Jun 19, 2024  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geology: Environmental Science Concentration, BS

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Program Requirements

Geology is the study of the Earth. It is an applied science that integrates principles from physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, and other disciplines to better understand the natural processes and human influences that shape our planet. Geology helps people deduce Earth’s natural history, locate natural resources needed to support society, develop sustainable approaches to energy and resource management, and predict, assess, and manage global change and natural disasters.

Employment opportunities for geologists are numerous and varied. Examples include environmental and engineering consulting firms, energy exploration and production firms, mineral and metal industries, municipal, state, and federal governments, natural resource conservation organizations, and water authorities. Many students go on to graduate school in the geosciences, environmental sciences, or related fields. Geology is a professional degree and state certification as a Registered Professional Geologist is obtainable. Given the various career options that are possible, students are provided the opportunity to develop a broad range of skills and knowledge within the Geology program.

The Geology curriculum provides students with a well-rounded background in geology and related fields and is built around three critical themes: (1) appreciation for spatial and temporal scales, (2) knowledge of earth materials and compositions of environmental systems, and (3) understanding of geological and environmental processes. While providing solid fundamentals within science and engineering, the Geology program is also flexible, allowing students to choose among many electives to tailor their education to specific interests and career goals. The program has been carefully designed to help students develop quantitative and other critical skills, while familiarizing them with the topics, technologies, and resources needed for a variety of career paths in the geosciences. As students progress through the program they have multiple opportunities to enhance their skills of observation, computation, synthesis, communication and problem solving. Because Geology is inherently a field-based discipline, all students are required to take one or more courses that provide them with field experience. All Geology majors also participate in a multi-semester research program that provides them with hands-on experiences conducting geologic research and solving real-world problems in their chosen area of interest. It is also possible for Geology majors to pursue the Engineering Cluster Minor; students interested in this pathway should consult with their advisor early in their program of study.

Within the Geology curriculum, students who are particularly interested in environmental or water resources issues may choose to specialize in the Environmental Science Concentration or the Hydrogeology Concentration. These two concentrations provide more structured course pathways through the curriculum and help prepare students for careers in these specific areas. The Environmental Science Concentration in Geology focuses on environmental aspects of geoscience and is well suited for students interested in topics such as environmental policy, natural hazard assessment and remediation, evaluation of land use impacts, understanding geochemical cycles, and environmental systems analysis. This concentration provides a rigorous background in the sciences so that students can scientifically address environmental issues and integrate material from several fields to solve complex environmental problems. The Hydrogeology Concentration in Geology is designed for students who want to specialize in areas such as surface- and ground-water systems, treatment of water and cleanup of contaminated sites, contaminant flow and fluid transport, and water resource sustainability.


Freshman Year

Credit Hours: 15

Second Semester

Credit Hours: 17

Sophomore Year

Junior Year


  • Field Experience 6 Credits 4

Senior Year

Credit Hours: 12

Second Semester

Credit Hours: 13

Total Semester Hours: 121

1 See General Education Requirements . Three of these credit hours must also satisfy the Cross-Cultural Awareness Requirement.

2 MATH 2060  may be substituted.

3 Total of 14 credits selected from AGRB 3570 , AGRB 4570 , BE 3220 BE 4080 , BE 4220 BIOL 3130 , BIOL 4100 BIOL 4130 , BIOL 4410 , BIOL 4430 , CH 4130 , EES 4010 , EES 4100 , EES 4800 EES 4840 , EES 4850 , ENR 4130 , ENSP 3150 , FNR 2040 , GEOL 2700 , GEOL 2750 , GEOL 3130 , GEOL 3700 , GEOL 3750 , GEOL 3800 , GEOL 4050 , GEOL 4090 , GEOL 4590 , GEOL 4750 , GEOL 4850 , MATH 2060 , MATH 2080 , MATH 3110 , MATH 3600 , MICR 3050 , MICR 4010 , MICR 4020 , MICR 4100 , PES 2020 , PES 4080 , PES 4850 , PHYS 2210 , PHYS 2400 , PHYS 2450 , WFB 3130 . No more than eight credits may be courses below the 3000 level. Courses cannot be used to satisfy any other requirement.

4 GEOL 4750  or a combination of GEOL 2750  plus a three credit field course in geology (select GEOL 3700 , GEOL 3750  or GEOL 3800 ), ecology or other approved discipline. Students desiring to become registered professional geologists should take a six-credit summer field camp in geology/hydrogeology.

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