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B.S. in Geoscience

Program Purpose

The undergraduate program in Geoscience educates students to apply the principles of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology to understand the composition, structure, and history of the Earth, and the processes that govern them. Earth science coursework encompasses theoretical, field, and laboratory components with the goal of a fundamental understanding of how the Earth works and how it has evolved through time. Such knowledge is vital to addressing societal needs and problems such as locating and characterizing mineral, energy, and groundwater resources, assessing seismic and other geologic hazards, and evaluating and remediating environmental contamination. An undergraduate degree in Geoscience thus provides both pre-professional training for future scientists and prepares decision makers and other citizens to make informed choices about pressing societal issues. Students may choose among three emphasis areas: (1) Geology, which focuses on fundamentals of geology including the composition and formation of geologic materials, the processes that operate inside the Earth and on its surface, the Earth’s history as recorded by rocks and their spatial arrangement, and the history of life as recorded by fossils; (2) Environmental Earth Science, which focuses on an integrated view of the geosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere and interactions between them; and (3) Geophysics, which focuses on the use of physical methods to image the internal structure of the Earth and account for processes operating in the Earth. Each emphasis area provides a broad foundation in fundamental science that prepares a student for post-graduate work in the earth sciences or in other professional specialties in which earth science knowledge is useful (e.g., environmental law, earth resource management).

Learning Outcomes

  • Program graduates will have demonstrated a mastery of the geosciences that allow them to succeed as graduate students in geology, environmental earth science, geophysics, or in related fields, as students in professional schools, or as entry-level employees in industry or government.
  • Program graduates will have an understanding of the nature and origin of the materials that make up the Earth.
  • Program graduates will understand the dynamic processes that operate within the Earth from its deep interior to the surface.
  • Program graduates will have an understanding of geologic time and how it is measured.
  • Program graduates will have an understanding of the geologic evolution of the Earth and the development and evolution of life on Earth.
  • Program graduates will have the ability to apply basic principles of mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics to geologic issues.
  • Program graduates will demonstrate skills in reading comprehension of the scientific literature, and in oral and written communication of scientific results.
  • Program graduates will demonstrate proficiency in geologic field skills and in solving integrative, field-based problems in Earth science.
  • Students nearing graduation will be able to make informed choices as to post-graduate opportunities for education or employment.
  • Program graduates will be prepared and qualified to pass the professional geologist licensure examination.
  • Students will understand the place of the Earth sciences in the larger picture of the intellectual landscape of inquiry, including connections between science and, history, philosophy, ethics and the formulation of public policy.
  • Ability to engage in lifelong learning and understanding of the need to do so.


NEW Major Requirement Sheets (Beginning 2018 Catalog Year):

Major Requirement Sheets (Up to 2017 Catalog Year):

Last Updated: 1/10/20