Schoch received a BA in Anthropology and a BS in Geology from George Washington University. He was awarded MS and PhD degrees in Geology and Geophysics from Yale University (PhD, 1983). Schoch's PhD dissertation, Systematics, Functional Morphology and Macroevolution of the Extinct Mammalian Order Taeniodonta was published in 1986 by the Peabody Museum of Natural History
Schoch has taught at Boston University since 1984. He is an associate professor of Natural Sciences at the College of General Studies, a two-year core curriculum for bachelor's degree candidates. He teaches undergraduate science courses, including biology, geology, environmental science, geography, and science and public policy, and has received his college's Peyton Richter Award for interdisciplinary teaching. He is a co-author of the college textbook Environmental Science: Systems and Solutions, now in its fifth edition.
In 1993, Schoch lent his name to a genus of extinct mammals, Schochia, of which Schochia sullivani is the genoholotype.
Schoch is best known for his argument that the Great Sphinx of Giza is much older than conventionally thought and that possibly some kind of catastrophe was responsible for wiping out evidence of a significantly older civilization. In 1991, Schoch redated the famous monument to 10,000–5,000 BC, based on his argument that its erosion was due mainly to the effects of water, rather than wind and sand, and also based on findings from seismic studies around the base of the Sphinx and elsewhere on the plateau.
These arguments formed the basis of the 1993 documentary Mystery of the Sphinx, which was aired by NBC and presented by Charlton Heston. Schoch stars in the film alongside author John Anthony West.
Schoch's other theories include the belief that possibly all pyramids — in Egypt, Mesoamerica and elsewhere — represent, with other cultural commonalities, a much older global culture, either through common inheritance or ancient cultural contact around the world. In 2006, he investigated the so-called Bosnian pyramid excavations, at the invitation of the locals, concluding that the site held "absolutely no evidence of pyramids per se or of a great ancient civilization in the Visoko region."
He is also known for his research on the Yonaguni underwater monuments, where he has dived on several occasions, beginning in 1997; his analysis of the formations is that it is a natural site modified by man to suit their needs. Robert M. Schoch: "We should also consider the possibility that the Yonaguni Monument is fundamentally a natural structure that was utilized, enhanced, and modified by humans in ancient times."
Schoch has contributed an essay to Lost Secrets of the Gods, a book which argues for the existence of ancient astronauts. He has appeared on Coast to Coast AM.
Another of his interests is the study of parapsychology. In opposition to the scientific community, Schoch has stated that he believes psychokinesis and telepathy to be real.
Mark Lehner an archaeologist and expert on the Sphinx has criticized Schoch's claims, stating "You don't overthrow Egyptian history based on one phenomenon like a weathering profile... that is how pseudoscience is done, not real science."
Historian Ronald H. Fritze has described Schoch as a "pseudohistorical and pseudoscientific writer".
Schoch has drawn criticism for his unorthodox ideas about Göbekli Tepe, skeptical author Jason Colavito suggested he "abandons all reality in favor of a bizarre fantasy."Forgotten Civilization, The Role of Solar Outbursts in our Past and Future, 2012. ISBN 978-1-59477-497-3.
The Parapsychology Revolution: A Concise Anthology of Paranormal and Psychical Research, 2008. ISBN 1-58542-616-4.
Environmental Science, with Andrew H. Lapinski, Anne Tweed, 2007. ISBN 0-13-069900-4.
Environmental Science: Systems and Solutions, with Michael L. McKinney, Logan Yonavjak, 2007. ISBN 0-7637-4262-7.
Pyramid Quest: Secrets of the Great Pyramid and the Dawn of Civilization, 2005. ISBN 1-58542-405-6.
Environmental Science: Systems and Solutions, with Michael McKinney, 2003. ISBN 0-7637-0918-2.
Voyages of the Pyramid Builders: The True Origins of the Pyramids from Lost Egypt to Ancient America, 2003. ISBN 1-58542-320-3.
Horns, Tusks, and Flippers: The Evolution of Hoofed Mammals, with Donald R. Prothero, 2003. ISBN 0-8018-7135-2.
Voices of the Rocks: A Scientist Looks at Catastrophes and Ancient Civilizations, 1999. ISBN 0-609-60369-8.
Case Studies in Environmental Science, 1996. ISBN 0-314-20397-4.
Stratigraphy: Principles and Methods, 1989. ISBN 0-442-28021-1.
Phylogeny Reconstruction in Paleontology, 1986. ISBN 0-442-27967-1.