Earth Science Major


Earth science majors must earn a minimum of 36 core and elective credits (in Earth Science and Geology) and an additional 12 credits in related lab sciences and mathematics. The core and elective courses that constitute the curriculum of this interdisciplinary major embody the knowledge base and methodologies of geology (solid earth and its resources), meteorology (the atmosphere and its movement), and hydrology (water and its cycling through the environment). As such, this major offers a flexible and broadly based program of study that is well suited for students who are preparing for a career in environmental regulation, resource management or park service. By supplementing the major-related course work with additional electives, or an appropriate minor, a student may structure her/his study toward a special interest area, such as journalism, technical writing, business, or graduate study in geography, resource management, urban planning, or museum science.

Admission to the Program

Any undergraduate student can declare this major.

Program Requirements

General Education Requirements (31-40* credits)

Major Department Requirements (36 credits)

Students in the earth science major pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, and must complete the corresponding degreeā€™s requirements.

Required Core Courses (26-30 credits)

Minimum Total Number of Core Credits (36 credits)

Major Corequisite Requirements (12 credits)

Total Number of Corequisite Credits (12 credits)

*Denotes courses that meet both major and general education requirements.

ESC 350 and ESC 391 should be taken in the junior year.

Some electives are offered only once every two years.

An upper-division course from the major requirements corresponding to that elective area may be substituted with written permission. (e.g., another course required for the geology major may be used in place of GEL 302 or GEL 310).

Electives (32-41 credits)

Total Credits (120 credits)

Additional Degree Requirements

Completion of all university-wide degree requirements

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the manner with which variables and data, relevant for earth science, are properly collected using discipline appropriate methodology (fieldwork, instrumentation, remote sensing, or derived products from models).
  2. Properly interpret earth science data using discipline-accepted qualitative analysis
  3. Properly interpret earth science data using discipline-accepted quantitative analysis.
  4. Define a scientific question and develop a methodology for answering it.
  5. Locate, evaluate and interpret primary source scientific literature.
  6. Effectively express earth science concepts and research results following the accepted written format for the discipline.
  7. Explain earth science concepts and communicate research results following the accepted oral format for the discipline.