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

Bachelor of Arts in Geological Sciences

The Bachelor of Arts in Geological Sciences (BAGeoSci) is a classical arts and sciences degree that gives students a great deal of flexibility in their choice of upper-division geological sciences courses. Students must complete courses in the natural sciences, the social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities. This diversity of subjects provides an opportunity to learn about basic differences in outlook among different disciplines, the ways questions are raised and answered, and the ways the answers are validated and made relevant in practical use. The Bachelor of Arts in Geological Sciences also provides for a minor made up of four courses in another field, including two upper-division courses. These choices let students combine their interests in liberal arts and geosciences to prepare for professions such as business, journalism, resource management, public policy, law, and medicine.

Another option for outstanding students interested in geology is the Bachelor of Arts, Plan II , offered by the College of Liberal Arts. This broad liberal arts honors program emphasizes the humanities but also permits a concentration in science that is equivalent to a major. Students who plan to become professional geoscientists should pursue one of the BSGeoSci degree options.

A total of 120 semester hours is required. Thirty-six hours must be in upper-division courses. At least sixty hours, including eighteen hours of upper-division coursework, must be completed in residence at the University; at least twenty-four of the last thirty hours must be completed in residence at the University. As long as these residence rules are met, credit may be earned by examination, by extension, by correspondence (up to 30 percent of the semester hours required for the degree), or, with the approval of the dean, by work transferred from another institution.

The coursework counted toward the degree may include no more than thirty-six hours in any one field of study in the College of Liberal Arts or the College of Natural Sciences; and no more than thirty-six hours in any other single college or school of the University, including the Jackson School.

No coursework to be counted toward the degree may be taken on the pass/fail basis.

All students must complete the University’s core curriculum . In the process of fulfilling the core curriculum and other degree requirements, all students are expected to complete the following Skills and Experience flags:

  1. Writing: two flagged courses beyond Rhetoric and Writing 306 or its equivalent
  2. Quantitative reasoning: one flagged course
  3. Global cultures: one flagged course
  4. Cultural diversity in the United States: one flagged course
  5. Ethics and leadership: one flagged course
  6. Independent inquiry: one flagged course

The specific requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Geological Sciences consist of prescribed work, major and minor requirements, and electives. In some cases, a course that is required for the degree may also be counted toward the core curriculum. A course in one prescribed work area may not also be used to fulfill the requirements of another prescribed work area; the only exception to this rule is that a course that fulfills any other requirement may also be used to fulfill a flag requirement if the course carries that flag, unless otherwise specified. In addition, the student must fulfill the University's general requirements , and the requirements of the Jackson School given in special requirements of the college .

Prescribed Work

  1. Foreign language: Four semesters, or the equivalent, in a single foreign language. The foreign language requirement is the attainment of a certain proficiency, rather than the completion of a specified number of hours. Any part of the requirement may be fulfilled by credit by examination. To achieve proficiency in a foreign language as rapidly as possible, qualified students are urged to take intensive foreign language courses. Information about these courses is available from the departments that offer them. Courses used to fulfill the foreign language requirement must be language courses; literature-in-translation courses, for example, may not be counted.
  2. Social science: Three semester hours in social science, in addition to the course counted toward the social and behavioral sciences requirement of the core curriculum. The course must be chosen from the following fields; it must be in a different field from the course used to fulfill the core curriculum social and behavioral sciences requirement.
    1. Anthropology
    2. Economics
    3. Geography
    4. Linguistics
    5. Psychology
    6. Sociology
  3. Natural science: Six semester hours in natural sciences, in addition to the courses counted toward the science and technology requirements of the core curriculum. Courses must be chosen from the following fields; no more than three hours may be in either the history of science or the philosophy of science.
    1. Astronomy
    2. Biology
    3. Chemistry
    4. Marine science
    5. Nutrition
    6. Physical science
    7. Physics
    8. Mathematics
    9. Computer science
    10. Experimental psychology
    11. Physical anthropology
    12. Physical geography
    13. Philosophy (courses in logic)
    14. History of science and philosophy of science
    15. Other fields approved by the dean
  4. General culture: Three semester hours in addition to the course counted toward the visual and performing arts requirement of the core curriculum. Courses in the following fields may be used:
    1. Architecture
    2. Classical civilization, Greek, Latin
    3. Art history, design, ensemble, fine arts, instruments, music, studio art, theatre and dance, visual art studies
    4. Philosophy (excluding courses in logic)
    5. Approved interdisciplinary courses including, but not limited to, those in programs of special concentration cutting across specific departments, schools, or colleges. Lists of approved courses are available in the Undergraduate Student Services Office.

The BA Major and Minor

With the exception of courses that fulfill a flag requirement, a course taken to fulfill the requirements under “Prescribed Work” above may not also be counted toward fulfillment of the major and minor requirements.

Residence Requirements for the Major

At least eighteen semester hours of coursework in geological sciences, including six hours of upper-division coursework, must be completed in residence at the University.

Course Requirements for the Major

Geological Sciences 401 or 303, 404C or 405, 416K, 416M, 420K, and enough additional upper-division coursework in geological sciences to make a total of thirty-two semester hours; six semester hours in biology; Chemistry 301 and 302; and three semester hours in physics.


Twelve semester hours, of which at least six must be in upper-division coursework, in any one of the following disciplines: anthropology, astronomy, biology, business, computer science, chemistry, education, engineering, geography, mathematics, or physics. Other disciplines may be chosen with submission and approval of a petition through the Jackson School of Geosciences Student Services Office.


In addition to the core curriculum, the prescribed work, and the major and minor, the student must complete enough elective coursework to provide the 120 semester hours required for the degree. These 120 hours may include no more than twelve semester hours of Bible courses and no more than nine hours of air force science, military science, or naval science courses.