About the Geology Major


The Geology major starts with an introduction to the fundamental principles and processes that govern the character of the earth from its surface environment to its core. GEOL 111 surveys these principles and is required of all Geology majors. Geology encompasses many sub-disciplines that approach study of the earth in a variety of ways, but all share a core of knowledge about the composition and constitution of earth materials. Accordingly, all Geology majors must also take GEOL 112 (Surface Earth Dynamics), GEOL 291 (Structural Geology), and GEOL 271 (Mineralogy).  Finally, in consultation with their departmental advisor, Geology majors must take five additional courses from the Department's offerings, constructing an integrated program that may be tailored to the major's fields of interest or future plans. Senior Departmental Honors, generally consisting of Geology 498 and 499D, will count as one such course for the major. Only one of these five courses may be from a Geology course numbered less than 111 and only if that course was taken prior to the junior year. Students may substitute one course from BIOL 181 or 191, CHEM 151 or 155, COSC 111, MATH 111, STAT 111, or PHYS 116 for one of the five elective geology courses required for the major. Most, but not all, higher numbered courses in these departments may also be the single substituted ancillary science course, with permission from the Geology Department. The department, in coordination with the student's academic goals, will consider departures from this major format. In the fall semester of the senior year, each major shall take a comprehensive examination.

Departmental Honors Program

For a degree with Honors, a student must have demonstrated ability to pursue independent work fruitfully and exhibit a strong motivation to engage in research. A thesis subject commonly is chosen at the close of the junior year but must be chosen no later than the first two weeks of the senior year. Geology 498, 499D involves independent research in the field or the laboratory that must be reported in a thesis of high quality.


All courses are open to any student having requisite experience or consent of the instructor.