Although the University of the West Indies has campuses in Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica, Geography and Geology are only offered as degree-level subjects at Mona in Jamaica. Undergraduate students are attracted from across the English speaking Caribbean, although the largest number of students typically come from Jamaica.
History of the Department
The University established a Geology Department in July 1961 in an old wooden hut, formerly belonging to the Chemical Technology Department, with an intake of 26 students. Of the two main rooms in the building, one housed an alcohol still, powered by a very ancient, oil burning boiler, whilst the other provided accommodation for our students. As time went on, the alcohol gave way to a space for rock collections and private study. Although this change was viewed with rather mixed feelings by staff and students alike, it gave us a chance to spread ourselves, and the staff were able to build their own staff rooms, using old laboratory cupboards piled one on top of another, for walls. During the rainy seasons our students grouped themselves, often under raincoats, in the drier parts of the laboratory, while water flowed freely through the remainder of the room. The first Geology class graduated in 1964.
Major changes happened in 1965. The Geology Department moved to its present quarters, the De la Beche Building, and geography was established, after teachers, planners and other professionals in the West Indies lobbied for the subject to be introduced into the University's curriculum. Geography was initially a sub-department of the Geology Department, but in 1971, became a separate Department. Following a restructuring of Departments in the Faculty of Science and Technology in August, 1996, the Geography and Geology Departments were merged to form the present Department of Geography and Geology.