Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences

The Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences serves as a professional degree for students planning careers as geologists, geophysicists, or teachers, as well as for those planning to pursue graduate work in the geosciences or a profession such as law or business. Careers are available in the petroleum and related energy industries, resource evaluation, mineral exploration, geologic hazard monitoring, environmental control and reclamation, building foundation evaluation, groundwater contamination studies, soil testing, regional planning, watershed management, climate modeling, and college or secondary school teaching. Graduates may also work in state or federal agencies, in universities or museums, with consulting firms, or with service companies to the energy and mineral industries.

Degree requirements are divided into three categories: university-wide undergraduate degree requirements (the University core curriculum) and flag requirements, prescribed work for the degree, and major requirements. Taken together, these courses constitute a degree option, a degree plan with a particular concentration or emphasis. Thus, students may develop intellectually challenging yet different plans of study according to their personal interests and goals. 

Students seeking the Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences degree must choose one of four options--I: General Geology, II: Geophysics, III: Hydrogeology, or V: Teaching. (Option IV: Environmental Science and Sustainability is no longer offered.)

Requirements for All Geological Sciences Degree Plans

Each student must complete the University's core curriculum.  In the process of completing core curriculum and geological sciences degree requirements, students must also earn credit for seven flags including: two writing flags, one quantitative reasoning flag, one global cultures flag, one cultural diversity in the United States flag, one ethics flag, and one independent inquiry flag. In some cases, a course required for the degree/major may also be counted toward the core curriculum.  Flags may be added to courses periodically; courses that may be used to fulfill flag requirements are identified in the Course ScheduleStudents are encouraged to discuss options for completing flag requirements with their academic advisor.  

A course in one prescribed work area may not also be used to fulfill the requirements of another prescribed work or major requirement; the only exception to this rule is that a course that fulfills any other requirement may also be used to fulfill a core curriculum requirement, or a flag requirement if the course carries that flag, unless otherwise specified.

GPA Requirements: A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 is required on all work undertaken at the University for which a grade or symbol other than Q, W, X, or CR is recorded. In addition, a grade point average of at least 2.00 is required in geological sciences courses counted toward the major requirement.

Course Grades: A grade of at least C- is required in each course used to fulfill any of the requirements for the degree. The official grade in a course is the last one made; however, if a student repeats a course and has two or more grades, all grades and all semester hours are used to calculate the University grade point average and to determine the student’s scholastic eligibility to remain in the University and the student's academic standing in the Jackson School of Geosciences.

In-residence Coursework: All University students must complete at least 60 semester hours of the coursework counted towards the degree in residence. Individual degree(s) or degree options may contain additional course residency requirements.

In addition, the student must fulfill the University’s general requirements and the requirements of the Jackson School of Geosciences. 

Additional Requirements Specific to the BS Geological Sciences, Options I, II, & III

In-residence Coursework: Every student in the BS Geological Sciences, Option I, II or III degree plan must complete at least 36 semester hours of upper-division coursework in residence at the University. At least 18 of these upper-division hours must be in geological sciences and at least 12 hours must be from areas outside of geological sciences. 

Technical Coursework: Students in the BS Geological Sciences, Option I, II or III must complete at least two-thirds of all technical coursework required for the degree (calculus, chemistry, and physics) at the University. Requests to take required technical coursework at another school, online, by correspondence or extension at the University must be approved by the JSG Academic Affairs Office prior to registration. Coursework completed outside of the University without approval may not be used to fulfill degree or school scholarship eligibility requirements.

Total Degree Hours: A total of 126 hours of coursework including core, prescribed, and major work is required.

Prescribed Work

BS Geological Sciences, Option I, II & III

  1. Mathematics 408C and 408D; or 408K, 408L, and 408MMathematics 408C or 408K also meets the mathematics requirement of the core curriculum. Algebra courses at the level of Mathematics 301 or the equivalent may not be counted toward the total number of semester hours required for the degree.
  2. Physics 301, 101L, 316, and 116L; or Physics 303K103M, 303L, and 103N.
  3. Chemistry 301 and 302. Together, requirements 2 and 3 also meet parts I and II of the science and technology requirement of the core curriculum.
  4. Geological Sciences 401 or 303, 416K, 416M, 420K, 325G and 428.
  5. Technical Electives: Twelve semester hours of approved science and engineering courses with no more than six semester hours of lower-division courses.  These courses may be coordinated with recommended upper-division GEO elective courses to form a geoscience course concentration.  A list of approved courses is available in the JSG Advising Office.
  6. Foreign language/culture: Students must complete one of the following options: (a) Second-semester proficiency in a foreign language; (b) First-semester level proficiency in a foreign language, and a three-hour course in the culture of the same language area (from approved list), or; (c) Two three-hour courses chosen from one foreign culture category (from approved list). A list of approved cultural courses is available in the JSG Advising Office. Courses that fulfill this requirement must be in addition to courses counted toward the core curriculum or flag requirements.