Revised for Fall 2021
Photo: SSU faculty giving morning instructions to the class before a day of fieldwork near Mammoth Lakes, CA. Spring 2018.
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Welcome! The B.A. in Earth Science at SSU provides a modern and relevant learning experience for our majors while providing a flexible path toward graduation. It includes a broad suite of geoscience-related electives across the university to provide students with a customizable self-directed curriculum that best suits their interests and career goals. This degree provides an interdisciplinary, liberal-arts synthesis in the geosciences and to the study of geology and the Earth. This degree attracts a diverse group of students interested in careers in geoscience, local and state scientific and regulatory agencies, K-12 science teaching, attending law school, attending grad school in the history of science, or (for example) being a park ranger or working in a field other than pure geology. Contact us for more information!
Geology Major Core Classes:
Take one of these 100-level Geology courses (these include the 3-unit GE classes). Of these intro courses, the ideal course is Geology 102.
Geology 102: Our Dynamic Earth (GE B1)
Geology 105: The Age of Dinosaurs (GE B1)
Geology 110: Natural Disasters (GE B3)
Consider Geology 107: Introduction to Earth Science only under special circumstances (it is intended for teacher training, it is not GE). Ask for details.
Take the following two courses:
GEOL 303: Advanced Principles of Geology. Prerequisite: Completion of GE Golden Four (A1, A2, A3, B4) with a C- or better and completion of B1, B2 and at least 45 units. Completion of one: SCI120, GEOL102, GEOL105, GEOL110, GEOL107, GEOL120, GEP201, GEP352, ANTH202, or equivalent of these. This class fills the major requirement and also Upper Division B (UDB), but only if you have already taken 45 college-level units. You can take this course before arriving at 45 units, and you could get your UDB GE requirement completed by taking GEOL 311. This class is offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters.
GEOL 304: Geologic Mapping and Report Writing, which is a field course. The pre- or co-requisite is GEOL 303. We advise that you take 303 and 304 together when they are offered in the same semester. Offered every Fall and occasionally in Spring. There is a 5-day required field trip.
Take two out of the following four 300-level pairs of Geology courses. Any of the courses that you take from this list beyond the required two pairs will count as elective units:
Pair 1. GEOL 307 & 308: Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, and the Ig and Met Field course. Prerequisite is GEOL 205, Mineralogy (which itself has a prerequisite of CHEM 115A) and a physical geology course, such as GEOL 102 or GEOL 303, and completion or concurrent enrollment in CHEM 115B. There is a 5-day required field trip in GEOL 308.
Pair 2. GEOL 311 & 312: Sedimentary Geology, and the Seds Field course. Prerequisite is GEOL 303 and GEOL 304. There is a 5-day required field trip in GEOL 312.
Pair 3. GEOL 313 & 314: Paleontology, and the Paleo Field course. Prerequisite is GEOL 303 or GEOL 102. There is a 5-day required field trip in GEOL 314.
Pair 4. GEOL 317 & 318: Structural Geology, and the Structure Field course. Prerequisites: GEOL 303, GEOL 304, and a mathematics course in Trigonometry. There is a 5-day required field trip in GEOL 318.
Take one of these math courses:
MATH 160 (formerly MATH 107): Precalculus; or MATH 161: Calculus I; or MATH 165: Elementary Statistics, or the equivalent of these courses. You can also take additional mathematics courses if you are inclined, and they will count as elective units.
Take one 100-level or 200-level chemistry course:
There are several to select from, such as: CHEM 102: Chemistry and Society; or CHEM 105: Elements of General, Organic and Biochemistry; CHEM 110: Introductory General Chemistry; or CHEM 115A: General Chemistry, or the equivalent of these courses if you took them at a junior college as a transfer student. You can also take additional chemistry courses if you are inclined, and they will count as elective units.
Take one 100-level or 200-level Physics course:
There are several to select from, such as: PHYS 100: Descriptive Physics, or ASTR 100: Descriptive Astronomy. Or take Geology 310: Geophysics and it will double count as both your physics requirement and as a major elective. You can also take additional physics courses if you are inclined, and they will count as elective units.
Take thirty-three (33) additional units in earth science-related courses:
See the list below of SSU courses in the departments of Geology, Anthropology, Studio Art, Geography, Astronomy, Biology, and Environmental Studies and Planning for specific approved suggestions. Note: Major Elective courses that are not listed below must be approved by your major advisor.
• Of the 33 elective units, at least 20 units must be 200-level or above.
• At least 15 elective units must be geology courses in the Geology Department, and the other 18 units (for a total of 33 units) can be from anywhere on the list below.
• Make sure your ARR (Academic Requirements Report) in PeopleSoft is accurate and up-to- date with the green, yellow, and red indicators. See any member of the geology faculty if you have questions.
Approved Major Elective Courses for the Bachelor of Arts in Earth Science
Geology – not all these courses are offered each year, so check to see what the current offerings are. Pay particular attention to prerequisites:
GEOL 312: Sedimentary Geology Field Course (1 unit, GEOL 311 is co-requisite). There is a 5-day required field trip in GEOL 312.
GEOL 314: Paleontology Field Course (1 unit, GEOL 313 co-requisite). There is a 5-day required field trip in GEOL 314.
ANTH 201: Introduction to Biological Anthropology (3 units)
ANTH 202: Introduction to Archaeology (3 units)
ANTH 301: Human Fossils and Evolution (4 units, ANTH 201 or BIOL 115 is prerequisite) ANTH 322 Historical Archaeology (4 units)
ANTH 325: World Prehistory (4 units)
ARTS 202: Beginning Drawing (2-4 units)
Astronomy (within the Department of Physics and Astronomy)
ASTR 100: Descriptive Astronomy (3 units)
ASTR 231: Introductory Observational Astronomy (2 units, ASTR 100 is pre- or co-requisite)
ASTR 305: Frontiers in Astronomy (3 units, ASTR 100 is prerequisite)
ASTR 350: Cosmology (3 units, ASTR 100 is prerequisite)
BIOL 312: Biological Oceanography (3 units, BIOL 110, 115, or “121/122” is prerequisite)
BIOL 333: Ecology (4 units, BIOL “121” and MATH 165 are prerequisites)
BIOL 335: Marine Ecology (4 units, BIOL “121” and MATH 165 are prerequisites)
Geography, Environment, and Planning
GEP 201: Global Environmental Systems (3 units)
GEP 201B: Global Environmental Systems Lab (1 unit)
GEP 280: Foundations in Environmental Data Analysis (4 units)
GEP 344: Field Methods (2 units)
GEP 345: Lab Methods (2 units)
GEP 350: Geomorphology (4 units)
GEP 352: Soil Science (3-4 units)
GEP 354: Watershed Hydrology and Management (4 units)
GEP 355: Weather and Climate (3 units)
GEP 380: Environmental Remote Sensing (4 units)
GEP 385: Cartographic Visualization (3-4 units)
GEP 387: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (4 units)
GEP 388: Environmental Geographic Information Systems (3-4 units)
See any of the Geology Department faculty if you are interested in majoring in Earth Science.
The department office and the faculty offices are next to the Dilophosaurus dinosaur skeleton on the first floor of Darwin Hall, at the east end of the building (the other end from the elevator).