Geological Sciences Major, B.A.–Earth Science Concentration
Department of Geological Sciences
104 South Road, Mitchell Hall, CB# 3315
The study of earth’s dynamic systems is a field that has seen major advances over the last few decades. Geologists investigate diverse systems that play a large role in controlling the environment at the earth’s surface.
- Geological Sciences Major, B.A.–Earth Science
- Geological Sciences Major, B.S.–Earth Science
- Geological Sciences Major, B.S.–Environmental Geoscience
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the geological sciences program (B.A.), students should be able to:
- Demonstrate broad knowledge of core geological concepts
- Produce written synthesis of professional journal articles dealing with topics covered in advanced courses
- Make a clear and effective oral presentation
- Apply knowledge and skills from coursework in a significant field experience in an area of geological sciences
In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must
- attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
- complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
- take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
- earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).
For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.
|GEOL 200||The Solid Earth||3|
|GEOL 201||Earth's Surface: Processes, Landforms, and History||3|
|A minimum of 11 credits from the following GEOL courses:||11|
|Earth Systems History|
|Geology of North America|
|Sedimentology and Stratigraphy|
|Petrology and Plate Tectonics|
|Water in Our World: Introduction to Hydrologic Science and Environmental Problems|
and Water in Our World Laboratory
|Summer Field Course in Geology|
and Summer Field Course in Geology
|Undergraduate Research in Geology 1|
Science-oriented Experiential Education (EE) courses (6 credits total). 2
|General Descriptive Chemistry I|
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I
|MATH 130||Precalculus Mathematics||3|
|At least three geology and/or allied science electives not otherwise required for the major (see below chart)||9|
6 credits of independent research
Must be pre-approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Geology and/or Allied Science Electives Not Otherwise Required for the Major
|ANTH 143||Human Evolution and Adaptation||3|
|ANTH 220||Principles of Archaeology||3|
|ANTH 315||Human Genetics and Evolution||3|
|ANTH 317||Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Adaptation and Behavior||3|
|ANTH 414||Laboratory Methods: Human Osteology||3|
|any Astronomy (ASTR)|
|any Biochemistry (BIOC) except BIOC 107 and BIOC 108|
|Principles of Biology|
and Introductory Biology Laboratory H
|or any Biology (BIOL) above BIOL 113|
|any Chemistry (CHEM) above CHEM 101|
|any Computer Science (COMP) except COMP 50, COMP 70, and COMP 380|
|ECON 101||Introduction to Economics H||3|
|ECON 454||Economics of Population||3|
|ENEC 489||Ecological Processes in Environmental Systems||4|
|ENEC 490||Special Topics in Environmental Science and Studies H||1-12|
|any Environmental Health Sciences (ENVR) except ENVR 600|
|GEOG 370||Introduction to Geographic Information||3|
|GEOG 410||Modeling of Environmental Systems||3|
|GEOG 412||Synoptic Meteorology||3|
|GEOG 414||Climate Change||3|
|GEOG 416||Applied Climatology: The Impacts of Climate and Weather on Environmental and Social Systems||3|
|GEOG 440||Earth Surface Processes||3|
|GEOG 441||Introduction to Watershed Systems||3|
|GEOG 444||Landscape Biogeography||3|
|any Geography (GEOG) above GEOG 477|
|any Geological Sciences (GEOL)|
|any Marine Sciences (MASC) above MASC 101|
|any Mathematics (MATH) above MATH 130|
|any Physics (PHYS) except PHYS 101, PHYS 132, and PHYS 313|
|any Statistics and Operations Research (STOR) STOR 155 or above|
Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.
Students also must satisfy all General Education requirements.
Course descriptions for:
Special Opportunities in Geological Sciences
Honors in Geological Sciences
The honors program in the Department of Geological Sciences is open to undergraduates with an overall grade point average of 3.3 or better as of the beginning of the fall semester of the senior year. To participate in this program, the student chooses a research topic in consultation with his or her chosen faculty sponsor and conducts the research during the last two semesters in residence. The research project should represent the equivalent time expenditure of six hours of course credit and is taken as GEOL 691H (fall semester) and GEOL 692H (spring semester).
Upon recommendation of the faculty, students may be awarded the degree with honors or highest honors. Highest honors is reserved for students who have distinguished themselves in both coursework and independent research. In order to obtain this distinction the student must maintain a grade point average of 3.60 or higher and complete a research project that is worthy of peer-reviewed publication.
The Department of Geological Sciences encourages the active participation of undergraduates in department research, teaching, and social life. In addition to opportunities for experiential education and teaching internships described below, the department has an active Geology Honor Fraternity and Geology Club and regularly sponsors field excursions, career information sessions, and social events. Dates, times, and locations for all events are posted on the Web site and in the main lobby on the first floor of Mitchell Hall.
Many geology courses emphasize experiential learning through field and laboratory work. Most degree tracks include a field geology course (GEOL 485 and GEOL 486 or a similar course in another department) that fulfills the experiential education General Education requirement. Additionally, all students are encouraged to contact faculty members about conducting independent research, either as an honors thesis or a senior thesis project.
The UNC Baccalaureate Education in Science and Teaching (UNC–BEST) Program is a collaboration between the School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences and is designed to allow undergraduate science majors interested in teaching high school science the opportunity to earn their science degree and obtain licensure as a North Carolina high school science teacher in four years.
|Core education courses|
|EDUC 516||Introduction to the Education of Exceptional Learners||3|
|or EDUC 689||Foundations of Special Education|
|EDUC 532||Introduction to Development and Learning||3|
|EDUC 615||Schools and Community Collaboration||3|
|EDUC 593||Internship/Student Teaching||1-12|
|EDUC 601||Education Workshops||1-3|
|Teaching methods course|
|GEOL 412||Principles and Methods of Teaching Earth Science||4|
For more details on admission requirements, application deadlines, and submitting an online application, visit the School of Education Web site.
Although the department has no formalized study abroad program, many students participate in a study abroad program, and some receive credit for geology coursework completed abroad. Students interested in a study abroad program should contact the director of undergraduate studies. Students must receive approval from the director of undergraduate studies prior to taking courses abroad for geology credit.
The Op White Prize in Geology, established in 1966, consists of a cash prize and an engraved bronze plaque displayed in the geology office. The award is given annually to the outstanding senior in geology.
Field Camp Scholarships
Several scholarships for geology field camp are awarded each year from the Grover Murray and Anadarko funds.
The Department of Geological Sciences encourages qualified undergraduate students to conduct independent research on an interesting geologic topic under the direction of a geological sciences faculty member. This research can be conducted as a one- to four-credit hour project (GEOL 395) or in conjunction with the geology honors program.