Paleontology is a joint discipline, requiring detailed knowledge and training in both biology and geology. Formal undergraduate paleontology programs generally do not exist in American colleges and universities. Instead, paleontology is offered as a subfield in a geology, earth science or biology major. At the University of California, Berkeley interested undergraduate students may take paleontology courses as part of a major in the departments of Integrative Biology or Earth and Planetary Science.
The Museum of Paleontology supports these courses and programs with all of its resources—collections, laboratories, staff, research programs, public lectures, and employment opportunities for students. Interested students should consult the following websites for departmental information on courses and undergraduate admissions.
If you are interested in finding out more about careers in paleontology and how to prepare for them, read “I Want To Be a Paleontologist!“, an on-line publication by the Paleontological Research Institute.
The University of California, Berkeley offers a full graduate program in paleobiology, centered on a department and the UC Museum of Paleontology. The Museum provides special facilities, collections and expertise to graduate students but does not grant degrees. Graduate degrees with emphasis in paleontology may be earned in the Departments of Integrative Biology (IB), Earth and Planetary Science (EPS) [no Masters degree offered], and Geography (G). Relevant courses to build a paleontology curriculum are offered through these departments, and all paleontology faculty in these departments are also Curators in the Museum.
Students of paleobiology benefit from having access to the facilities, expertise, and collections of the Museum. Facilities include DNA extraction, molecular sequencing, macro- and microfossil prep labs, paleohistology and wet labs; and an environmental scanning electron microscope. The Museum has one of the largest collections of fossil protists, invertebrates, plants, and vertebrates in the nation, as well as large collections of modern vertebrate skeletal elements and invertebrates.
Prospective students should correspond with a faculty member in their area of interest before applying to any graduate department. Applications should be directed to the department most closely associated with their interests or the faculty member with whom they choose to work. To find out more about the paleobiology program and departmental requirements or to request an application, refer to the departmental websites: