Undergraduate Bulletin

Fall 2016

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 63 to 66 credits.

A. Required departmental courses

  • GEO 103 The Earth Through Time
  • GEO 113 Historical Geology Laboratory
  • GEO 102 The Earth and GEO 112 Physical Geology Laboratory
  • GEO 306/GEO 366 Mineralogy and Mineralogy Laboratory
  • GEO 309/GEO 369 Structural Geology and Structural Geology Laboratory
  • GEO 403/463 Sedimentation and Stratigraphy and Sedimentation and Stratigraphy Laboratory
  • GEO 407/467 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology and Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

B. Required courses in the related sciences

C. Related science electives

A set of upper-division science courses, totaling 19 credits, that has been approved by the department.

D. Upper-Division Writing Requirement

All students majoring in Geology must register for the 0-credit GEO 459 and 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.

Students should consult with the department advisor to ensure that their plan for completing the Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent with  university graduation requirements for General Education.  Students completing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) must complete a course that satisfies the "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) learning objective to graduate.  The Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent in most cases with the SBC learning outcomes for WRTD.


1. The following alternate beginning calculus sequences may be substituted for AMS 151AMS 161 or MAT 131, MAT 132 in major requirements or prerequisites: MAT 125, MAT 126MAT 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:

Students with interest in Environmental Geoscience:

  • GEO 305 Field Geology
  • GEO 315 Groundwater Hydrology
  • GEO 316 Geochemistry of Surficial Processes
  • GEO 347 Remote Sensing
  • GEO 420 Environmental Analysis and Remote Sensing/GIS or GSS 313/314 GIS Design and Application I and GIS Laboratory
  • 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 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.