Geosciences Major

Goals for our 100 level curriculum

Goals for our 200-300 level curriculum

Requirements for the Geosciences Major

The geosciences major includes three components: a set of three core requirements (100-200 level), a set of five electives, three of which must be at the 300 level, (one of which may be GEOS 350, GEOS 360, GEOS 370) and a set of four cognate STEM courses. The core requirements provide students with an introduction to the key elements of geosciences: Earth materials and processes, scale, and deep time, as well as the development of system thinking skills. The electives (200-300 level) allow students to develop an area of focus that reflects their particular interests and future goals. The cognate STEM courses provide context, depth, and additional quantitative skills.

The core includes one 100 level course either GEOS 101, or GEOS 102, and two 200 level courses: GEOS 200 and GEOS 203.  In addition, students are encouraged, in consultation with their advisors, to choose a "focus" that lends depth and coherence to the major and can guide elective choices. Example foci might include 1) Earth Materials and Tectonics, 2) Environmental Geosciences and Surface Processes, 3) Planetary Geology, 4) Earth and Space Education.  Four complementary (cognate) courses from mathematics, biological sciences, chemistry, physics, and astronomy, computer science, or STEM focused environmental studies are also required, and two must come from the same discipline. Most majors pursue research experiences as part of their curriculum.

Honors in Geosciences

The only route to honors in the major is writing a thesis and passing an oral examination. To be admitted to the thesis program, a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work in the major field above the 100 level; the department may petition on behalf of the student if the GPA in the major is between 3.0 and 3.5. See Academic Distinctions.

Graduate Study in Geosciences

Students considering graduate school are urged to take two semesters of mathematics, two of chemistry, two of physics, and a geoscience field experience or summer research program. Students will choose an appropriate set of complementary courses with the guidance of a departmental advisor.