Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate advisor (all programs):
Martin Streck (A - L)
Ben Perkins (M - Z) 

The Department of Geology offers programs leading to the bachelor’s degree in geology, as well as studies in numerical modeling, geochemistry, geomicrobiology, hydrogeology, engineering geology, planetary geology, and environmental geology.

The programs serve both majors in geology and non-majors: those who may wish to broaden their science background; those preparing to teach general or earth sciences or geology in elementary or secondary schools; and those preparing for a master’s or a doctoral degree.

Post- baccalaureate students (with a bachelor’s degree, not in geology)who wish to become professional geologists may complete this curriculum while doing both undergraduate and graduate work in geology.

Geologists are employed by government agencies at federal, state, county, and city levels; by independent consulting firms to work with engineers, architects and planners; in the construction, mining, and petroleum industries; and as teachers in elementary and high schools and at the college level.

Geologists who have graduated from PSU are employed, for example, in mitigation of environmental problems, assessment of ground and surface water resources, development of and exploration for mineral and fuel resources, management of mineral and fuel resources on private and public lands, urban planning, GIS, evaluation of the effects of forest roads and quarries on watershed health, management of their own companies, and instruction at all educational levels.

Students majoring in geology should plan to complete the required mathematics, chemistry, and physics courses as early in their program as possible.

Admission requirements: Admission to the department is based on general admission to the University. See University Bulletin for more information.

Students are encouraged to contact Scott Burns, undergraduate advisor, for help in designing a program leading to a minor in environmental geology, geology, or computer applications. Upper-division courses taken under the undifferentiated grading option (pass/ no pass) are not acceptable toward fulfilling department minor requirements.

The programs available are:

BS and BA in Geology.

Organizational Chart for BA/BS in Geology (PDF)

In addition to meeting the general University degree requirements, the major must meet the following departmental requirements:

  • G 201, 202 Physical Geology (6)
  • G 204, 205 Physical Geology Laboratory or
  • G 207 Computer Based Physical Geology Laboratory (2-3)
  • G 203 Historical Geology (3)
  • G 206 Historical Geology Laboratory (1)
  • G 312 Mineralogy (5)
  • G 314 Petrology (5)
  • G 318 Processes in the Surface Environment (5)
  • G 324 Computer Applications and Information Technology (5)
  • G 326 Numerical Modeling of Earth Systems (5)
  • G 434 Structural Geology and Tectonics (5)
  • G 435 Stratigraphy and Sedimentation (5)
  • G 485 Field Methods in Geosiences (4)

Total in Geology 51-52

At least sixteen credits of electives must be chosen from upper
division geology courses (excluding G301, G344, G345, G346, G351,
G352, G353, G355, G374, G430, G450, G452, G453, G454, G456,
G457 ). This may include up to 8 credits of upper division
mathematics, science, or engineering courses approved by
the undergraduate advisor. Students may use up to four
credits from an approved summer field camp course. (16)
Subtotal 67-68

Mathematics through calculus to include
Mth 251, 252, 261, 254 (16)
One year of 200-level chemistry or equivalent with labs (13-16)
Ph 201, 202, 203 plus labs; or
Ph 211, 212, 213 plus labs; or
Ph 211, Ph 212 plus labs and EAS 211 Statics (14-15)
Subtotal 43-47
Total 110-115

BS and BA in Earth Science.

In addition to meeting the general University degree requirements,
the major must meet the following department requirements:

  • G 201, 202 Geology (6)
  • G 204, 205 Geology Laboratory or
  • G 207 Computer Based Geology Laboratory (2-3)
  • G 203 Historical Geology (3)
  • G 206 Historical Geology Laboratory (1)
  • G 200 Field Studies (1)
  • G 312 Mineralogy (5)
  • G 314 Petrology (5)
  • G 318 Processes in the Surface Environment (5)


At least sixteen credits of electives must be chosen from upper
division geology courses (excluding G301, G344, G345, G346,
G351, G352, G353, G374, G430, G452, G453, G454, G456,
G457) (may include either G355 or G450). Up to 8 credits may
be taken in upper division math, science, or engineering.

Eight credits from the following courses:

  • G 344 Geology and the National Parks (4)
  • G 345 Life in the Universe (4)
  • G 346 Exploring Mars (4)
  • G 351 Introduction to Oceanography (4)
  • G 352 Minerals in World Affairs (4)
  • G 353 Natural History of Dinosaurs (4)
  • G 374 Geomorphic Processes (4)
  • G 430 Life of the Past (4)
  • G 452 Geology of the Oregon Country or (4)
  • G 453 Geology of the Pacific Northwest (1) (3 maximum)
  • G 454 Cascade Volcanoes (4)
  • G 456 Astrogeology (4)
  • G 457 Volcanoes and Earthquakes (4)
Total in geology (minimum): 52-53

Upper-division credits in pre-approved sustainability-related
courses (8)
Mathematics to include either
Option 1: Math to include Mth 251
Option 2: Math to include Mth 111 and Mth 212 (4-8) (minimum)
Statistics to include Stat 243:
Stat 244 recommended (4)
One year of 200-level chemistry or equivalent with labs (15)
One year of 200-level biology plus labs or
One year of 200-level physics plus labs (15)
Subtotal 46-50

Total 98-103
Courses taken under the undifferentiated grading option (pass/no pass
are not acceptable toward fulfilling departmental major requirements.

Minors

Minors offered include a Minor in Geology, a Minor in Environmental Geology, a Minor in Computer Applications, and a Minor in Space and Planetary Science.

The academic advisor for all minor options in the Department of Geology is Martin Streck.

Minor in Geology

Requirements for a Minor in Geology. To earn a Minor in Geology, a student must complete 29 credits (at least 14 credits of which must be taken in residence at PSU), to include the following:

9 credits:

  • G 200 Field Studies (1 credit)
  • G 201, 202 Geology (6 credits)
  • G 204, 205 Geology Laboratory (2 credits) or G 207 Computer-based Geology Laboratory (2-3 credits)

20 credits:

  • 20 upper division credits in Geology

Minor in Computer Applications

The Minor in Computer Applications may be obtained along with either departmental major. This minor is designed to teach the application of computers and to acquaint the student with hardware/software function and design concepts appropriate to modern academic disciplines. The minor can be tailored to the specific needs of the student.

Requirements for a Minor in Computer Applications. To earn a minor in computer applications with an emphasis in geosciences, a student must complete 30 credits (at least 24 credits of which must be taken in residence at PSU) to include the following:

  • 100- or 200-level computer science course (4 credits)
  • G 324 Computer Applications and Information Technology (5 credits)
  • G 326 Numerical Modeling of Earth Systems (5 credits)
  • Three adviser-approved courses in advanced computer applications, with at least 4 credits outside of geology. These courses may come from any unit in the University but may not include 405 reading/ conference courses (12 credits)
  • A one-term adviser-approved, upper-division research project or practicum (4 credits)

Minor in Environmental Geology

Requirements for a Minor in Environmental Geology. To earn a minor in environmental geology, a student must complete 29 credits (at least 14 credits of which must be taken in residence at PSU) to include the following: Sixteen upper-division credits chosen from:

  • G 200 Field Studies (1 credit)
  • G 201, 202 Geology (6 credits)
  • G 204, 205 Geology Laboratory (2 credits) or G 207 Computer-based Geology Laboratory (3 credits)
  • G 460 Soil Geomorphology or G 461 Environmental Geology (4 credits)
  • G 312 Mineralogy (5 credits)
  • G 318 Processes in the Surface Environment (5 credits)
  • G 322 Global Biogeochemical Cycles (5 credits)
  • G 324 Computer Applications and Information Technology (5 credits)
  • G 424 Geographic Information Systems for the Natural Sciences (4 credits)
  • G 434 Structural Geology (4 credits)
  • G 435 Stratigraphy (4 credits)
  • G 440 Volcanology (4 credits)
  • G 443 Groundwater Geology (4 credits)
  • G 447 Environmental Sediment Transport (4 credits)
  • G 448 Chemical Hydrogeology (4 credits)
  • G 452 Geology of the Oregon Country (4 credits)
  • G 459 Quaternary Climate (4 credits)
  • G 460 Soil Geomorphology (4 credits)
  • G 461 Environmental Geology (4 credits)
  • G 470 Engineering Geology (4 credits)

Minor in Space and Planetary Science

Requirements for a Space and Planetary Science Minor. This minor requires 28 quarter credits from the lists of classes below, at least 16 credits of which must be taken at PSU.

8 credits selected from:

  • G 201/204, G 202/205/207 Geology, Geology Laboratory, Computer-based Geology Laboratory (8-9 credits) or
  • Ph 121, Ph 122 or Ph 261, 262 General Astronomy (8 credits)

16 credits selected from:

  • G 345 Life in the Universe (4 credits)
  • G 346 Exploring Mars (4 credits)
  • Chem 360 Origins of Life on Earth (4 credits)
  • G 374 Geomorphic Processes (4 credits)
  • G 456 Astrogeology (4 credits)
  • G 446 Meteorites (4 credits)
  • G 458 Astrobiology
  • Ph 366, 367 Complexity in the Universe I and II (8 credits)
  • Ph 476 Observational Astronomy (2 credits)

4 credits selected from:

  • G 404 Cooperative Internship/Education or G 405 Reading and Conference (1-4 credits). Students should contact Dr. Michael C. Cummings, undergraduate advisor for minor options in Geology, for help in designing a program for the Space and Planetary Science minor that include these classes.

Pass/No Pass: Upper division courses must be taken for a letter grade to count toward fufilling department inor requirements with the exceptions of G 404, G 405, G 406, and G 407 which are offered only for pass/no pass.

Prerequisite requirements exist only for G 446 Meteorites (G201 and one year of chemistry). This is the only course in the program that has a prerequisite. Recommended prerequisites exist for Ph 366, Ph 367, and Ph 476 (one year of general physics or Natural Science Inquiry Sci 201.) Adequate course offerings exist for students to complete the minor without completing a year of chemistry or general physics.

Secondary Education

Students preparing for careers in K-12 teaching upon completion of a Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) may qualify to teach geology and general science in middle and high schools by completing a B.A. or B.S. in geology or the requirements listed for integrated science (see below).

It is recommended that students who want to teach science in grades 5-9 major in geology and include a year-long introductory course in biology and a course in meteorology, astronomy, and oceanography; or major in general studies in science and complete the integrated science program on page 141.

Science courses are to be taken for differentiated grades, except for those offered only on a pass/no pass basis. Students must have at least a 2.75 GPA in science courses and must earn at least a C in each course.

Integrated Science Program

The integrated science endorsement is valid for teaching all science except biology, chemistry, or physics, and, thus, is the endorsement for teaching science in middle and intermediate schools. Additional science courses beyond the requirements for a major in general studies in science are required for the integrated science endorsement. Courses pertaining to Earth/Space, Life, and Physical Science Content Standards are required. Guidelines for a course of study for the integrated science endorsement include the following.

The academic advisor for the Integrated Science Program is Nancy Price.

Earth/Space Content area: 20 credits
8 credits of lower division geology with labs/field studies.
12 credits upper division earth science courses distributed among geology, paleontology, geomorphology, oceanography, hydrology, weather and climate, planetary science, astronomy.

Life Science Content Area: 15 credits
Biology 251, 252, 253 with labs.

Physical Science Content Area: 15 credits
200-level General Physics with labs or General Chemistry with labs.

Upper Division electives in Earth/Space, Life Science, and/or Physical Science Content areas: 20 credits
May be completed in one department. Minimum of 20 UD electives with science (chemistry, physics, geology, biology, environmental science) or math prerequisites.

Mathematics and Statistics Content Area: 12 credits
Statistics: Stat 243 Introduction to Probability and Statistics I (4).
Eight credits from Math 111, 112, Introductory College Mathematics I, II (4,4), Math 251 Calculus I (4), Math 211, 212, 213, Foundations of Elementary Mathematic I, II, III (4, 4, 4)

Psy 311, Human Development 4 credits

Total Credits: 86

Courses are to be taken for differentiated grades. Students must have at least a 2.75 GPA in the recommended courses and must earn at least a C- in each course.


Academic Advising for the Department of Geology (2013)
Department of Geology Undergraduate Program Planning Document (2008)

A summary of initiatives, learning outcomes, learning objectives, and an assessment plan for the department's undergraduate program.