2022-2023 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 21, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Earth Sciences, BA

Gregory D. Hoke, Department Chair
204 Heroy Geology Laboratory


Suzanne Baldwin, Tripti Bhattacharya, Melissa Chipman, Daniel Curewitz, Paul Fitzgerald, Gregory Hoke, Linda Ivany, Christopher Junium, Jeffrey Karson, Christa Kelleher, Laura Lautz, Zunli Lu, Robert Moucha, Cathryn Newton, Scott Samson, Christopher Scholz, Jay Thomas, Samuel Tuttle, Tao Wen

The Earth Sciences provide insights into some of humanity’s deepest questions. How was the planet Earth, our lifeboat in space, formed? What are the processes that have shaped the Earth - its surface and internal structure? How has life, of which humanity is a part, evolved? Why are there earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain chains, continents, and oceans? How has the surface of the Earth and its environments changed through time? On a practical level, the study of Earth Sciences provides a basis for understanding natural hazards, assessing Earth’s climate variability and global change, predicting the migration of man-made pollutants, and exploring for the energy and mineral resources upon which society depends. The BA degree in Earth Science is recommended for those students who enjoy and are intellectually intrigued by the Earth Sciences but intend to pursue careers in broader fields such as law, business, journalism, resource management or teaching and educational outreach. Along with intellectual enrichment, the BA degree provides a rounded science foundation and critical thinking skills and is a good option to combine with other majors.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Explain process-based linkages among tectonics, climate, and life as illustrated by the Earth system over time.
  • Understand the importance of Earth Science in society.
  • Effectively synthesize published literature related to geological sciences in a written report and/or a data product.
  • Develop written and verbal communication skills required to effectively convey science to a wide range of audiences.

Requirements for a B.A. Degree in Earth Sciences

The BA degree in Earth Sciences requires at least 35 credits of Earth and Environmental Science course work including auxiliary math and science coursework.

Introductory Earth Science Courses

Sequence Earth Science Course

Ancillary Science and Mathematics Courses

Introduction to Earth and Environmental Science Skills Set

Divisions of Earth Science

Choose 4 courses spanning at least two of the following blocks with appropriate prerequisites. Other courses may be substituted by petition.

Department Electives

At least 6-credits of any upper-division EAR or approved auxiliary science or math course(s)

Requirements For Distinction

Minimum GPA Within Department 3.6

Cumulative GPA, by End of Senior Year 3.4

Other Criteria Required for the Degree with Distinction:

Students must complete a research-based senior thesis in conjunction with a faculty supervisor. The thesis must constitute independent, hypothesis-driven research involving investigative tools and techniques in the Earth Sciences. Students must submit the written thesis to the department and give a public seminar reporting their results. Students should register for EAR 409 - Senior Thesis in Earth Science  in the semester in which they plan to submit the thesis. All else being satisfied, Distinction is conferred following a vote of approval from the Faculty of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.