Earth Science: Paleobiology, 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 Paleobiology concentration learn how the biological and physical conditions in deep time shaped the current conditions on Earth. Paleobiologists use image analysis and evolutionary theory to deduce the patterns of change in the biosphere.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 36. 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 Electives17.5
Major Requirements
Required Courses
BIOL 101Introduction to Biology A1.5
BIOL 102Introduction to Biology B1.5
BIOL 230Evolutionary Biology1
GEOL 100Introduction to Geology1
or GEOL 125 Earth and Life Through Time
GEOL 111Geology Laboratory1
GEOL 205Paleontology1
GEOL 206Stratigraphy1
Upper Level Courses
Select 1 Geology course unit at or above the 400 level1
Select 1 Biology course unit at or above the 200 level1
Required Courses in Related Disciplines
CHEM 101General Chemistry I1
CHEM 053General Chemistry Laboratory I.5
CHEM 102General Chemistry II1
CHEM 054General Chemistry Laboratory II.5
MATH 104Calculus, Part I1
Select one of the following:1.5
Principles of Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
Honors Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
Select 1 course unit of the following:1
Calculus, Part II with Probability and Matrices
Calculus, Part II
Statistics for Biologists
Introductory Statistics
Introductory Statistics
Individual Research
GEOL 399Environmental Studies Research Seminar for Juniors1
GEOL 498Senior Thesis (2 semesters (0.5 CU each))1
Total Course Units36


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


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.