May 29, 2024  
2017-2018 Catalog 
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geology, BA

Department of Geology, College of Science and Engineering

64-76 credits

Introduction/What is the Study of Geology?

A Geoscientist is someone who studies the Earth’s physical makeup and history. Geology is the science that provides the key to finding new sources of useful Earth materials and to understanding Earth processes that affect our lives. Geoscientists provide basic information to society for solving problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety and welfare.

Geoscientists are curious about the Earth. How was it formed? How is it changing? What effects will shrinking glaciers have on the oceans and climate? How do islands form? What makes a continent move? Why did the dinosaurs become extinct? What makes a mountain?

Geoscientists are concerned about the Earth. How severe will the global warming trend be? How and where should we dispose industrial wastes? How can we fill society’s growing demands for energy and conserve natural resources for future generations?

Geoscientists enjoy the Earth. It is an outdoor laboratory filled with opportunities to observe Earth processes in action. By applying knowledge of forces that shape the Earth, Geoscientists seek to reconstruct the past and anticipate the future.

Why Consider a Geology Major? 

Do you like to know why and how things work? Do you enjoy the outdoors? Are you concerned about the environment? Are you interested in travel? Do you like to analyze things? Are science and nature among your favorite subjects? Have you ever wondered why the Earth appears as it does? If you answer “yes” to most of these questions the geosciences could offer a good career for you.

The BA degree in geology is designed for students who want to study geology, but who are not intending to work as professional geologists. This degree is appropriate for someone interested in pursuing a liberal arts education with a less rigorous course of study in geology and supporting sciences than students in the BS degree. Thus students are allowed more flexibility for additional courses that complement their goals. An accompanying minor in one of the sciences or in mathematics is recommended.

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Bernie Housen
Environmental Studies 240A

Undergraduate Advisor
Theresa Tripp
Environmental Studies 240

 Sample Careers

National Park Service | Department of Natural Resources | NASA | U.S. Forest Service | U.S. Army Corps of Engineers | Museum Curator | Science writer/journalist | Ecotourism | Lifetime appreciation of geology

 Major/Career Resources

How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Phase I: Students can declare as a Phase I major at any time as long as they are in good academic standing. Students can declare and complete a Geology minor, a BA in Geology, or a BA in Education Earth Science or Earth Science/General Science without advancing to Phase II.

Students who wish to earn a BS Geology or BS Geophysics degree must complete a set of preparatory courses for admission into these degree programs. Students must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher in this set of preparatory courses, and be in good academic standing to qualify for admission. Priority for admission will be given to students who have a GPA of 2.5 or higher in these preparatory courses; students with a lower GPA will be admitted on a space-available basis.

Preparatory courses for BS Geology:
- GEOL 211, GEOL 212 and GEOL 213
- one of GEOL 306, GEOL 310, GEOL 318, or GEOL 352
- CHEM 121, MATH 124

Preparatory courses in BS Geophysics:
- GEOL 211, GEOL 352
- PHYS 161, PHYS 162
- MATH 124

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.


Departmental Honors and Distinctions

BA or BS students and students in the University Honors program who have completed at least 4 credits of GEOL 490 and have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher meet the requirements for departmental honors. Those students who have completed at least 4 credits of GEOL 490 and have a cumulative GPA higher than 3.20 meet the requirements for departmental distinction.