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Geological and Environmental Sciences

Disciplines within the geological and environmental sciences are directed toward understanding the terrestrial system from the core of the Earth to beyond our solar system. Students will conduct applied and basic research in an effort to understand physical processes on and within the Earth, and human influences that affect the environment.

Environmental science is the study of interactions within the Earth's biosphere, concentrating on natural and man-made perturbations such as pollution. The BS in Environmental Science prepares students for careers in areas such as pollution remediation, resource conservation, or environmental management, as well as providing a firm foundation for graduate studies.

Geology is the study of processes occurring in or on the Earth. The BS in Geology prepares students for careers or graduate education in fields such as resource exploration, hydrogeology, or environmental geology.

The BS in Geosciences is designed for students who plan to become science teachers. It provides students with the required subject matter competency to enter a single-subject credential program in science with a concentration in Geoscience and/or one of the other physical sciences.

The MS in Geosciences or Environmental Science provides a framework for advanced study and research. A thesis is required, and students in the program may pursue any topic approved by a thesis committee. Some support for graduate students is available in the form of teaching or research assistantships.

The Professional Science Option under the MS in Environmental Science provides students with advanced training in the environmental sciences, along with professional courses aimed at preparing students for management and non-academic positions. Instead of a thesis, a required internship is an integral component of the program.

Faculty and Facilities

In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the department, the faculty represent diverse academic areas, complemented by industrial experience. All have a strong commitment to excellence in teaching and engage in professional development.

Department equipment and facilities are extensive and include equipment for field and laboratory work in environmental science, geology, and hydrology/hydrogeology.

Academic Activities

Lecture courses are accompanied by laboratories and field trips. Internships and work experience are also available.

The Association of Geological and Environmental Students (AGES) is open to all students. AGES hosts several off-campus field trips each semester. Many majors are also members of national organizations such as the American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, and the Geological Society of America.

Career Outlook

Employment opportunities are excellent. Our graduates work for agencies such as the California Department of Water Resources, the United States Geological Survey, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Graduates are also employed by private companies specializing in mineral and petroleum exploration, engineering or environmental consulting, and pollution remediation.

Graduates with a bachelor's degree find entry-level positions which involve gathering and interpreting scientific data. Management and field-oriented research positions generally require a master's degree. Students interested in basic research or a position at a community college or university are advised to plan on working toward a graduate degree. The career outlook for science teachers is excellent. Geosciences majors may enter the single subject credential teaching program upon completion of their degree.

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