MAJOR: The following courses are required for completion of the major program in the Department of Geology: Geology 105 (or equivalent), 215, 225, 235, 305, 325, , 345, 490, and at least three of the following: Geology 245, 255, 342, 355, 365, or 4 credits of 390. Mathematics through Math 120 (or equivalent) or Math 110 and a Department-approved statistics course is also required. Students interested in Geology are encouraged to take Geology 150, which fulfills the intercultural core requirement.
All graduate schools and professional careers in geology require at least a basic understanding of chemistry and physics. Students considering graduate school or professional careers in geology should also take the following courses: Chemistry 120; Physics 110 and 120 or 115 and 125.
Environmental Science Concentration in GeologyEnvironmental Science is a Concentration that explores earth processes and ecosystems and develops skills that students need for environmental analysis and problem-solving. The Environmental Science Concentration is designed for students who want to more fully understand the biological and geologic foundation of Environmental Science and provides them with a shared academic experience and expertise within a specific scientific field. Participation in a core of introductory courses establishes the interdisciplinary breadth necessary for understanding complex environmental problems. Further specialization gives students a strong background in Biology or Geology, preparing them to become involved in research projects, fieldwork, internships, and environmental studies. Students will receive their Bachelor of Arts in Biology or Geology with an Environmental Science Concentration, enabling them to pursue graduate work in Biology, Geology or Environmental Science, and professional careers in these and related fields.
Environmental Science Introductory Core: (7 courses)
First level courses:
Earth: Our Environment (Geology 105)
Introductory Biology (105, 106, 110, or 115)
Introductory Economics (101)
Second level courses:
Spatial Analysis with GIS (Geo 255)
Earth's Climate: Past and Future (Geo 245)
Biodiversity and Organization of Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems (Bio 260)
or Ecology (Bio 270)
Environmental Economics (Econ 301) or another 300-level course dealing with environmental
policy, chosen in consultation with Academic Advisor.
Introduction to Field Methods (Geo 225)
Global Tectonics and Geophysics (Geo 235)
Earth Materials (Geo 305)
Structural Geology/Adv Mapping (Geo 325)
Geomorphology (Geo 342) or Sedimentary Geology (currently listed as Geo 390)
Senior Seminar (Geo 490)
Mathematics through Math 120 (or equivalent)
or Math 110 and a Department-approved statistics course
Recommended: Chemistry 120, Physics 110 or 115, 120 or 125 for students planning to attend graduate school or pursue a professional career in Geology or Environmental Science.
All graduate schools and professional careers in environmental geology require at least a basic understanding of chemistry and physics. Students considering graduate school or professional careers should also take the following courses: Chemistry 120; Physics 110 and 120 or 115 and 125.
As with all Geology majors, the comprehensive examination requirement is met by a passing grade on the senior thesis research project, as described below.
MINOR: Geology 105, 215, 235, and any other two courses in Geology to be selected with department approval.
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 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 (Geology 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: Geology 105 is open to first-year and second-year students only; 200-level courses are open to any student who has completed Geology 105; 300-level courses are intended for junior and senior geology majors and minors; 400-level seminars are for senior majors.