Earth Sciences, B.S.

Program Code: EARTH_BS

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.

READ SENATE POLICY 37-30: ENTRANCE TO AND CHANGES IN MAJOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Sciences, a minimum of 123 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 99-101

21 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 6 credits of GWS courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
BIOL 110Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course4
CHEM 110Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 111Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course1
CHEM 112Chemical Principles II Keystone/General Education Course3
CHEM 113Experimental Chemistry II Keystone/General Education Course1
EMSC 100SEarth and Mineral Sciences First-Year Seminar Keystone/General Education Course 13
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 211General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 212General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Keystone/General Education Course4
Additional Courses
ENGL 15Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course3
or ENGL 30H Honors Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course
Select 15 credits of introductory earth science of the following: 215
The Earth System and Global Change Keystone/General Education Course
Natural Disasters: Hollywood vs. Reality Keystone/General Education Course
Earth in the Future: Predicting Climate Change and Its Impacts Over the Next Century Keystone/General Education Course
Environments of Africa: Geology and Climate Change Keystone/General Education Course
Environment and Society in a Changing World Keystone/General Education Course
Climates of the World Keystone/General Education Course
GEOG 111
Landforms of the World Keystone/General Education Course
Mapping Our Changing World Keystone/General Education Course
Physical Geology
Earth and Life: Origin and Evolution Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Meteorology Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Soil Science Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3 credits of writing-intensive courses from within Earth and Mineral Sciences to include, but not limited to the following:3
Introduction to Global Climatic Systems
GEOG 412
Natural Disasters
Introduction to Field Geology
METEO 471
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 15 credits of advanced earth science of the following: 215
GEOG 412
Human Use of Environment
Human Dimensions of Global Warming
Geobiology
Geology of Climate Change
Geomorphology
Natural Disasters
Stable and Radioactive Isotopes in Geosciences: Introduction
Fundamentals of Atmospheric Science
Atmospheric Thermodynamics
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 3-4 credits of advanced math, statistics, computer science in consultation with an adviser3-4
Select 3 credits of field, laboratory experience in consultation with an adviser3
Select 8-9 credits in other approved courses (students may apply 6 credits of ROTC)8-9
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 18 credits, in consultation from an adviser, from one of the following Earth and Mineral Sciences interdisciplinary minors:18
Climatology
Marine Science
Watersheds & Water Resources
Earth Systems
Global Business Strategies for Earth and Environmental Industries

Program Learning Objectives

  1. To produce graduates who can collect, analyze, understand, and use data and model results relevant to the Earth and environmental sciences.
  2. To produce graduates who possess an interdisciplinary understanding of Earth processes and resources through application of principles of meteorology, geography, and geosciences.
  3. To produce graduates who can communicate the results of scientific inquiry through writing and speaking to an audience with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Jacob Hoover
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
542 Deike Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-7791
undergrad@geosc.psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Earth Sciences, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MATH 140 or 140G‡†4MATH 141 or 141G‡†4
CHEM 110 (GN)3CHEM 1123
CHEM 111 (GN)1CHEM 1131
EMSC 100S (GWS)‡†13ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†3
Intro GEOSC/EARTH elective23Intro GEOSC/EARTH elective23
 14 14
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 211 (GN)4PHYS 212 or 213 and 2144
BIOL 110 (GN)4Intro GEOSC/EARTH elective23
General Education knowledge domain3General Education knowledge domain3
General Education knowledge domain3Minor course*53
Supporting Course33Advanced EARTH elective*43
 17 16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Advanced EARTH elective*43Advanced GEOSC/EARTH elective*43
Intro GEOSC/EARTH elective23Intro GEOSC/EARTH elective23
Supporting Course32Minor Course*53
Minor course*53General Education knowledge domain3
General Education knowledge domain3Supporting Course33
 General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5
 14 16.5
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Advanced EARTH elective*43Advanced EARTH elective*43
General Education Foundation selection (GWS)3EARTH Field/lab experience3
Minor Course*53Writing across the curriculum course in EMS3
General Education knowledge domain3Minor Course*53
General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5Minor Course*53
Advanced Math/CMPSC/STAT3-4 
 16.5-17.5 15
Total Credits 123-124

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Earth Sciences, B.S. at Commonwealth Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MATH 140‡†4MATH 141‡†4
CHEM 110 (GN)3CHEM 1123
CHEM 111 (GN)1CHEM 1131
Intro GEOSC/EARTH elective23Intro GEOSC/EARTH elective23
ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†3General Education Foundation selection (GWS)‡13
 14 14
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
PHYS 211 (GN)4PHYS 212 or 213 and 2144
BIOL 110 (GN)4Intro GEOSC/EARTH elective23
General Education knowledge domain3General Education knowledge domain3
General Education knowledge domain3Advanced Math/CMPSC/STAT3-4
Supporting Course33General Education knowledge domain3
 17 16-17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Advanced EARTH elective*43Advanced GEOSC/EARTH elective*43
Intro GEOSC/EARCH elective23Intro GEOSC/EARTH elective23
Supporting Course32Minor Course*53
Minor course*53Supporting Course33
General Education knowledge domain3Minor Course*53
 General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5
 14 16.5
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Advanced EARTH elective*43Advanced EARTH elective*43
General Education Foundation selection (GWS)3EARTH Field/lab experience3
Minor Course*53Writing across the curriculum course in EMS3
General Education knowledge domain3Minor Course*53
General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5Minor Course*53
Advanced EARTH elective*43 
 16.5 15
Total Credits 123-124

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

Career Paths

The interdisciplinary nature of Earth sciences makes it a suitable degree for a variety of Earth- and environment-related industries, as well as for postgraduate studies in a variety of environmental sciences fields. It is also excellent preparation for a career in science education.

Careers

Graduates are in demand for positions dealing with environmental science, teaching, or environmental law or policy within government, industry, and consulting. These roles focus on gathering and evaluating data on environments, managing and coordinating specialized programs in environmental control and modification, and industrial and government planning.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE EARTH SCIENCES PROGRAM

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Graduates of the program may continue on to graduate-level studies in the geosciences, environmental science, meteorology, oceanography, planetary science, or other Earth sciences, as well as environmental law and related programs.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Professional Resources

Contact

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF GEOSCIENCES
503 Deike Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-6711
contact@geosc.psu.edu

http://www.geosc.psu.edu