Geology - BS

The BS in Geology is considered the preparatory degree for careers in geological science. Graduates typically go on to careers in the energy and environmental industries, and advanced study at top-ranked graduate programs. The first two years of the BS program in Geology provide students with the basics of geology and the supporting fields of chemistry, physics and mathematics. The junior and senior years involve more advanced study in the field of geology and the opportunity to concentrate study in specific disciplines through the selection of technical electives. The Geology and Geophysics Department offers summer field camp (GEOL 350) in the Western US, in which students apply their geologic knowledge to collecting data and solving real problems during a four-week field season. Seniors will participate in a group research capstone course (GEOL 450), in which they work in teams with a faculty advisor to solve a current problem and communicate their findings and experience. Students also have opportunities to become involved in individual research problems with faculty members and can receive course credit for this activity through GEOL 291 and GEOL 491.

The BS is the appropriate degree for students intending to pursue graduate study in geology. Students desiring employment in the petroleum industry are encouraged to pursue an MS degree. Students planning a research or university teaching career should pursue a PhD degree.  Particular selections of electives can be used to refine the degree.

Some of society’s most pressing problems, including groundwater contamination and remediation, water resources, and geologic hazards such as landslides, flooding and subsidence are addressed in the field of environmental geology. Environmental geologists typically find careers with environmental and engineering consulting companies and other industrial corporations, governmental agencies or academia. Students are well-prepared for the Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) Fundamentals of Geology exam, which is required for appointment as a Professional Geologist or Geoscientist in many states.  Specific elective classes recommended include CVEN 365, GEOG 331, GEOG 390, GEOL 410, GEOL 420, GEOL 440, GEOS 410 and approved classes in other departments including Soil Science, Chemistry, Physics and Civil Engineering.

Many geologists go on to employment in the field of petroleum exploration and extraction.  Some of the required geology classes prepare students for this field. Additional recommended classes including GEOL 404, PETE 311, PETE 321, PETE 324 and PETE 402. Qualified students (GPA of 3.0 or higher with dean’s permission) may also take related graduate courses during the senior year. Such classes include GEOL 619, GEOL 622, GEOL 623, GEOL 624, GEOL 668, and GEOP 629. These classes prepare students for graduate study, as well as provide training for those who may be interested in service jobs in the oil and gas industry between their undergraduate and graduate education.

To remain in satisfactory academic standing, students must maintain a 2.0 or better GPA in all technical courses (geology, geophysics, chemistry, math and physics). Some courses require field trips. Students must pay expenses incurred on such trips.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallSemester Credit Hours
CHEM 119 Fundamentals of Chemistry I 4
ENGL 104 Composition and Rhetoric 3
GEOL 150 Introduction to the Solid Earth 4
GEOL 180 Introduction to Geology and Geophysics 1
MATH 151 Engineering Mathematics I 4
 Semester Credit Hours16
CHEM 120 Fundamentals of Chemistry II 4
GEOL 152 History of the Earth 4
MATH 152 Engineering Mathematics II 4
Communication 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Second Year
GEOL 203 Mineralogy 4
GEOL 210 Geological Communication 3
MATH 251 Engineering Mathematics III 3
PHYS 206 Newtonian Mechanics for Engineering and Science 3
PHYS 226 Physics of Motion Laboratory for the Sciences 1
 Semester Credit Hours14
GEOL 250 Geological Field Methods 4
GEOL 304 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology 4
MATH 308 Differential Equations 3
PHYS 207 Electricity and Magnetism for Engineering and Science 3
PHYS 227 Electricity and Magnetism Laboratory for the Sciences 1
 Semester Credit Hours15
Third Year
GEOL 306 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy 4
GEOP 341 Fundamentals of Geophysics 3
Select one of the following: 3
Language, philosophy and culture 1 3
 Semester Credit Hours13
GEOL 312 Structural Geology and Tectonics 4
GEOL 314 Paleontology and Geobiology 4
Select one of the following: 3
Technical elective 2 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
GEOL 350 Summer Field Geology 3
 Semester Credit Hours3
Fourth Year
GEOL 450 Geology Senior Project 3
Select one of the following: 3
Technical elective 2 9
 Semester Credit Hours15
Select one of the following: 3
Creative arts 1 3
Social and behavioral science 1 3
Technical elective 2 6
 Semester Credit Hours15
 Total Semester Credit Hours120