A man and two women carefully examine a fossil in the ground at a dig.


Study fossils across geological time, conduct hands-on fieldwork in rich formations across the Rocky Mountains and obtain the skills necessary to work in natural history museums, serve as energy resource specialists and other projects that require geologic expertise.

Paleontology – B.S. in Earth Sciences, Paleontology Emphasis

Students in the Paleontology program at Montana State focus on studying fossils within their geologic context, both inside the classroom and at MSU’s summer field courses located across the Mountain West. Designed for students with a strong interest in geology and biology, students gain a solid understanding of geology in addition to studying invertebrate and vertebrate fossils. This program structure allows students the versatility for careers not only within paleontology but also in jobs that require geological knowledge, such as those within the petroleum industry and more.

The Earth Science major at Montana State offers four other Options Within the Major: Geography, Geology, Geographic Information Science (GIS)/Planning and Snow Science.




"Engaging in research so early in my career has been amazing."

Tom LaBarge '20, Paleontology



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Hands-On Experience
Montana’s vibrant geology provides the opportunity for incredible hands-on fieldwork for paleontology students.

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University of the Yellowstone™
Montana State students make Montana, including nearby Yellowstone National Park, their classroom, laboratory and playground.

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Museum of the Rockies
MSU is home to the Museum of the Rockies, which has one of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils in the world. 




Career Resources

Within their first year of graduation, more than 96% of Montana State graduates are employed, continuing their education or not seeking employment, and career guidance website Zippia consistently ranks MSU as the #1 school in the state where alumni are most likely to land jobs.

Career Coaching & Professional Skills Studio

Professional career coaches help students with their career exploration, employer networking opportunities and job or internship searches. They also critique resumes and help students practice job interviews. Additionally, the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success offers free workshops for students to develop the professional communication and collaboration skills that are highly sought after by employers.


Paleontology students at Montana State University go into careers such as:

  • Fossil Preparation
  • Museum Curation
  • Exhibit Design
  • Energy Resource Consulting

To explore more career possibilities, the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success has a variety of tools available,including self-assessment and working with career coaches.