2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 22, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Earth Sciences, B.A.

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Gregory D. Hoke, Chair
204 Heroy Geology Laboratory


Tripti Bhattacharya, Melissa Chipman, Daniel Curewitz, Gregory Hoke, Linda Ivany, Christopher Junium, Zunli Lu, Jessica Mejia, Aaron Mohammed, Robert Moucha, Cathryn Newton, Joshua Russell, Scott Samson, Christopher Scholz, Jay Thomas, John Tillotson, Sam 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.

For all Arts and Sciences|Maxwell students, successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in this major requires a minimum of 120 credits, 96 of which must be Arts and Sciences|Maxwell credits, completion of the Liberal Arts Core requirements, and the requirements for this major that are listed below.

Dual Enrollments:

Students dually enrolled in Newhouse* and Arts and Sciences|Maxwell will complete a minimum of 122 credits, with at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences|Maxwell coursework and an Arts and Sciences|Maxwell major.

*Students dually enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences|Maxwell as first year students must complete the Liberal Arts Core. Students who transfer to the dual program after their first year as singly enrolled students in the Newhouse School will satisfy general requirements for the dual degree program by completing the Newhouse Core Requirements.

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

GPA Within Department 3.6

Overall GPA, by end of senior year of 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.

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