Major and Minor Requirements

Overview

Declaring the Major in Geological Sciences

  • Enroll in Introductory Geology 01:460:101 (offered Fall Semester only)
  • Contact the Undergraduate Program Director for an appointment by clicking This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Fill out an online major declaration form at myMajor by clicking here

Requirements of the Major in Geological Sciences

  • Acceptance into the Major in Geological Sciences requires a grade of C or higher in Introductory Geology 01:460:101, or its equivalent, or by special permission of the Undergraduate Program Director (UGPD).
  • Maintaining placement within the Major requires a grade of C or higher in all required core courses in Geological Sciences (01:460).
  • Course schedules for each semester must be approved by the UGPD prior to registration
  • In addition to the core courses listed below, students are encouraged to take additional courses in geology, mathematics, chemistry, computer science, statistics, physical and biological sciences. Students planning professional careers in geology-including graduate study-should take at least two additional courses in mathematics beyond the requirements listed below and would benefit from a minor in mathematics, physics, chemistry, or biology. The Undergraduate Program Director will recommend elective courses that best suit the student's career options.

Foundation Courses

  • 01:160:161-162 General Chemistry (4,4)
  • 01:640:CALC1 (4) and 01:640:CALC2 (4)01:750:203-204 General Physics (3,3)
  • 01:960:379 Basic Probability Theory (3) or 01:960:401. Basic Statistics for Research (3) can serve as alternates for CALC2

Geology Core Courses
(NOTE: course numbers have changed in the Spring of 2014. These changes are reflected in the Degree navigator, but are not yet reflected in the course catalogs)

  • 01:460:101 Introductory Geology (4)
  • 01:460:301 Mineralogy (4)
  • 01:460:302 Petrology (4)
  • 01:460:303 Paleontology (4)
  • 01:460:304 Introduction to Geochemistry (4)
  • 01:460:306 Introduction to Geophysics (4)
  • 01:460:340 Sedimentology (4)
  • 01:460:341 Stratigraphy (4)
  • 01:460:407 Structural Geology and Geologic Maps (4)
  • 01:460:410 Field Geology (3) or equivalent (see Field Requirement below)
  • 01:460:480 Major Events in Earth History (3)
  • (alt 01:460:476 History of the Earth System (3)

NOTE ABOUT PREREQUISITES:
Introductory Geology is a prerequisite for all upper-level geology courses. Completion of this course with a grade of C or better is required prior to the declaration of the major.
Chemistry is a prerequisite for Mineralogy, which is a prerequisite for Petrology and Sedimentology.
Physics is a prerequisite for Geophysics.
Sedimentology is a prerequisite for Stratigraphy.
Stratigraphy and Calculus are prerequisites for Structural Geology and Geologic Maps.

NOTE ABOUT SCHEDULING:
Some of the core courses are "sequential", and must be taken in the prescribed order. As most advanced courses are offered only once a year, it is essential for Majors to discuss scheduling and course selection with the Undergraduate Director as early as possible.

Idealized Course Schedule

  • Freshman Year:  Basic Sciences, Introductory Geology
  • Sophomore Year: Basic Sciences, Mineralogy (Fall), Paleontology (Fall), Petrology (Spring), Intro to Geophysics (Spring)
  • Junior Year: Intro to Geochemistry (Fall), Sedimentology (Fall), Stratigraphy (Spring), Structural Geology and Maps (Spring).
  • Junior - Senior summer - FIELD CAMP
  • Senior Year: Major Events in Earth History; Electives in Geological Sciences; Independent study.

Field Requirement
All geology majors must take a minimum of 3 credits in field geology. Most students satisfy this requirement by taking an external field camp. Many geology departments offer external field camps, ask This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for guidance. An ideal time to do the field training is during the summer between the Junior and Senior years.

Departmental Honors Program
Students may be admitted to candidacy for honors in geology if they make a written application to the department chairperson before May 1 of their junior year. To qualify, a student must have a minimum overall cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 and a minimum grade-point average in major courses of 3.4. In addition, the student must have completed all geology core courses except 01:460:410 and 01:460:476/480.

Honors students must successfully complete at least two additional 3-credit courses in geology (at the 400 level) and/or in the allied sciences as well as 01:460:495,496 Honors in Geology.
In consultation with a faculty adviser, students choose an honors research project which they document in a paper or a formal presentation to the department.

Independent Study
During Junior and Senior years, students are ancouraged to undertake independent study projects supervised by the faculty of the Earth and Planetary Sciences department.
Project titles from recent years

Minor Requirements
The minor in Geological Sciences requires completion of 01:460:101 Introductory Geology(4) (or its equivalent), 01:460:210 Fundamentals of Mineralogy and Petrology(4), 01:460:211 Sedimentary Geology(4), plus three additional courses in Geological Sciences (01:460) of 3 credits or more.

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