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


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

  • GEOL 111 (Principles of 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.

These are introductory science courses designed for all students of the college. They provide the foundation for further study of the Earth in upper level geology courses and can be integrated into an Environmental Studies program 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 2019-2020, GEOL 111 and GEOL 105 are offered in the Fall semester; GEOL 111 and GEOL 112 are offered in the Spring semester.