Top Paleontology Colleges

Paleontologists study artifacts of prehistoric humans and other life.

Paleontologists study prehistoric human culture and its evolution. The field is closely related to geology and other geophysical sciences. The top paleontology programs in the nation are at universities with established reputations in the field of earth sciences.

Yale University

Yale University is home to the nation’s top paleontology program, according to the 2010 “U.S. News & World Report” rankings. Paleontology at Yale is taught in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. Yale offers bachelor’s degrees in paleontology and geobiology. At the graduate level, Yale offers a doctorate in paleontology with concentrations in morphology (forms of animals and plants), taphonomy (fossilization), trace fossils, paleoclimatology (primitive climates), stratigraphy (stratified rocks), paleoecology (primitive ecology), phylogeny (evolution), biogeochemistry and macroevolution (new families of organisms).

Yale University

Department of Geology & Geophysics

P.O. Box 208109

New Haven, CT 06520


University of Chicago

The Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago is the second-highest-rated department for paleontology, according to “U.S. News & World Report.” The University of Chicago offers an interdisciplinary approach to the field of geophysical sciences. The doctoral program is designed to take four to seven years to complete. Areas of concentration within the program include paleoclimatology, paleoceanography and paleobiological science. Specific research fields include seismology, glaciology, climate and global change, solid earth and planetary sciences, atmospheric and environmental chemistry, paleontology and evolution. Because of the interdisciplinary emphasis of the department, students can study many of these related fields in addition to their paleontological research.

READ  How Gold Is Mined & Refined

University of Chicago

Department of the Geophysical Sciences

5734 S. Ellis Ave.

Chicago, IL 60637


University of California–Berkeley

The third-highest-rated paleontology program in the nation is at the University of California–Berkeley, which is offered through the Department of Earth and Planetary Science. Unlike the programs at Yale and the University of Chicago, Berkeley offers master of arts and master of science degrees along with the doctorate. Like the University of Chicago, Berkeley is known for its interdisciplinary research. Related areas of study include seismology, paleoclimatology, glaciology and igneous petrology (structure and origin of rocks). The university’s museum of paleontology houses many finds by Berkeley researchers.

University of California–Berkeley

Department of Earth and Planetary Science

307 McCone Hall

Berkeley, CA 94720