2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 16, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Geology, B.S.

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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 study of geology provides 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 deep oceans? How has the surface and climate of the Earth changed through time? The study of geology is made up of interdisciplinary fields in the Earth sciences that draw on fundamental knowledge in physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics and provides a basis for understanding natural hazards, climate variability and global change, and exploring for the energy, water and mineral resources upon which society depends. The BS in geology offers a solid foundation for students interested in pursuing advanced degrees in the Earth sciences and/or careers as research scientists in public, corporate, or academic settings.

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.
  • Analyze and interpret general patterns in the history of the Earth-life system using geological records and analytical and/or numerical tools.
  • Identify and describe the major rock-forming minerals and relate the origin of the three major rock types.
  • Infer depositional processes and environments from field and lab observations of sedimentary systems.
  • Describe tectonic processes and their manifestations in Earth’s crust, including seismicity, volcanism, and deformation.
  • 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 B.S. Degree in Geology

The BS degree in Geology requires at least 69 credits of Earth and Environmental Science course work including auxiliary math and science coursework.

Introductory Earth Science Courses

4 credits

Sequence Earth Science Course

4 credits

Department Colloquium

1 credit

Divisions of Earth Sciences

12 - 15 credits

Choose one from each block. Other courses may be substituted by petition.

Department Electives

3 credits - Any lower or upper-division EAR or approved auxiliary science or math course(s)

Summer Field Experience

(4-6 cr., by transfer, as approved field experience)   This requirement consists of 6 credit hours of transfer credit as EAR 470. The requirement is satisfied by participation in an approved 4-6-week summer geological field camp, or through an alternative approved field program. The field experience is typically scheduled in the summer between junior and senior years, but completion of the requirement during the summer following graduation is also possible. Participation in the SU Abroad ‘Frontiers Abroad’ semester program in New Zealand also satisfies the field experience requirement.  For enrollment in a traditional geological field camp, courses in Structural Geology and Sedimentary Geology may be required.

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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