The Department of Geological Sciences offers three undergraduate degree major programs:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Geological Sciences
  • Bachelor of Arts in Earth Systems

In addition, a 5-year B.S./M.S. program is available to qualified students leading to degrees in Geological Sciences/Marine Geology and Geophysics. Many students also pursue a dual major in Geological Sciences and Marine Sciences or an Environmental Sciences B.S. or B.A. with a focus in Environmental Geology.


‌The B.S. in Geological Sciences is recommended as preparation for graduate school and careers in professional research and science teaching. B.S.

Students must complete a core curriculum of 35 credits (GSC 110 or 120, 114 or 115, 111, 260, 360, 380, 410 or 420, 440, 480, 482 and 561) with a grade of C- or better and with an overall GPA of 2.0.

In addition, the B.S. candidates must complete a 4 credit summer field course (GSC 580 or an approved field course through another university).

B.S. students must choose a minor from the following:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Ecosystem Science and Policy
  • Marine Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

The minor requirements are specified by each department and are listed under Departmental headings in the Bulletin.


The B.A. in Geological Sciences is recommended for science-oriented students who plan to use an understanding of Earth systems in their professional careers but desire a broader liberal arts education or are pursuing a dual major outside the sciences. B.A. students must complete a core curriculum of 32-34 credits including:

Two courses in the GSC 101, 102 or 111, 103 or 110 or 120 series; 
GSC 114 or 115; 260; 360; 482; two of 380, 410, 440; 420 or 480; 482; and 561 with a grade of C- or better and with an overall GPA of 2.0.

In addition, B.A. students are strongly encouraged to take the summer field course (GSC 580) and/or field courses offered during spring break (GSC 231 or GSC 311).


The B.A. in Earth Systems is an interdisciplinary major designed for students planning non-science professional careers, including Business, Law, Medicine, Psychology, Education, Communications and other non-science fields in which an understanding of Earth processes, systems and problems is beneficial.

Candidates for the B.A. in Earth Systems must complete a core curriculum of 17-18 credits that includes:

GSC 101, 102 or 111, 103 or 110 or 120, 105, 106, 107, 114 or 115, 301, and 6 credits from GSC 131, 132, and 133; and MSC 101.

In addition, a minimum of 15 additional elective credits must be taken from Geological Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Marine and Atmospheric Science, and Environmental Science.

Students pursuing a pre-med major will satisfy the above requirements as specified by the American Association of Medical Colleges with CHM 111-114, 201 and 205, one year of physics and one year of biology.

Some medical schools require an additional semester of biochemistry (BMB 258 or 401).
Students in a pre-law program should include POL 332 and MSC 313-314 as a part of satisfying the above requirement.

The Geological Sciences courses 101, 102, and 103 (The Evolution of the Earth System) form a sequence suitable for both B.A. science majors and non-science majors. These courses may be applied to the Natural Science requirement under the "Required Areas of Study" for the College of Arts and Sciences.


5-year B.S./M.S. in Geological Sciences and Marine Geology allows qualified students to complete a master's degree in one year of study beyond the B.S.
The B.S. degree in Geological Sciences is offered through the Department of Geological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Marine Geology and Geophysics is offered through the Division of Marine Geology and Geophysics in the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS).

Undergraduate requirements are listed under the B.S. degree above. The program is by invitation, upon acceptance into the Honors program. By no later than the spring of their junior year students interested in this program should have obtained a graduate faculty advisor, selected an approved topic for research, and begun work on their senior thesis as preparation for the M.S. In the senior year, students will increase their focus on graduate courses and work closely with their graduate faculty advisor. Contact Dr. Harold Wanless at the departmental office (305-284-4253) for more information.

The field course (GSC 580 or an approved equivalent at another University) is required for B.S. students and encouraged for others in order to gain practical experience in the skills of observation, interpretation, measuring, sampling, mapping and report writing. This requirement when completed has proven to be a strong asset when applying for graduate work or employment.


A minor in Geological Sciences consists of 16 credits in courses numbered 110 or higher. A minimum grade of C- must be earned in each course with an overall GPA of 2.0.

As required by the College, all B.S. degree candidates must pass two semesters of calculus (MTH151 and MTH162; MTH161 and MTH162; or MTH171 and MTH172) and either (a) one semester of a computer course or (b) a statistics course.

All Geological Sciences majors must also complete the "Required Areas of Study" of the College (see under COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES in this Bulletin).


There are two special programs that the Department offers with other units of the University.

A double major is offered in cooperation with the Marine and Atmospheric Science Program. This program consists of a major in the Geological Sciences and a major in Marine Science. Interested students should read the information under Marine and Atmospheric Science in this Bulletin and contact the Marine Science office (184 Cox Science or 284-2180) for details concerning the Marine Science major.

A double major is offered in cooperation with the Ecosystem Science and Policy (ECS) Program. This program consists of a major in the Geological Sciences and a major in ECS. Interested students should read the information under Ecosystem Science and Policy in this Bulletin and contact the ECS office.

Any student contemplating graduate study in the Geological Sciences is advised to complete at least eight credits of physics at the 200 level or higher. Additional preparation in Mathematics, Chemistry or Biology may also be desirable depending on the student’s interests.