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The Bachelor of Science in Geosciences

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: 64-66 units

Completion of the following courses, or their approved transfer equivalents, is required of all candidates for this degree. Additional required courses, depending upon the selected option are outlined following the major core program requirements.

Major Core Program: 45-46 units

Lower-Division Requirements: 32-33 units

5 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: Completion of ELM requirement; 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. This is an approved General Education course. (001816)
Prerequisites: CHEM 111 with a grade of C- or better.
A continuation of CHEM 111. Chemical energetics, rates of reaction, acids and bases, solubility, oxidation-reduction, and nuclear chemistry. 3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (001817)
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. This is an approved General Education course. (004069)
Origin and evolution of the universe. Topics include black holes, pulsars, quasars, life in the universe, and interstellar communication. Constellation study in Roth Planetarium and telescope observation of stars and galaxies at Observatory. 2 hours lecture, 2 hours activity. This is an approved General Education course. (004129)
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)

2 courses 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. This is an approved General Education course. (007394)

AND (Both the above and following course must be taken)

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: PHYS 202A with a grade of C- or higher.
Light, electricity, magnetism, selected topics in modern physics. Science majors are encouraged to take PHYS 204B instead of this course. Algebra and trigonometry are used. 3 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. (007395)

Or two of the following courses may be substituted for PHYS 202A and PHYS 202B.

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
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. This is an approved General Education course. (007401)
Prerequisites: MATH 121, PHYS 204A with a grade of C- or higher.
Charge and matter, electric field, Gauss' law, electric potential, capacitors and dielectrics, current and resistance, magnetic field, Ampere's law, Faraday's law of induction, magnetic properties of matter, electromagnetic oscillations and waves. Calculus used. 3 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. (007402)
Prerequisites: MATH 121, PHYS 204A with a grade of C- or higher.
Temperature, first and second law of thermodynamics, and kinetic theory. Waves in elastic media, standing waves and resonance, and sound. Ray and wave optics, reflection, refraction, lenses, mirrors, diffraction, and polarization. Selected topics in modern physics. Calculus used. 3 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. (007403)

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: Completion of ELM requirement; MATH 118, MATH 119 (or High School equivalents).
This course covers the fundamental concepts and techniques of differential and integral calculus with an introduction to differential equations. Emphasis on applications from the Life Sciences. This course is not intended for majors in mathematics, physics, chemistry, or engineering. No credit for students with credit in MATH 120. A grade of C- or higher is required for GE credit. 4 hours discussion. This is an approved General Education course. (005512)
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. This is an approved General Education course. (005506)

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)

Upper-Division Requirements: 13 units

4 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: ENGL 130 or JOUR 130 (or equivalent) with a grade of C- or higher; CHEM 107 or CHEM 111; PHYS 202A or PHYS 204A or PHYS 341.
An intermediate treatment of astronomy, meteorology, and oceanography, with emphasis on climate change and its impacts. 3 hours discussion. This is an approved Writing Proficiency course; a grade of C- or better certifies writing proficiency for majors. (004137)
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: MATH 120; either PHYS 202B or PHYS 204C.
Survey of physical and dynamic meteorology. Topics covered include thermodynamics, radiation, clouds and precipitation formation, tropical and extratropical weather systems, forecasting, and climate change. 3 hours lecture. (004140)
Prerequisites: Both GEOS 102 and GEOS 105, or NSCI 342.
This course provides students with classroom experience that utilizes a variety of interactive, engaging teaching styles that develop and reinforce skills and concepts through open-ended activities such as direct instruction, discourse, demonstrations, individual and cooperative learning explorations, peer instruction, and student-centered discussion. 9 hours supervision. (020329)

Major Option Course Requirements: 19-20 units

The following courses, or their approved transfer equivalents, are required dependent upon the option chosen. Students must select one of the following options for completion of the major course requirements.  Use the links below to jump to your chosen option.



The Option in Physical Science Education: 19-20 units

This option provides students with a good foundation in each of the physical sciences so that they are prepared to pass the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) in Earth Science. Students who complete the program are also prepared to pass the General Science CSET, which will allow them to teach general science at the middle school level.

Lower-Division Requirements: 7-8 units

1 course required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: CHEM 112.
An introduction to the theory and mechanism of organic reactions. To be followed by CHEM 370, which completes the two-semester sequence for science majors. 3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (001840)

1 course selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: Recommend CHEM 111 or concurrent enrollment.
Introduction to biological molecules, bioenergetics, cellular structure and function, elements of molecular biology and genetics, and mechanisms of macroevolution and systematics. 3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. This is an approved General Education course. (001122)
An integrated study of the nature and interactions of living things and their environments. This course is an introduction to the processes of evolution and speciation, ecology and ecosystem processes, cellular biology and organismal physiology. The course is primarily for students without a strong background in high school biology or chemistry. The course includes online content delivery, in-class discussion, and a hands-on activity session. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This is an approved General Education course. (020372)

Upper-Division Requirements: 12 units

4 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: One biological sciences course.
Analysis of the evidence for evolution and the nature of the process. Darwinism, neo-Darwinism, sociobiology, conflicts and misconceptions regarding evolution, creationism, and evolution of the human body and mind are considered. 3 hours discussion.This is an approved Writing Intensive course. This is an approved General Education Capstone course. (021355)
Prerequisites: CHEM 112, CHEM 270. CHEM 320 is recommended.
This is a special course for science majors and minors who plan on pursuing a career in chemistry education at the secondary school level. Topics include laboratory and stockroom management, planning and running high school-level chemistry laboratory experiments, and mastery of chemistry content related to the high school curriculum. Students also have the opportunity to function as teaching assistants in lower-division chemistry laboratories. 2 hours lecture, 2 hours activity. (020153)
Prerequisites: CHEM 112.
A general study of the chemistry of the geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere; special focus on the sources and fates of inorganic environmental pollutants. 3 hours discussion. (001881)
Application of basic principles of physics to a study of acoustics. Topics include measurement of sound, acoustics of musical instruments, electric production of sound, room acoustics, and environmental noise pollution. Especially recommended for music and speech pathology majors. 3 hours lecture. (007350)

The Option in Science Education with a Concentration in Geosciences: 20 units

This option is an approved Subject Matter Preparation Program for Science with a Concentration in Geoscience. Thus it fulfills one of the requirements for admission into a single subject teaching credential program. See the Single Subject Matter Preparation Program in Science section which follows for more information.

Lower-Division Requirements: 8 units

2 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisites: Recommend CHEM 111 or concurrent enrollment.
Introduction to biological molecules, bioenergetics, cellular structure and function, elements of molecular biology and genetics, and mechanisms of macroevolution and systematics. 3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. This is an approved General Education course. (001122)
Prerequisites: BIOL 151 or faculty permission; recommend CHEM 112 or concurrent enrollment.
Introduction to evolutionary history and biological diversity, microbes and protists, invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants. Form and function of plants and animals. Ecological principles. 3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. This is an approved General Education course. (001123)

Upper-Division Requirements: 12 units

5 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 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 101 or GEOS 102, GEOS 203.
This is a supervised internship in geoscience teaching which takes place in a local junior high or high school geoscience classroom, supervised by the classroom teacher and by a faculty member of the CSUC Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. 9 hours supervision. Credit/no credit grading. (020620)

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:14