The Geology Department welcomes all students regardless of their previous academic background.


The Geology Department offers five courses at the introductory level that survey the processes and materials of the Earth on which we live.

  • GEOL 111 (Plant Earth: Introduction to Geology) introduces you to the dynamic nature of the solid earth. It covers the crust, mantle and core, plate tectonics, earth seismicity, volcanos, and mountain belts, drawing information from the record preserved in rocks.
  • GEOL 112 (Surficial Earth Dynamics: Climate, Environment, and Life) surveys the Earth’s surface environments, examining how the lithosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere interact to make the earth habitable and to modulate the climate.
  • GEOL 105 (Introduction to Oceanography) studies the global marine system and the interconnected geological, chemical, physical and biological processes that occur in this domain, providing the scientific basis for confronting challenges faced in marine conservation.
  • GEOL 109 (Climate Change: Science and Rhetoric) provides you with an interdisciplinary, scientific understanding of Earth's climate system so that you can both ask and address questions about the future climate of our planet.
  • GEOL 104 (Geology of the American West) focuses on the geology of iconic western landscapes, developing the fundamentals of geology necessary to understand the origin of these and other western lands.

These are introductory science courses designed for all students of the college. None of these introductory courses have a prerequisite and none presume any previous geologic knowledge.  All are appropriate of non-majors. Introductory geology courses provide the foundation for further study of the Earth in upper level geology courses and can be integrated into an Environmental Studies major as well. GEOL 111 and 112 are required for the Geology major and are prerequisites for most higher-level Geology courses; students interested in majoring in Geology should take these two courses early in their college career.

In 2023-2024, GEOL 105 and GEOL 111 are offered in the Fall semester; GEOL 104, GEOL 111 and GEOL 112 are offered in the Spring semester.