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The Bachelor of Science in Geology

Total Course Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree: 120 units

See Bachelor's Degree Requirements in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements. A minimum of 40 units, including those required for the major, must be upper division.

A suggested Major Academic Plan (MAP) has been prepared to help students meet all graduation requirements within four years. You can view MAPs on the Degree MAPs page in the University Catalog or you can request a plan from your major advisor.

General Education Pathway Requirements: 48 units

See General Education in the University Catalog and the Class Schedule for the most current information on General Education Pathway Requirements and course offerings.

Diversity Course Requirements: 6 units

See Diversity Requirements in the University Catalog. Most courses taken to satisfy these requirements may also apply to General Education .

Literacy Requirement:

See Mathematics and Writing Requirements in the University Catalog. Writing proficiency in the major is a graduation requirement and may be demonstrated through satisfactory completion of a course in your major which has been designated as the Writing Proficiency (WP) course for the semester in which you take the course. Students who earn below a C- are required to repeat the course and earn a C- or higher to receive WP credit. See the Class Schedule for the designated WP courses for each semester. You must pass ENGL 130I or JOUR 130I (or equivalent) with a C- or higher before you may register for a WP course.

Course Requirements for the Major: 65-66 units

Completion of the following courses, or their approved transfer equivalents, is required of all candidates for this degree.

Lower-Division Requirements: 21-22 units

4 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: Second-year high school algebra; one year high school chemistry. (One year of high school physics and one year of high school mathematics past Algebra II are recommended.)
Principles of chemistry for students in science, medical, and related professions. Atomic structure, chemical bonding, stoichiometry, periodic table, gases, solids, liquids, solutions, and equilibrium. 3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (001816)
Prerequisites: High school chemistry or physics is recommended; students with no previous science courses are advised to enroll in GEOS 101. No college credit for those who have passed GEOS 101.
Physical and chemical processes in the earth, including origin and identification of rocks and minerals; earth's interior; movements and major features of the earth's crust; erosion and sedimentation; geological structures; topographic maps; mineral resources. 2 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (004069)
Prerequisites: GEOS 101 or GEOS 102.
Principles of historical geology as they relate to rock sequences and geologic maps. 2 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (004070)
Prerequisites: Completion of ELM requirement; both MATH 118 and MATH 119 (or high school equivalent); a score that meets department guidelines on a department administered calculus readiness exam.
Limits and continuity. The derivative and applications to related rates, maxma and minima, and curve sketching. Transcendental functions. An introduction to the definite integral and area. A grade of C- or higher is required for GE credit. 4 hours discussion. (005506)

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: High school physics or faculty permission. High school trigonometry and second-year high school algebra or equivalent (MATH 051 and MATH 118 at CSU, Chico).
Mechanics, properties of matter, wave motion, sound, heat. Science majors are encouraged to take PHYS 204A instead of this course. 3 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. (007394)
Prerequisites: High school physics or faculty permission. Concurrent enrollment in or prior completion of MATH 121 (second semester of calculus) or equivalent.
Vectors, kinematics, particle dynamics, friction, work, energy, power, momentum, dynamics and statics of rigid bodies, oscillations, gravitation, fluids. Calculus used. A grade of C- or higher is required before progressing to either PHYS 204B or PHYS 204C. 3 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. (007401)

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: Completion of ELM requirement.
Summary of numerical data, elementary probability, distributions, and introduction to statistical inference. A grade of C- or higher is required for GE credit. 1.5 hours lecture, 1.5 hours discussion. This is an approved General Education course. (005501)
Prerequisites: MATH 120.
The definite integral and applications to area, volume, work, differential equations, etc. Sequences and series, vectors and analytic geometry in 2 and 3-space, polar coordinates, and parametric equations. 4 hours discussion. (005507)

Students who are considering attending graduate school should talk with an advisor about additional preparatory courses in chemistry, mathematics, and physics. The department very strongly recommends CHEM 111, CHEM 112, MATH 120, MATH 121; either PHYS 202A and PHYS 202B or PHYS 204A, PHYS 204B, and PHYS 204C.

Upper-Division Requirements: 44 units

12 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: GEOS 203 or course in Biology.
Study of main groups of invertebrate fossils and their uses in biostratigraphy, paleobiogeography, and paleoecology. 2 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (004138)
Prerequisites: GEOS 101 or GEOS 102; CHEM 107 or CHEM 111 or equivalent; or faculty permission.
Identification and origins of the more common minerals and rocks. 2 hours lecture, 6 hours laboratory. (004080)
Prerequisites: GEOS 203 and GEOS 306 (both may be taken concurrently), or faculty permission.
Basic concepts of stratigraphy. Methods of strata description, correlation, mapping, and interpretation. Sedimentary tectonics and lithic associations. Graphic representation of data. 2 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. (004081)
Prerequisites: GEOS 306, GEOS 307.
Elementary geologic field methods, descriptive geometry, photogeology, and geologic mapping. Ten days in the field during January intersession. 6 hours laboratory. (004074)
Prerequisite: ENGL 130 or JOUR 130 (or equivalent) with a grade of C- or higher, GEOS 360.
This course is a continuation of the writing experience that is initiated in GEOS 360. It deconstructs scientific writing through a re-writing of the GEOS 360 field report and analysis of other examples of geologic articles. 1 hour lecture. This is an approved Writing Proficiency course; a grade of C- or better certifies writing proficiency for majors. (004075)
Prerequisites: GEOS 306 with grade of C- or better.
Corequisites: GEOS 403.
Theory and practice of identification of minerals with the petrographic microscope. Emphasis on the common rock-forming silicates. 3 hours laboratory. (004096)
Prerequisites: GEOS 306 with grade of C- or better. Must be taken concurrently with GEOS 402.
Physical-chemical development and geotectonic settings of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Analysis of rock thin sections. Field trip required. 3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (004097)
Prerequisites: High school or college trigonometry; GEOS 203; GEOS 307 with grade of C- or higher.
Behavior of geologic materials. Folds, faults, small-scale structures in sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. Graphic methods. 2 hours lecture, 4 hours activity. (004082)
Prerequisites: GEOS 360, GEOS 361, GEOS 408 (with grade of C- or higher in all courses).
Mapping, recording, and interpreting data in the field; use of Brunton compass and topographic maps emphasized. Reports required. Field work during January Intersession totaling at least 10 days. 6 hours laboratory. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. (004105)
Prerequisites: GEOS 307, GEOS 403.
Study of the paleographic evolution of sedimentary basins. Includes stratigraphic and paleontologic correlation, facies analysis, sedimentary petrology, depositional systems, and the tectonic framework of sedimentary basins. 2 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (004114)
Prerequisites: GEOS 403, GEOS 471.
Independent geologic mapping of a difficult area. Report required. Field work on weekends or during spring recess, totaling at least 10 days. 6 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. (004107)
Prerequisites: GEOS 555, senior standing in Geology major, or faculty permission.
Group study of topics related to the geological evolution of North America. Student presentations and group discussion will focus on common themes or geologic regions. 3 hours lecture. (004170)

4 courses selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: GEOS 101 or GEOS 102 or consent of instructor.
Geologic setting of California and historical development of its geologic provinces. The impact of earthquakes, volcanic activity, coastal erosion, and earth resources on California. Field trip required. 3 hours discussion. (004085)
Prerequisites: MATH 120; either PHYS 202A or PHYS 204A.
A survey of the processes governing uplift and denudation of landscapes, including isostasy, chemical and physical weathering, mass movements, surface water erosion, formation of channels, and flow and sediment transport. 2 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (004152)
Prerequisites: CHEM 111, GEOS 306, GEOS 380, MATH 120; PHYS 202A or PHYS 204A. Recommended: GEOS 307.
Theory and analysis of groundwater flow, including fluid physics, aquifer properties, soil water, groundwater recharge, hydrogeologic environments, aquifer mechanics, and water quality degradation. 2 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (004102)
Prerequisites: GEOS 101 or GEOS 102, GEOS 306.
An introduction to physical processes associated with terrestrial and extraterrestrial volcanoes and their products. Specific topics include volcano monitoring, rheologic properties of magma and volcanic flows, experimental volcanology, theoretical and analog flow modeling, as well as in-depth examination of local volcanoes and various eruptions (past, present, and future). This course includes an extended (4-5 days) field trip, required for all students. Students participate in the field by collecting data for future course projects, presenting prepared information at various field trip stops, or both. Students also complete research projects throughout the semester. 3 hours lecture. (020293)
Prerequisites: GEOS 306, GEOS 307.
Evolution of the larger features of the earth; continents, oceans, mountain ranges, and lithospheric plates. Methods of tectonic analysis, including interpretation. Geologic development of the western United States. 3 hours discussion. (004110)
Prerequisites: One year of physics, GEOS 102, or faculty permission.
Introduction to solid-earth geophysical exploration techniques and data analysis. Includes electrical, electromagnetic, gravimetric, and seismic surveying, and wireline well logging. Concentration on problems in environmental science, hydrology, mineral prospecting, and oil exploration. 3 hours discussion. (004112)
Prerequisites: GEOS 306, GEOS 307; or faculty permission.
The integrative course dealing with origins and occurrences of metallic and non-metallic mineral deposits, including factors in their use. 3 hours discussion. (004111)
Prerequisite: GEOS 307 or faculty permisison.
Geological principles and environmental impacts of exploring for and exploiting resources of petroleum, natural gas, oil shales, oil sands, coal, and coalbed-methane. Applications using geological data, potential sites for CO2 sequestration and environmental impact assessments are emphasized. 3 hours lecture. (020574)
Prerequisites: CHEM 111, GEOS 102. Recommended: GEOS 306.
Investigation of the chemistry of minerals, rocks, and natural waters. Provides students with interests in geology, hydrology, environmental science, and other disciplines a background on the chemical compositions of rocks, minerals, and natural waters; chemical processes in the formation of rocks and waters; principles of reaction chemistry, thermodynamics, and kinetics applied to geochemical systems; and migration of chemical contaminants in the environment. 3 hours lecture. (004115)
Prerequisites: GEOS 102, GEOS 203, GEOS 306. For majors in related sciences and technical fields, GEOS 102 only.
Practical application of techniques to solve geological engineering and environmental problems. Techniques of surface investigations and remote sensing; borehole and surface geophysics; soil descriptions and properties; landslide mapping, mechanics and remediation, subsurface investigation of rock masses; mapping of discontinuities, establishing rock quality, tunneling techniques. Seismic studies; surface and trench mapping of faults, seismic risk analysis. Ground water monitoring, site assessment, techniques of hazardous waste cleanup, state and federal regulations on hazardous waste, siting of landfills. 3 hours lecture. (004116)

Electives Requirement:

To complete the total units required for the bachelor's degree, select additional elective courses from the total University offerings. You should consult with an advisor regarding the selection of courses which will provide breadth to your University experience and possibly apply to a supportive second major or minor.

Grading Requirement:

All courses taken to fulfill major course requirements must be taken for a letter grade except those courses specified by the department as Credit/No Credit grading only.

Advising Requirement:

Advising is mandatory for all majors in this degree program. Consult your undergraduate advisor for specific information.

Honors in the Major:

Honors in the Major is a program of independent work in your major. It requires 6 units of honors course work completed over two semesters.

The Honors in the Major program allows you to work closely with a faculty mentor in your area of interest on an original performance or research project. This year-long collaboration allows you to work in your field at a professional level and culminates in a public presentation of your work. Students sometimes take their projects beyond the University for submission in professional journals, presentation at conferences, or academic competition. Such experience is valuable for graduate school and professional life. Your honors work will be recognized at your graduation, on your permanent transcripts, and on your diploma. It is often accompanied by letters of commendation from your mentor in the department or the department chair.

Some common features of Honors in the Major program are:

  1. You must take 6 units of Honors in the Major course work. All 6 units are honors classes (marked by a suffix of H), and at least 3 of these units are independent study (399H, 499H, 599H) as specified by your department. You must complete each class with a minimum grade of B.
  2. You must have completed 9 units of upper-division course work or 21 overall units in your major before you can be admitted to Honors in the Major. Check the requirements for your major carefully, as there may be specific courses that must be included in these units.
  3. Your cumulative GPA should be at least 3.5 or within the top 5% of majors in your department.
  4. Your GPA in your major should be at least 3.5 or within the top 5% of majors in your department.
  5. Most students apply for or are invited to participate in Honors in the Major during the second semester of their junior year. Then they complete the 6 units of course work over the two semesters of their senior year.
  6. Your honors work culminates with a public presentation of your honors project.

While Honors in the Major is part of the Honors Program, each department administers its own program. Please contact your major department or major advisor to apply.

Catalog Cycle:12