.

Does MIT have free online geology courses?

Yes, MIT has an introduction to free online geology courses, and it is on our first list.

Are there online geology courses for credit?

Yes, most of the online geology courses we listed here such as;

  • Planet Earth…and You!
  • GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis Specialization
  • Monitoring Volcanoes and Magma Movements
  • One Planet, One Ocean
  • Advanced Diploma in Structural Geology

All offer academic credit.

How much do geologists make?

According to indeed.com, an average geologist in the United States earns $73,524 per year.