The teaching of Geology was initiated in the Aligarh Muslim University at the undergraduate level in 1946. The post-graduate teaching started in 1951 during the First Five Year Plan. The foundation stone of the current building of the department was laid down by Dr. D. N. Wadia, the then Geological Adviser to the Government of India, on the 5th day of February, 1957. The Department of Geology acquired its own building in 1961. Professor P. N. Ganju, the pioneer of coal Petrology in India was the first Head of the Department who established the first Coal petrology lab in India in the department. He was followed by some of the doyens of the Indian geology, viz., Prof. F. Ahmed; Prof. S.H. Rasul; Prof. S.M. Casshyap, and Prof. S .N. Bhalla, who led the department to the pinnacle of fame and today it is one of the leading geology departments of the country with excellent teaching and learning environment, well-equipped contemporary laboratories, a well-organized geological museum having a large collection of rare geological specimens, a well-stocked library, round-the-clock broad-band internet facilities, a Wi-Fi enabled campus, and excellent placement records of the students.
Students of the department are continuously getting selected in various competitive examinations including the Geologist Examination conducted by the U.P.S.C, occasionally topping the list of selected candidates and achieving higher ranks. They are discharging praiseworthy services in the premier geological organizations and institutions of the country and outside the country including Geological Survey of India, Central Groundwater Board, Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd, Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited, Coal India Limited, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, Reliance Energy, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, Hindustan Copper Limited, Hindustan Zinc Limited, Bharat Aluminum Company, Ground Water Boards and Directorates of Geology and Mining of different States, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, National Institute of Oceanography, National Geophysical Research Institute, Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC), National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), as faculty members in many universities including Presidency University, Assam University, University of Jammu, University of Kashmir, Vikram University, and Ravi Shanker University, Arabian American Oil Company, Kuwait Oil Company; Shlumberger, world's largest multinational oilfield services company; Geoservices, France; Total, a French multinational oil company; and Haliburton, U.S.A.
The department has been active in scientific deliberations and interactions by hosting a number of national and international conferences and lectures by eminent national and international geo-scientists, notable among them are International Gondwana Symposium, Prof. E.S. Hills Lecture Series, and Indo-Soviet Symposium on Rifted Basins and Aulacogens.
Faculty members of the department have published their research work in reputed international journals with high impact factor like Nature, Gondwana Research, Precambrian Research, Mineralium Deposita, Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, Micropaleontology, 3 Palaeo, Journal of Foraminiferal Research, Journal of Paleontology, Chemical Geology, Tectonophysics, Lethia, Cretaceous Research, International Geology Review, and Journal of Asian Earth Sciences. Research specializations of the department include Economic Geology, Environmental Geology, Geochemistry, Hydrogeology, Igneous Petrology, Micropalaeontology, Remote Sensing and GIS Applications, Sedimentology, and Structural Geology.
Teachers of the department have been selected as members of National working Group of different International Geological Correlation Programs (IGCP). Alumni of the department have received various awards including Shanti Swarup Bhatnager Award, National Mineral Award, and M.S. Krishnan Gold Medal and honoured with prestigious fellowships including FASc, FNA, FNASc, J.C. Bose Fellowship and occupy key positions in the geological, scientific and academic organizations of the country including Director General, Geological Survey of India; Director, Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd; Director, Federation of Indian Mineral Industry; General Manager, Coal India Limited; General Manager, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation; Director, National Geophysical Research Institute; Director, National Institute of Oceanography; Advisor, DST, Government of India; Vice-Chancellors and heads of the geology departments of central and state universities and are on the editorial boards of various international journals.
The Department offers courses leading to B.Sc. (Hons.), M.Sc. (Applied Geology), P.G. Diploma in Hydrogeology, and Ph. D. degrees and provides active support to P.G. Dip. in Gem Testing and Jewelry Designing course run by the Centre for Professional Courses, Aligarh Muslim University. The department has produced 04 D. Sc. and 161 Ph.D. degrees so far.
The Department of Geology has the distinction of providing leadership in the discipline of Sedimentology in India and in recognition to this the Indian Association of Sedimentologists has established its Headquarters in the department. The U.G.C. has also recognized the contribution of the department in Sedimentology and Environmental Geology and in recognition to this D.S.A. in Sedimentology and Environmental Geology was sanctioned in 1992. The successful completion of D.S.A. Phase-I led to its extension as D.S.A. Phase-II and subsequently the department was also selected for COSIST assistance for the development of its infrastructure. The University Grants Commissions has sanctioned a DRS-I (SAP) to the Department of Geology for 2010-2015 for the upliftment of teaching and research in the thrust areas of Petrology/Geochemistry and Environmental Geology. After the successful completion of DRS-I (SAP), the UGC has granted DRS-II for five years (2016-2021) in the thrust areas of Geochemistry, Environmental Geology and Sedimentary Geology.