Jul 21, 2024  
2018-2019 Cal State East Bay Catalog 
2018-2019 Cal State East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geology, B.S.

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Geology, B.S. Program (120 units)

Program Description

Geology is the study of the earth and of life and the natural processes occurring on the planet through time. Students learn about the causes of processes such as earthquakes, volcanoes, the formation of mountains, the effect of erosion and deposition, and the formation of rocks and minerals and their uses. Coursework combined with observations on field trips provide Cal State East Bay students with an understanding of natural processes and the human impact on the environment.

The undergraduate degree programs consist of required courses plus electives designed to meet the needs of students with objectives including employment at the Bachelor’s degree level, preparation for a secondary school teaching credential, and graduate study in Geology. The Geology, B.S. program is the primary professional degree program in Geology offered by the department, and serves as preparation for employment in the field, usually in a technical capacity. The Geology, B.A. program offers the student a greater degree of flexibility and may be more appropriate for those who do not necessarily plan to become professional geologists or pursue graduate study. (Note: Students may be allowed to change from the Geology, B.A. to the Geology, B.S. program or vice versa.) Students wishing to do independent geological work professionally should plan on graduate study; see the Environmental Geosciences, M.S.  in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences offers undergraduate study leading to the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Geology, focusing on developing strong foundational knowledge and a broad set of field and laboratory skills in the Earth sciences.

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program is designed to prepare students for:

  • Entry-level employment as geologists and environmental scientists in government (city, county, regional, state, and federal) and private consulting firms (environmental, engineering, and geotechnical firms, mining and oil companies, etc.).
  • Graduate study in environmental science, geology, geochemistry and geophysics.

The undergraduate Geology programs emphasize field and laboratory training. Many opportunities for field and laboratory research exist throughout northern California and elsewhere. The B.S. and B.A. programs in Geology reflect departmental expertise by focusing on near-surface processes and hazards and resources.  They concentrate on issues of regional and local importance to our community. Rigorous coursework is augmented by embedded and sequential field experiences that integrate classroom concepts in natural laboratories. Seminars and topical courses address diverse subjects, for example: geochemical evolution of groundwater, natural tracers of geologic processes, tectonic geomorphology, earthquake hazards, bay area tectonics, near-surface geophysics, and modern depositional environments. The Department of earth and Enviornomental Sciences maintains strong connections with East Bay Regional Parks, the California Environmental Protection Agency, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, NASA Ames, the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. 

Students with strong records in the B.S. degree may be able to engage in guided, individual research, working with faculty on their research. Students wishing to pursue senior thesis should make contact with a faculty advisor at least one full semester in advance to discuss topic and feasibility.

The Earth & Environmental Science Club, a student-run organization, sponsors a variety of activities including guest speakers, field trips, employment workshops, and student-faculty gatherings. The club is an important part of department life, providing students with opportunities to make professional contacts, to explore graduate school and professional options, and to enjoy the company of others with similar interests.

Career Opportunities

Engineering Geologist • Environmental Geologist • Geochemist • Geologist • Geophysicist • Hydrologist • Mineralogist • Oceanographer • Park Ranger • Petrologist • Seismologist • Soils Engineer • Stratigrapher

Program Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.S. or B.A. in Geology will be able to:

Develop foundational knowledge in geologic materials, processes & time

  1. Identify and classify geologic materials and know their material and/or biological properties or characteristics.
  2. Recognize and understand the fundamental geological processes, distribution of natural resources, the magnitude and importance of geologic time, and its role in geologic processes and evolution.
  3. Understand and apply basic principles of chemistry and physics to geologic issues.
  4. Understand the fundamental principles and subjects that form the core topics of Earth Science.

Develop fundamental geological field and laboratory skills and computer competence

  1. Identify and classify, in the field, basic geologic materials, including minerals, rocks, fossils, structures, and landforms.
  2. Collect, describe and organize samples of geologic materials in support of field investigations.
  3. Create basic types of geologic maps with standard geology symbols, using standard field measurement techniques and equipment.
  4. Perform basic types of geologic analysis, such as lithostratigraphic and biostratigraphic correlation, map construction, geophysical and hydrogeological studies, and cross-section construction.
  5. Visualize and comprehend geological materials or structures in 3D based on 1D and 2D data sets.
  6. Demonstrate competence in basic computer tools and software, and Internet utilization, and utilize appropriate software for geological analysis.

Integrate and analyze geologic information through synthesis & critical thinking 

  1. Interpret geological terrains (local & regional) by synthesis of literature, field and laboratory studies, to create maps, sections and reports that accurately and effectively illustrate the surficial distribution and 3D geometry of geologic materials and structures (rock, faults, geo-fluids, hazardous waste, etc.).
  2. Access, critically read and critique research literature and geologic datasets (2D and 3D) using discipline-specific methods, techniques and equipment.
  3. Analyze, interpret, and integrate diverse datasets to address and solve geological and scientific problems.

Develop oral and written communication, and collaborative skills

  1. Critically analyze geological and environmental issues by evaluation of scientific literature, and then present their positions clearly and persuasively in written form through words, graphs, and tables, using appropriate formats.
  2. Effectively communicate orally using prepared presentations.
  3. Understand the importance of hearing, considering and integrating competing and/or contrary points of view to the scientific process.
  4. Understand the complex issues and relationships that exist between local community and global needs for earth materials (fossil fuels, mineral reserves, water, etc.) and the effects of climate change on vulnerable populations
  5. Work responsibly as a member of a team, demonstrate professional levels of conduct, and communicate effectively with team members through personal and electronic means.

Understand the impact of the Earth Sciences on local-to-global sustainability and their role as an ethical scientist 

  1. Understand Earth’s place in the Universe, global-scale processes such as climate change, plate tectonics, earth systems interactions and rates, and the forcing factors/feedbacks that control them.
  2. Have the breadth of education necessary to understand the importance of the Earth Sciences and technology in a global and societal context, and understands the effect of resource consumption on, and the importance of local-to-global-scale sustainability efforts.
  3. Have knowledge of contemporary issues, such as sustainable resource development and the prediction of geological hazards.
  4. Carry out responsibilities in a professional and ethical manner.

Degree Requirements Unit-Outline

  • A baccalaureate of arts degree requires a total of 120 units:
    • The major requirements consists of 70-71 units
    • General Education (GE) & Graduation Requirements (GR) consists of 57 units;
    • Free Electives may consist of 0 units (actual number of free elective units may depend on GE/GR units).

Note: It may be possible to double-count units within the graduation requirements or that a course may satisfy both a graduation requirement and a major requirement. Students should contact their program and AACE advisors for information.

Geology (BS) Major Requirements (70-71 units)

Lower Division Core

The following 34-35 units of lower-division core coursework is required as outlined:

Upper Division Core

The following 24 units of upper-division core coursework is required:

Elective Courses

A minimum of 12 units of elective courses are required as outlined below:

Other Undergraduate Degree Requirements

In addition to major requirements, every student must also complete the University’s baccalaureate requirements for graduation, which are described in the Requirements, Exams & Testing  chapter of this catalog. 

Department Courses Listed by Course Type

Earth and Environmental Sciences Courses

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Go to information for this department.


Environmental Science

Environmental Science: Graduate


Geology: Graduate

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