Bachelor of Science Degree
Arts and Sciences
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What Is Geology ?
Geology has undergone a revolution in the past decade, becoming an interdisciplinary science that emphasizes the study of major Earth systems ? the solid Earth, the Earth’s surface, the hydrosphere, atmosphere and cryosphere (ice!), and the ancient and modern biosphere. Geology majors learn how these systems work and how they are connected. Geology majors integrate knowledge of Earth materials, the processes that have shaped them and the deep chronology of Earth history to understand global change through time. For example, geology majors learn how the collision of continents and the creation of mountains affect sea level, climate and the diversity of marine organisms.
Geology majors work in the field and go on field trips as part of their regular course work. Geology majors become skilled in working in the field; making and working with maps; collecting, processing and presenting data and images with computers; and identifying and analyzing materials using up-to-date instrumentation. The Department of Geology is close-knit and personable.
Geology provides many opportunities for travel and fieldwork. Students who enjoy hiking and camping and can learn by examining samples of minerals, rocks, fossils, soils and other geologic materials will be ready to succeed in geology. Map reading and the ability to visualize in three dimensions helps enormously in ?seeing? landscapes and the geometry of rock formations. Geology includes quantitative analysis of a variety of data, and ability in mathematics can be indispensable. Geology integrates aspects of chemistry, physics and biology, and students attracted to science in general will succeed.
There are positions for graduates with a B.S. in geology in environmental engineering and environmental consulting, as well as other fields. Graduates with a B.S. in geology are well-prepared for graduate study, which is generally required for a professional position in geology, and about three-quarters of UC geology majors go directly to graduate school for the M.S. or Ph.D. degree. The skills that geology majors learn in observation, data analysis, field mapping, surveying, computing and communicating make them well-prepared for a wide variety of employment. Career possibilities include:
- Environmental engineer
- Environmental consultant
- Environmental Protection Agency employee
- Petroleum geologist
- Employee of state geological surveys
- Park naturalist
- Museum curator
- University professor
- Employee of the U.S. Geological Survey
- Book editor
- Computer analyst
- Public policy consultant
The bachelor of science in geology is designed for undergraduates who wish to pursue careers in geology and the Earth sciences generally, including industrial geology, petroleum geology, hydrology, environmental studies, marine geology and geo-engineering, as well as secondary school, university and museum education and research.
The B.S. program provides a broad overview of Earth’s internal and surficial processes and systems, as well the history of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. It teaches skills in identifying, measuring and mapping minerals, rocks, fossils, soils and all variety of surface features, including glaciers and glacial landforms, landslides and other hazards, and the geology related to water resources. Students acquire skills in using a variety of instruments and laboratory equipment; using computers; and collecting and analyzing geological data. The B.S. in geology has a strong field component. Field trips are an essential part of many courses, and the department offers several stand-alone field-trip courses to local, regional, national and international locations.
The purpose of this degree is to enable students to acquire knowledge and skills across the spectrum of the geological sciences, as well as a background in mathematics and auxiliary sciences, including chemistry, physics and biology. This program provides solid training for those who will pursue further graduate study in earth sciences; a majority of majors will go on to pursue further study at the master's or doctoral level.
Students are interested in a variety of Earth science disciplines relevant to traditional geology, such as mineralogy and petrology, as well as critical areas, such as environmental resources and global change. There is a strong component of surficial geology, hydrogeology, glacial geology and geomorphology, all of which have strong practical applications in environmental science. In addition, UC's Department of Geology offers a series of courses in paleobiology, paleoecology, ancient environments and evolution, which provide a unique background for students whose interests lie in the areas of paleontology, marine biology, historical biology or geobiology.
Bachelor of Arts in Geology
Students who want to learn about a broad spectrum of the geological sciences without full auxiliary sciences may be interested in the geology B.A. degree. More information about this program is available online.
UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) offers flexible degree requirements allowing for and highly encouraging multiple areas of study. Free electives allow for enough credits for students to pursue a minor, certificate program or even complete a second major. Some of the most common pairings are listed below.
- Mathematical sciences
Important advances in our understanding of Earth materials, processes and history are being made by integrating different branches of geology. More than ever before, Earth scientists from different subdisciplines are collaborating to establish links among different Earth systems (for example, erosion and the geomorphic evolution of the Himalayas has helped govern its tectonic and metamorphic evolution). To this end, the Department of Geology welcomes students from all other disciplines to pursue a minor in geology.
In addition, even students with primary interest in such fields as political science would benefit from expertise in geology because of the public policy ramifications.
A&S requires a minimum of 36 credits for a minor. To be awarded a minor in geology, students must complete at least 36 credits from courses offered by the geology department. At least six of these 36 credits must come from field study. Geology courses from all levels may count toward the minor in geology. Students may design their own program of study, including the six credits from field study. In addition, the department offers two specific plans through which students may satisfy the 36-credit requirement. Details are available on the department Web site.
This curriculum information is intended as a general information guide for students considering enrollment in this major. These online tools are designed to assist you, but are not a substitute for planning with an academic or faculty advisor.
If you are currently enrolled at UC, you can audit your degree online. If you are considering transferring to this major from another school use the course applicability system (CAS) to see how credits you have earned will apply to this major at UC. For course descriptions by college, click here.
Students choose from among different options to complete their schedule of courses, and they should work closely with the undergraduate program director and mentors in the Geology Department to decide on the best options for their major.
A suggested course schedule is as follows:
|First Year||Course Number||Credits|
|*English Composition||ENGL 101, 102||6|
|Introduction: Choose one of the following two options: (A), or (B)||9|
|(A) Freshman Seminars (recommended)||GEOL 171, 172, 173||(9)|
|(B) Geology Laboratory||GEOL 111, 112, 113||(9)|
|Mathematics: Choose one of the following three options: (A), (B), or (C) below||9-15|
|(A) Elementary Probability & Statistics||STAT 147, 148, 149||(9)|
|(B) Applied Calculus||MATH 224, 226, 227||(9)|
|(C) Calculus I, II with Lab, and III with Lab||MATH 251, 252/256, 253/257||(15)|
|First Year Chemistry Lecture and Lab||CHEM 101/111, 102/112, 103/113||15|
|**Free electives (recommended to count in a minor or other program. See note below.)||see options||0-6|
|Total for first year||45|
|Second Year||Course Number||Credits|
|*Intermediate Composition||ENGL 289||3|
|Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology||GEOL 201||4|
|Geomorphic Processes||GEOL 203||4|
|Introduction to Structural Geology||GEOL 204||4|
|Paleontology and Sedimentary||GEOL 205||4|
|Earth System History||GEOL 206||4|
|Choose one of the following four options: (A), (B), (C), or (D)||14-15|
|(A) College Physics with Labs||PHYS 101/111, 102/112, 103/113||(15)|
|(B) General Physics with Labs (preferred by some Geology graduate programs)||PHYS 201/211, 202/212, 203/213||(15)|
|(C) College Physics I & II, and Biology I & II||PHYS 101-102, BIOL 101-102||(14)|
|(D) General Physics I & II, and Biology I & II||PHYS 201-202, BIOL 101-102||(14)|
|*Humanities (HU)||see offerings||3|
|Total for second year||44-45|
|Third Year||Course Number||Credits|
|Earth Surface Processes (Field Project)||GEOL 207||5|
|Choose Upper Level Geology Courses (see list below)||GEOL 500+||9|
|*Foreign Language||see checklist||15|
|*Social Sciences (SS)||see offerings||9|
|*Literature (LT)||see offerings||3|
|*Humanities, Literature, or Fine Arts (HU, LT, or FA)||see offerings||3|
|Total for third year||44|
|Summer (between third & fourth years)||Course Number||Credits|
|Choose one of the following two options: (A), or (B)|
|(A) Three-to-six week summer field course (see more info on department site)||see major advisor||6 (varies)|
|(B) Develop an independent research program approved by department (see more info on department site)||see major advisor||6 (varies)|
|Fourth Year||Course Number||Credits|
|Choose Upper Level Geology Courses (see list below)||GEOL 500+||9|
|*Historical Perspectives (HP)||see offerings||9|
|*Social & Ethical Issues (if not already taken, SE)||see offerings||3|
|**Free electives (recommended to count in a minor or other program. See note below.)||see options||18|
|Total for fourth year||39|
|Total overall||Minimum 180|
*Needed to fulfill A&S college requirements.
**Note on free electives: Geology majors are especially encouraged to take free electives in technical writing, geographic information systems from the Department of Geography, and additional courses in material sciences, engineering, mathematics, biology or other physical sciences.
The B.S. in geology requires 62 credit hours of courses in geology as well as 30 credit hours of cognate courses in allied fields.
A. Required geology courses:
1) Introductory Courses: Students are required to take three introductory courses; it is strongly recommended that students intending to major in geology take either the lab series 111, 112, 113 or the freshman seminar series GEOL 171, 172, 173 to fulfill this requirement.
Students may substitute GEOL 101, 102, 103 OR GEOL 104, 105, 106; OR GEOL 161, 162, 163, with permission of the undergraduate advisor. It is recommended that students complete one full series rather than taking individual courses from among the three series (total of nine credits).
2) Required Geology Core Courses: Students are required to complete the following geology core courses*; each course will have a dedicated lab and will receive four credits except for GEOL 207, which is intended as a field- and lab-based research component of the series and will receive five credits (total 29 credits).
- GEOL 201 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
- GEOL 202 Mineralogy (prerequisite/corequisite CHEM 101, 102)
- GEOL 203 Geomorphic Processes
- GEOL 204 Introduction to Structural Geology (prerequisite GEOL 201, 202)
- GEOL 205 Paleontology and Sedimentary
- GEOL 206 Earth History
- GEOL 207 Surface Processes and Field Project (prerequisite GEOL 203, 204)
3) Elective Upper-Level Geology Courses: A minimum of six additional courses are to be chosen in consultation with undergraduate advisors; these can be tailored to the individual interests of students. At this level there are three informal tracks, as originally conceived: physical geology, geobiology, and surficial geology. Students of particular orientations are encouraged to pursue groups of upper-level electives, but they may also choose to mix courses from the various groups. Students who choose graduate courses or courses outside of the Department of Geology to satisfy this part of their BS degree requirements must receive prior approval from the course instructor and director of undergraduate studies. (Total 18 credits.)Physical Geology Group
- GEOL 501 Igneous Petrology
- GEOL 502 Sedimentary Petrology
- GEOL 503 Tectonic Environments and Crystalline Rocks
- GEOL 508 Volcanoes and Planetary Interiors
- GEOL 589 Fluid Dynamics
- GEOL 527 Solution Geochemistry
- GEOL 521 Advanced Invertebrate Paleontology 1
- GEOL 522 Advanced Invertebrate Paleontology 2
- GEOL 523 Vertebrate Paleontology
- GEOL 525 Global Biodiversity
- GEOL 526 Geology and Biology of Coral Reefs
- GEOL 531 Sedimentology
- GEOL 532 Stratigraphy
Surface Processes/Glacial Group
- GEOL 551 Groundwater Geology
- GEOL 552 Groundwater Modeling
- GEOL 574 Glacial Geology
- GEOL 575 Glacial Field Methods
- GEOL 554 Geochemistry of Natural Waters
- GEOL 555 Organic Compounds in Natural Waters
- GEOL 572 Quaternary Geochronology
- GEOL 590 Geology of the Himalaya
4) Capstone Course: Students are required to take at least six credits of capstone courses; these should include a four-to-six credit summer field course in geology or related sciences, such as environmental studies and marine sciences. Note: The field course must be approved by the department; a list of preapproved field camps will be made available. Under special circumstances, students may substitute an individualized project, but only with prior approval (see departmental options for capstone courses; six credits total).
B. Required cognate courses
- STAT 147, 148, 149 (Elementary Probability & Statistics)
- MATH 224, 226, 227 (Applied Calculus)
- MATH 251, 252/256, 253/257 (Calculus I, II, III)
2) Chemistry: All students must complete the sequence, First Year Chemistry Lecture and Lab:
- CHEM 101/111, 102/112, 103/113
3) Physics/Biology: All students must complete either the physics or biology option:
- Physics Option: [PHYS 101/111, 102/112, 103/113] or [PHYS 201/211, 202/212, 203/213]
- Biology Option: [PHYS 101-102, & BIOL 101-102] or [PHYS 201-202, & BIOL 101-102]
The biology option is intended primarily for students intending to continue in paleontology, sedimentary geology, earth history (geobiology); all students need some grounding in physics.
Introductory level courses 9
Core required geology courses 29
Upper-level elective courses 18
Capstone courses 6
Other cognate sciences 30
Students in McMicken College of Arts and Sciences enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tri-state location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.
The UC Department of Geology provides majors the special combination of emphasizing field study that is local, regional and international in scope, encouraging majors to pursue their own interests, and supporting independent student research projects in a student-friendly atmosphere. Field- and lab-based courses and field trips are an essential part of the undergraduate program. Field trips are regularly taken to Alaska, Iceland and the Himalaya of northern India. Most majors attend summer field camp, and the department provides scholarships to help support their expenses. Students have recently attended camps in Alaska, Italy, Nevada, California and Hawaii. Working as assistants to graduate students in the department in their field and laboratory research adds an additional opportunity for majors.
Each senior is required to complete a "capstone experience" that involves: a) hands-on integration of knowledge, b) analytical and problem-solving aspects, c) written and oral documentation, d) demonstration of some aspect of social relevance. There is considerable flexibility in this requirement. Geology students have two major options: a) field course/camp experience (recommended for most students); b) individualized training and research projects. Students should work with the undergraduate advisor to determine which option is the most appropriate.
I. Field Course Option. The primary means for completing the capstone experience will involve "traditional" geology field camps (minimum of six credits and typically four-six weeks mapping).
II. Individualized Study Option. Alternatively, students may propose an individualized program of rigorous study and research. This program must involve a field component. It might include, for example, mapping a quadrangle under supervision of a faculty member, together with a report; it might also include a project that involves the collection and analysis of field samples.
Admission criteria for this program vary based on the relative strength of test scores, class rank and GPA. Please see the Freshman Class Profile for this major in the Quick Facts sidebar on this page for the range of academic credentials typically accepted into this program. Test scores in the lower range may be acceptable with higher class rank and/or GPA. Freshmen applying to this program should also have completed the following state of Ohio articulation requirements with no more than two units missing:
- English (4 units)*
- College-preparatory mathematics (3 units)*
- Science (2 units)
- Social science (2 units)
- Foreign language (2 units)*
- Additional college-prep subjects (3 units)
*UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences does not allow units missing from these areas.
Applicants to A&S whose most recent enrollment was not in any of the UC colleges must apply through the Office of Admissions. Applicants in this category must submit transcripts for all secondary school and college-level work. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 for all college-level work is required for admission consideration. Admission to A&S is generally available for any off-campus applicants who have received an associate degree from an accredited college or university and whose cumulative GPA is 2.0 or higher.
University transfer scholarships are available to those who meet specific requirements and ANY admitted A&S transfer student might qualify for an A&S transfer scholarship. Deadlines and eligibility criteria are online via the previous links.
Changing Major Requirements
Applicants to A&S whose most recent enrollment was as a degree student in one of UC’s other colleges can apply directly to the A&S college office. Admission to A&S is generally available for any on-campus students who have:
- at least a 2.0 GPA in all college-level courses (both at UC and at other institutions),
- successfully completed two quarters of English Composition or its equivalent and
- gained credit for a college-level mathematics course.
A&S students must meet the college residency requirement of 45.0 hours which begins immediately upon matriculation in the college and consists of courses taught within McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.
To graduate from the UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, students must:
- Earn at least 180 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 180.
- Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
- Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
- Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 45 credits after matriculating into the college. These minimum 45 credits must be taught within A&S and also must be completed after gaining admission to the college.
- Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (see major requirements above).
- Complete the College Core Requirements.
- Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.
UC operates on a quarter system, with 10-week grading periods beginning in late September, early January, late March and mid-June. While midyear admission is possible, fall quarter is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that quarter. Applicants to McMicken College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree-seeking students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).