Environmental Geology Major

The interdisciplinary environmental geology major provides an understanding of how soil, water, and mineral resources form and involves the practical application of geologic principles to environmental problem solving.

  1. Five and one-half departmental units:
    1. Geology 100 or 110, 200, 215, and 385 (.5).
    2. Two from Geology 230, 235, 240.
  2. Supporting courses (7 units):
    1. Two from Biology 121, 152; Geology 105, 205, 220, 230, 235, 240, 245 and 251 (as appropriate).
    2. One from Chemistry 117, 220, 230, 240, 245, 250 or Physics 101, 102.
    3. One from Biology 247, Mathematics 110 or 115.
    4. Three from appropriate courses in environmental studies, economics, and political science; such courses must be chosen in consultation with the major advisor.
  3. Thesis.
  4. Strongly recommended:
    1. Proficiency in a spoken foreign language.
    2. Summer internship or field-intensive program incorporating aspects of environmental geology.
  5. In preparation for graduate study and professional work in environmental geology, and in consultation with the major advisor, students should elect additional courses in geology and mathematics. In addition, and depending on interests, students should elect additional courses in biology, chemistry, computer science, physics, and public policy.
  6. Writing/communication requirement: The department of geology strives to develop the communication skills of our students. We recognize that complete understanding of any discipline requires the ability to express that understanding in both oral and written form. Geology is a highly visual science; consequently, we also train students to design effective illustrations and figures to convey complex information.
    1. Our majors learn the skills necessary to compose oral presentations, which are typically accompanied by high-quality slides or computer-generated illustrations; in addition, they learn to write papers using conventions appropriate to geologic inquiry. Many students employ these skills to communicate research findings at professional conferences in the form of oral or poster presentations.
    2. All 200- and 300-level courses include assignments fashioned to help students communicate professionally through oral presentations and written reports. Such skills are cultivated to a significant degree in our W courses:
      • 230: Sedimentology
      • 235: Geomorphology
      • 325: Tectonics
    3. Our thesis requirement is designed to develop disciplinary expertise in communication. The following course supports the thesis requirement and is designated W: Geology 385-Thesis Research.
  7. Students majoring in environmental geology may choose to receive the Bachelor of Science degree rather than the Bachelor of Arts degree by completing a minimum of 4 units in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and/or physics.

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