Mar 04, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin

Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences

Cynthia M. Liutkus-Pierce, Chair

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The mission of the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences is to promote a scientific understanding of Earth systems - an awareness essential to an environmentally sound and sustainable future for the human race. The Department houses two complementary and related disciplines: Geology and Environmental Science. Geology, also known as Earth Science, is a broad field that applies the core sciences of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics to the study of the Earth. Geology is unique in that we study a range of spatial scales - from the scale of microns to the scale of continents - and temporal scales - from waves interacting with a shoreline at scales of seconds to tectonic processes that take hundreds of millions of years. Environmental Science is similar in its approach in that it also combines the core sciences with the study of the interactions between humans and the natural environment. Environmental scientists also focus on the development and management of resources in a sustainable manner with a focus on important modern concerns. Consistent throughout both disciplines, however, is our use of the Earth as a natural laboratory.

Geology Program

The specific goals of the Geology Program are:

  1. To provide all students with the opportunity to learn about the nature of science and basic scientific principles through the study of Geology;
  2. To introduce students to the many ways in which Geology is interwoven into the fabric of modern civilization;
  3. To provide students with an understanding of the interrelationships of the basic parts of Earth Systems and the environment;
  4. To provide students who seek a career in Geology with the sound background for productive work in the profession and in graduate studies;
  5. To provide present and future teachers with the knowledge and methods necessary for competent instruction in the Earth/Environmental Sciences; and
  6. To provide members of the public with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Earth Systems of which they are a part through outreach efforts.

A major in Geology leading to either the Bachelor of Arts degree or the Bachelor of Science degree is appropriate for those students who intend to pursue graduate studies in Geology, whereas the Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Environmental Geology is recommended for students who seek a career at the Bachelor degree level. The Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Earth/Environmental Science Secondary Education is recommended for students who wish to pursue a career teaching Earth/Environmental Science or comprehensive science at the secondary level.

Environmental Science Program

The Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science is designed for students seeking a broad approach to understanding the interconnectedness of earth and environmental systems. The Department offers two concentrations to the BS in Environmental Science, and both are designed for students who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary degree that is scientifically comprehensive and that fosters an appreciation and understanding of our place within the environment and the earth system as a whole.  Students who complete these degrees are well prepared for careers in environmental consulting, government environmental agencies, national parks, conservation organizations, etc. 

The Bachelor of Science degree with concentration in Earth Systems Science focuses on core environmental courses in science, math, and computing with choices at the upper level focusing on the geophysical aspects of the environment.  This degree gives students the option to take courses that will make them eligible to take the first step towards Professional Geologist licensure (taking the Fundamentals of Geology exam administered by ASBOG).  Students who complete this degree also earn a geology minor.

The Bachelor of Science degree with concentration in Life Science focuses on similar core environmental classes as the Earth Systems Science concentration but has choices at the upper level to explore the biochemical aspects of the environment, as well as topics such as environmental policy, environmental law, conservation and resource management.  Students often couple this degree with a minor in biology, chemistry, sustainable development, and/or community planning.

Honors Program in Geological and Environmental Sciences

The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences offers an honors program. In order to graduate with “Honors in Geological and Environmental Sciences,” a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.45 overall and in Geological and Environmental Science courses, and must take a total of nine semester hours of Geological and Environmental Sciences courses with honors at the 2000 level or above with a minimum grade of “B” (3.0) in each course, of which three credits must include GES 4510  - Senior Honors Thesis. The honors thesis must be approved by two readers, with the thesis director from the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, in order to graduate with Honors in Geological and Environmental Sciences.


    Bachelor of ScienceBachelor of ArtsMinor


      Geological and Environmental Sciences