Requirements for the Major and Minor in Geology

Requirements for the Major

The major in Geology leads to the Bach­elor of Science degree. All courses offered for the major must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher.

Completion of the major requires 65 to 68 credits.

A. Required departmental courses

GEO 103 The Earth Through Time
GEO 113 Historical Geology Laboratory
GEO 122 Physical Geology or GEO 102 The Earth and GEO 112 Physical Geology Laboratory
GEO 306 Mineralogy
GEO 309 Structural Geology
GEO 403 Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
GEO 407 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

B. Required courses in the related sciences

MAT 131, MAT 132 Calculus I, II (See Note 1 below)
CHE 131, CHE 132 General Chemistry or CHE 141, CHE 142 Honors Chemistry
PHY 131/PHY 133, PHY 132/PHY 134 Classical Physics I, II and labs or PHY 141, PHY 142 Honors Physics

C. Related science electives

A set of upper-division science courses, totaling 20 credits, that has been approved by the department.

D. Upper-Division Writing Requirement

All students majoring in Geology must submit two papers (term papers, laboratory reports, or independent research papers) to the director of under­graduate studies for Department evaluation by the end of the junior year. If this evaluation is satisfactory, the student will have fulfilled the upper-division writing requirement. If it is not, the student must fulfill the requirement before graduation.


1. The following alternate beginning calculus sequences may be substituted for MAT 131, MAT 132 in major requirements or prerequisites: MAT 125, MAT 126, MAT 127 or MAT 141, MAT 142 or MAT 171. Equivalency for MAT courses achieved by earning the appropriate score on a University mathematics placement examination will be ac­cepted as fulfillment of the requirement without the necessity of substituting other credits. For detailed information about the various calculus sequences, see "Beginning Mathematics Courses" under the entry for the Department of Mathematics and the individual course descriptions.

Suggested Clusters of Science Electives:

Students with interest in Geology:

GEO 310 Introduction to Geophysics
GEO 315 Groundwater Hydrology
GEO 320 Glacial Geology
GEO 405 Field Camp
GEO 487 Senior Research in Geology

Students with interest in Environmental Geoscience:

GEO 305 Field Geology
GEO 315 Groundwater Hydrology
GEO 316 Geochemistry of Surficial Processes
GEO 420 Environmental Analysis and Remote Sensing/GIS
MAR 340 Environmental Problems

Students with interest in Geological Oceanography:

GEO 310 Introduction to Geophysics
GEO 316 Geochemistry of Surficial Processes
GEO 318 Engineering Geology and Coastal Processes
GEO 353 Marine Ecology
MAR 304 Waves, Tides, and Beaches

Honors Program in Geology

Students in the Geology major who have maintained a grade point average of 3.50 in natural sciences and mathematics through the junior year may become candidates for Departmental honors in Geology by applying to the Department.

In addition to the academic program, the student must complete an honors thesis, which is evaluated by a committee composed of the student's advisor and two other science faculty members including one from outside of the Department. If the honors program is completed with distinction and the student has maintained a minimum 3.50 grade point average in all coursework in natural sciences and mathematics, honors are conferred.

Requirements for the Minor

For students majoring in other areas who are interested in obtaining a fundamental understanding of the earth sciences, a minor concentration in Geology is available. The Geology minor acquaints students with earth materials, the origin and evolution of life on earth, and physical processes that have shaped the earth through time.

All courses offered for the minor must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. Completion of the minor requires 20 credits.

GEO 103 and GEO 113
GEO 122 Physical Geology or GEO 102 The Earth and GEO 112 Physical Geology Laboratory

Twelve additional credits from among GEO courses numbered 300 or higher. Courses must be approved by a departmental advisor.