This is an archived copy of the 2014-16 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Degrees and Programs


The Jackson School offers the Bachelor of Arts in Geological Sciences, the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, the Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences, and, in partnership with the Cockrell School of Engineering, the Bachelor of Science in Geosystems Engineering and Hydrogeology. Whichever degree they pursue, geological sciences students must take courses in the Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG), the College of Natural Sciences, and the College of Liberal Arts. These units work together to meet students’ individual needs and to ensure that they receive a superior education. Graduation from an accredited program is an advantage when applying for a position in industry, membership in a professional society or for registration as a professional geologist.


The University and the Jackson School offer the following programs to supplement the degree plans mentioned above.

Undergraduate Research

The University offers an opportunity for undergraduates to participate in state-of-the-art research, for University credit, with distinguished scientists. If qualified, the student may also earn special departmental honors for exceptional research and may receive recognition through participation in the Bridging Disciplines Programs , or the annual Undergraduate Research Forum sponsored by the College of Natural Sciences. Additional information about undergraduate research is available from the Jackson School Undergraduate Student Services Office.

Field Experiences

Fieldwork is an integral part of the Jackson School of Geosciences undergraduate experience and culture. As freshmen, Jackson School students enjoy a unique two day orientation field trip before classes begin in the fall. Throughout their undergraduate career students have various opportunities to gain additional field experience as part of required coursework or smaller research trips. Students’ classroom, laboratory, and field experiences culminate with the completion of Geological Sciences 660, Field Geology. Additional field experiences in hydrogeology, geophysics, and marine geology are some of the expanding list of options available to students in discipline-specific areas.

Jackson Scholars Program

The Jackson Scholars program is a learning initiative designed to foster achievement, initiative and motivation in scholarship and community. A goal of the Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG) is to promote “scholars” in the broadest sense where a scholar is defined not solely by classroom performance but also by a willingness to take initiative and participate in research, governance, work experience, study abroad, and/or community service.

Interested students register for the program during their freshmen, sophomore, or junior year. To apply, students outline their intentions to complete activities in the areas of scholarships and service, and submit a final portfolio for review by the associate dean for academic affairs during their senior year. Requirements vary for the activities available and students are encouraged to consult with a member of the JSG student services team as well as participate in workshops and information sessions offered to Jackson Scholars throughout the academic year. 

A Jackson Scholar who completes all program requirements will be recognized at the Jackson School commencement ceremony.

Certificate in Computational Science and Engineering

For information about this transcript recognized certificate, see Certificate in Computational Science and Engineering . The Jackson School sponsors this program along with the Cockrell School of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Natural Sciences.

U-Teach Natural Sciences

The Jackson School participates in UTeach-Natural Sciences, an innovative teacher preparation program offered by the College of Natural Sciences and the College of Education that allows students to pursue middle grades and secondary school teacher certification within a four year mathematics, science, or computer science degree program. While learning the subject matter of their majors, students also learn how to teach. Upon completing the program, students graduate with a bachelor’s degree and are recommended for a middle grades or secondary school teaching certificate. The UTeach-Natural Sciences program invites students to explore their interest in teaching as early as their freshman year. Through courses taught by some of Texas’s most respected secondary school math and science teachers, students learn quickly whether they are suited to the profession.

A description of the UTeach-Natural Sciences curriculum is given in UTeach-Natural Sciences ; more information is available at the UTeach-Natural Sciences Office. In the Jackson School, the Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences teaching option prepares students to seek teacher certification.

Simultaneous Majors

A student in the Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG) may pursue two majors simultaneously. The student must follow all procedures and meet all requirements outlined in General Information as well as those associated with both majors. A JSG student may not pursue two geosciences majors simultaneously.

The simultaneous major option is available only to undergraduates who have completed thirty hours of coursework in residence at the University and who have been admitted to both degree programs.

Program Assessment Activities

Students in the Jackson School are required to participate in assessment activities related to maintaining accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in addition to their required coursework. Students are exempted from participation only in extenuating circumstances and with prior approval from the JSG Student Services office. 

Applicability of Certain Courses

Core Curriculum

Each student must complete the University’s core curriculum . The core curriculum includes the first-year signature course and courses in English composition, American and Texas government, American history, mathematics, science and technology, visual and performing arts, humanities, and social and behavioral sciences. The core must be an integral part of all geosciences degree programs so graduates will be aware of their social responsibilities and the effects of technology on society.


In the process of fulfilling geosciences degree requirements, students must also complete: two courses beyond Rhetoric and Writing 306, or its equivalent, with writing flags, one quantitative reasoning flag, one global cultures flag, one cultural diversity in the United States flag, one ethics and leadership flag, and one independent inquiry flag. Courses that may be used to fulfill flag requirements are identified in the Course Schedule and may be used simultaneously to fulfill other requirements, unless otherwise specified. Refer to the Undergraduate Studies chapter of this catalog for additional information regarding flag requirements .

Physical Activity Courses

Physical activity (PED) courses and Kinesiology 119 may not be counted toward a degree in the Jackson School. However, they are counted as courses for which the student is enrolled, and the grades are included in the grade point average.

ROTC Courses

The Departments of Air Force Science, Military Science, and Naval Science maintain ROTC units on campus. Information about each program is available from the chair of the department concerned.

Nine semester hours of coursework in air force science, military science, or naval science may be counted toward any degree in the Jackson School. Such credit may be used only as electives or to fulfill the writing requirement, and only by students who are commissioned by the University ROTC program.

Correspondence and Extension Courses

Concurrent enrollment is enrollment simultaneously at the University and at another educational institution or in any combination of correspondence, extension and online or distance education courses. During a long semester students enrolled in the Jackson School of Geosciences (JSG) are not allowed to take courses at another school or institution or by correspondence or extension at the University unless approved in advance by the associate dean for academic affairs. Students must submit a concurrent enrollment petition and meet with a JSG academic adviser for approval well in advance of the start of the requested course.  

A student in his or her final semester may not enroll concurrently at another institution in any course, including a distance education course, to be counted toward the degree. In the final semester, the student may also not enroll by extension or correspondence in coursework to be counted toward the degree. All transfer, extension, and correspondence coursework must be added to the student’s official record before his or her last semester.

No more than 30 percent of the semester hours required for any degree in the Jackson School may be completed online, by correspondence, or through distance learning, including University Extension courses. These courses are not included in certain metrics, such as total hours, residency status, etc., and therefore may affect students’ eligibility for some JSG programs.

Bible Courses

No more than twelve semester hours of Bible courses may be counted toward a degree.