Geological Sciences is concerned with Planet Earth, its origin, evolution, structure, internal and surface processes, mineral resources, environmental preservation, global dynamics, paleoclimate reconstruction, and life history. Geologists use their knowledge of chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics to solve Earth problems.


Geological Sciences undergraduates are prepared for careers in industry as well as graduate study in geosciences, the environmental sciences, and marine sciences. Career paths include research and teaching, as well as employment in the petroleum and mineral industries and in industries and government organizations concerned with energy resources, geodynamics, the marine environment, conservation, and climate change.


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

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Geological Sciences
Five-year Master of Science Program (M.S.)
Geological Sciences/Marine Science (Double Major)
Geological Science/Ecosystem Science and Policy (Double Major)

For the Geoscience Graduate Program please see the Division of Marine Geology and Geophysics at the RSMAS campus.



The B.S. in Geological Sciences is recommended as preparation for graduate school and careers in professional research and science teaching. As described in sections 3 and 4 below, a B.S. in Geological Science requires a strong foundation in mathematics and several applied sciences.

1. Students must complete a core curriculum of 34 credits (GSC 110 or 120; 114 or 115; 111; 260; 360; 380; 410 or 420; 440; 480, and 482) with a grade of C- or better and with an overall GPA of 2.0.

2. In addition, the B.S. candidates must complete a summer field course (GSC 580 or an approved field course through another university).
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.
3. As required by the College, all B.S. degree candidates must pass two semesters of calculus (MTH 161-162 or MTH 171-172) and either (a) one semester of a computer course or (b) a statistics course.
4. Students are also encouraged to take one or more of MTH 210, MTH 211, MTH 224, MTH 311, MTH 312. CHM 111 is required (CHM 112, CHM 113, and CHM 114 are all recommended). Two semesters of college physics (PHY 101-102) are required.  Two semesters of university physics (PHY 205-206) are recommended in lieu of college physics.
5. 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).
6. B.S. students must choose a minor from the following:
Computer Science
Ecosystem Science and Policy
Marine and Atmospheric Science

Geological Sciences B.S. students desiring a minor in Ecosystem Science and Policy must take ECS111, ECS112, ECS113, ECS(201 or 202), and 6 other science focused credits in ECS courses at the 300-level or above (ECS301, ECS380 series, and ECS580 series; and ECS372 series with approval of Departmental Chair).


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 24-27 credits including:
Two courses in the GSC 101, 102 or 111, 103 or 110 or 120 series; GSC 114 or 115; 260; 360; 482; and 8 additional credits at the 300 – 500 level 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).


A 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 with the Honors option.  By the beginning of their junior year students 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 the Geological Sciences chair at the departmental office (305-284-4253) for more information.


Double majors are offered in cooperation with the Marine and Atmospheric Science Program and the Ecosystem Science and Policy Program.
1. Marine Science (MSC): 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.
2. Ecosystem Science and Policy (ECS): This program consists of a major in Geological Sciences and a major in Ecosystem Science and Policy (ECS). Interested students should read the information under ECS in this bulletin and contact the ECS office (058 Cox).


The 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.

Honors in Geological Sciences may be earned by students in good standing within the University Honors program. In addition to their general requirements, a student must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better, and also perform research beginning prior to their senior year, resulting in a written Honor’s Thesis and oral defense approved by the student’s thesis advisor.

Geological Sciences Course Listing