Best Colleges for Students Interested in Dinosaurs (Paleontology)

Following a career studying dinosaurs isn’t exactly easy, but it can be extremely rewarding if it is your passion. An undergraduate degree is only scratching the surface but your path to becoming a paleontologist definitely starts there. It’s important to note that paleontology isn’t simply about dinosaurs; it includes everything in the history of the earth. Therefore, a number of undergraduate degrees can work towards pursuing your dream including geology, biology, anthropology, ecology, and others.

However, to become a paleontologist, you have to go to graduate school. Here are some of the best colleges and graduate schools if you’re interested in dinosaurs:

University of Chicago

Theropod skull.

Flickr user James St. John

If you want to focus on vertebrate paleontology, the University of Chicago offers a graduate program. The school has state of the art technology and is constantly making new discoveries with its research. Students can also make their own contributions to the work of the paleontology department.

Each faculty member in the department has a focus, including Organismal Biology and Anatomy and Geophysical Sciences. Since the Master’s degree from the University of Chicago doesn’t have a set of core courses, your education in this subject depends entirely on your interests and assistance from whichever faculty member matches your goals. Students select classes related to their careers, attend weekly seminars, and complete research projects.

University of California—Berkeley

If you study dinosaurs, you probably already know that Berkeley was home to the research team who uncovered much of the evidence that the animals were driven to extinction by a comet. This university offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in this field (and related) and has a dinosaur museum on campus.

Students pursuing a degree in geo-sciences should have core classes in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and other sciences, but the structure of the program also helps to ensure you are using creative and independent paths for research. As with Chicago, students at Berkeley tailor their exact Master’s program to their interests and career goals and must attend seminars, complete research projects, and turn in a master’s thesis.

University of Michigan—Ann Arbor

Allosaurus skull from the Exhibit Museum at University of Michigan.

Flickr user drtel

The University of Michigan also has the opportunity to take paleontology courses in undergraduate school, though only as a minor to introduce students to the study. The graduate program uses state of the art technology and has a mission to help improve life and the environment through its work.

Students who decide to enter this program must acquire 22 credits and turn in a thesis and research. You will also be invited to attend field trips in the country and out to get hands-on learning experiences.

These are only three of some of the best schools when it comes to paleontology. If you’re serious about learning about dinosaurs, it’s best to plan ahead. You may end up wanting to get your doctorate in the field! Choose your undergraduate degree carefully and consider what program sounds best for you for a graduate degree. Which college program would benefit you most?

Interested in any of these fantastic schools? Check out College Raptor’s free match tool to discover if they’re a good fit for you!

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