Geology (B.S.)

Geology is the scientific study of planet Earth and involves the observation and interpretation of processes that form and change our world. Some of these processes, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, proceed rapidly, often with catastrophic consequences. Others, such as erosion or mountain building can progress so slowly that their results are scarcely noticeable over a human lifetime. Each of these processes, however, can exert a profound influence on human activities and can, in turn, be influenced intentionally or unintentionally by human activities.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for this program are satisfied by the general requirements for undergraduate admission to the University.


Candidates must complete 120 credits in course work including satisfaction of the University General Education Requirements and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Group Requirements, as well as the departmental major  requirements cited below. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the University and the College governing undergraduate scholarship and degrees. 

Major Requirements 

Students must complete at least thirty-four credits in geology exclusive of the introductory courses (1000-level) and must include the following:

Twenty of the thirty-four credits from advanced courses (numbered 3000 and above)
GEL 2130Mineralogy4
GEL 3160Petrology4
GEL 3300Structural Geology4
GEL 3400Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy4
GEL 5993Writing Intensive Course in Geology0
Credits in field mapping and field techniques, to be fulfilled by completed six credits in a summer field course 16

Cognate Requirements

MAT 1800
MAT 2010
Elementary Functions
and Calculus I (or equivalent)
Select one of the following sequences or equivalent:8
Physics for the Life Sciences I
and Physics for the Life Sciences Laboratory
Physics for the Life Sciences II
and Physics for the Life Sciences Laboratory
University Physics for Scientists I
and University Physics Laboratory
University Physics for Scientists II
and University Physics Laboratory II
CHM 1220
CHM 1230
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory (or equivalent)
BIO 1500Basic Life Diversity4
A semester of biology (BIO 1500 or equivalent) is strongly recommended4
Total Credits29

Although there are no required cognate courses beyond those listed above, geology majors should consult their advisor regarding cognate courses which might be of value to their particular program. Depending on interest and future goals, additional courses in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, as well as courses in biology, computer science, civil engineering, and urban studies might be of particular value.

Geology Honors

The Honors Program in Geology is open to students of superior academic ability who are majoring in geology. To be recommended for an honors degree from this department, a student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.3. He/she must accumulate at least twelve credits in honors-designated courses including: two Geology Honors or Honors Option courses (min. 6 credits), GEL 4998: Honors Thesis (3 credits), and one 4200-level Honors Seminar (3 credits).