Earth Science: Geology, BA

The Earth Science major provides graduates with a broad understanding of the physical and chemical processes that operate in and on the planet and how direct and indirect methods are used to examine and understand the structure, composition, and dynamics of the Earth. Graduates appreciate how humans and ecosystems interact with the dynamic Earth, and they have an in-depth knowledge of the atmosphere and climate change, the rock cycle, natural hazards, and the hydrologic and biogeochemical cycles. Additionally, they understand how to measure and use the structure, sequence, and properties of rocks, sediments, and fossils to reconstruct events in Earth's history and identify potential natural hazards or earth resources.

Students in the Geology concentration learn the various processes at work within the planet and on its surface. Students gain hands-on experience with fossils, rocks, minerals, maps, aerial photographs, and satellite images in the laboratory and on field trips.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 35. Double majors may entail more course units.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Required Courses
GEOL 100Introduction to Geology1
GEOL 111Geology Laboratory1
GEOL 201Mineralogy1
GEOL 205Paleontology1
GEOL 206Stratigraphy1
GEOL 208Structural Geology1
GEOL 317Petrology and Petrography1
MATH 104Calculus, Part I1
PHYS 101General Physics: Mechanics, Heat and Sound1.5
CHEM 101
CHEM 053
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry Laboratory I
Related Disciplines
Select 2 course units with one course from each of two disciplines2
Calculus, Part II
Calculus, Part II with Probability and Matrices
Introductory Statistics
Introduction to Geophysics
Advanced Courses
Select 2 course units of 400 or 500 level Advanced courses 22
Total Course Units35


Applicants must have a 3.25 GPA in the major and complete a Senior Thesis with a B+ or above.

Select 2 course units of courses from the approved list on EESC website2
Environmental Studies Research Seminar for Juniors
Senior Thesis ((2 semesters 0.5 CU each))


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2021 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.