Courses & Requirements

Courses & Requirements

Geology

Overview

The mission of the Geology major is to foster in students an understanding of the Earth: the processes that affect its surface and interior; its formation and evolution through time; and its functioning as the physical environment for the living world. The major accomplishes this goal by offering to students a set of coordinated experiences in the classroom, laboratory, and field. Geology is an intrinsically interdisciplinary science, drawing upon the tools of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, and environmental science to examine problems that range in scale from a single mineral grain to the entire solar system. Geology majors learn to work together on inquiry-based laboratory and field projects, and each produces a Senior Thesis describing independent research they have undertaken with a faculty mentor. There is a special emphasis on articulating ideas orally, graphically, and in writing, skills that are valuable not only in science but also in the many other careers where geology majors from Occidental have found success. Geology is a global science, and so students who have made progress in the major as sophomores are encouraged to study abroad for a semester during their junior year. The Geology major expresses the Department's commitment to prepare students to excel in an increasingly complex and environmentally stressed world.

Major Requirements

COURSEWORK

The following courses (13) are required for completion of the major program in the Department of Geology:

Fundamental Coursework:

GEO 105Earth: Our Environment

4

Or

GEO 106Earth and the Human Future

4

 

And

GEO 215Evolution of the Earth

4

GEO 225Introduction to Field Methods

4

GEO 235Global Geophysics and Tectonics

4

GEO 305Earth Materials

4

GEO 324Advanced Field Mapping

2

GEO 325Structural Geology

4

GEO 345Petrology

4

GEO 490Senior Seminar and Thesis Research

4

 

And

GEO 315Sedimentary Geology

4

Or

GEO 342Geomorphology

4

Electives

Students must select an additional three courses from the list below:

GEO 245Earth's Climate: Past and Future

4

GEO 255Spatial Analysis with Geographic Information Science

4

GEO 355Paleomagnetism

4

GEO 390Special Topics in Geology

5

 

GEO 315Sedimentary Geology

4

Or

GEO 342Geomorphology

4

Note: Students may not use one course to satisfy two requirements ("double-dip") within the major.

Mathematics Component:

Choose one option

Option 1-
MATH 120Calculus 2

4

Or department approved equivalent.

Option 2-
MATH 110Calculus 1

4

And

Department-approved statistics course

Environmental Science Concentration in Geology

Introduction to Geology:

GEO 105Earth: Our Environment

4

Or

GEO 106Earth and the Human Future

4

Introduction to Biology:

Students must select one course from the list below:

BIO 105Marine Biology

4

BIO 106Biology of California

4

BIO 110Organisms on Earth

4

BIO 115General Zoology

4

Environmental Biology:

BIO 260Biodiversity and Organization of Marine Ecosystems

4

Or

BIO 270Ecology

4

Economics Component:

ECON 101Principles of Economics I

4

And

ECON 301Environmental Economics and Policy

4

Fundamental Geology:

GEO 225Introduction to Field Methods

4

GEO 235Global Geophysics and Tectonics

4

GEO 245Earth's Climate: Past and Future

4

GEO 255Spatial Analysis with Geographic Information Science

4

GEO 305Earth Materials

4

GEO 324Advanced Field Mapping

2

GEO 325Structural Geology

4

GEO 490Senior Seminar and Thesis Research

4

And

 

GEO 315Sedimentary Geology

4

Or

GEO 342Geomorphology

4

Mathematics Component:

Students must select one option from below:

Option 1-
MATH 120Calculus 2

4

Or department approved equivalent.

Option 2-
MATH 110Calculus 1

4

And

Department-approved statistics course

All graduate schools and professional careers in geology or environmental science require at least a basic understanding of chemistry and physics. Students considering graduate school or professional careers in these fields should also take the following courses: CHEM 120; PHYS 110 and PHYS 120 or PHYS 115 and PHYS 125.

WRITING REQUIREMENT

Students majoring in Geology will satisfy the final component of Occidental College's college-wide writing requirement by submitting a portfolio of at least two papers from any of the intermediate- or advanced-level writing-intensive Geology courses normally required for the major (or appropriate course work). Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Requirement and consult the department chair for additional information.

COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT

The comprehensive requirement in Geology is met by a passing grade on the senior comprehensive project. The senior comprehensive project is based on research conducted under the supervision of Department faculty or in an off-campus summer research program or field camp. This project can be started as early as the Junior year and typically involves field or laboratory work during the summer between Junior and Senior years. Seniors are expected to present their research orally and submit a written thesis by Spring Break. During the Fall semester of senior year, all Geology majors attend a senior seminar (GEO 490 or equivalent). A major goal of these meetings is to help students make timely progress on their comprehensive projects.

HONORS

Students with a GPA of at least 3.25 are eligible to graduate with honors in geology. For these students, a larger senior thesis is planned, and students start their research earlier than the fall of their senior year. For this extra work, the honors student receives additional course credit beyond credit for comprehensives. Refer also to the general College policies regarding the Honors Program.

GEOLOGY COURSE NUMBERING

GEO 105 is open to first-year and second-year students only; 200-level courses are open to any student who has completed GEO 105; 300-level courses are intended for junior and senior geology majors and minors; 400-level seminars are for senior majors.

Minor Requirements

Coursework

GEO 105Earth: Our Environment

4

GEO 215Evolution of the Earth

4

GEO 235Global Geophysics and Tectonics

4

Two additional GEO electives

To be selected with department approval.

Courses

Geology Courses