Geosciences, B.A.

Program Code: GSCBA_BA

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 Arts degree in Geosciences, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 72

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.

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

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.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

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
EMSC 100SEarth and Mineral Sciences First-Year Seminar Keystone/General Education Course 13
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
GEOSC 1Physical Geology 23
GEOSC 201Earth Materials4
Additional Courses
ENGL 15Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course3
or ENGL 30H Honors Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
or MATH 110 Techniques of Calculus I Keystone/General Education Course
Select one of the following:4
Chemical Processes in Geology
Physical Processes in Geology
Geobiology
Select 2 of the following 3 sequences for 8 credits each and a third sequence for 4 credits:20
Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course
and Biology: Populations and Communities Keystone/General Education Course
Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course
and Experimental Chemistry I Keystone/General Education Course
and Chemical Principles II Keystone/General Education Course
and Experimental Chemistry II Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Physics I Keystone/General Education Course
and Introductory Physics II Keystone/General Education Course 3
Select 2-4 credits of advanced mathematics in consultation with an adviser 42-4
Select 6 credits from 300- and 400-level GEOSC courses6
Select 3 credits of appropriate field/laboratory experience in consultation with adviser3
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
GEOSC 310Earth History3-4
or GEOSC 320 Geology of Climate Change
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 11-14 credits in consultation with adviser (students may apply 6 credits of ROTC)11-14

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).

Geosciences, B.A. 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 110, 140, or 140G (GQ)‡†4ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†3
CHEM 110 (GN)3PHYS 250 (GN)4
CHEM 111 (GN)1General Education Knowledge Domain3
GEOSC 1*3MATH 141, 141G, 111, STAT 200, or STAT 250 (GQ)‡†4
EMSC 100S‡†13 
 14 14
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
GEOSC 201*4GEOSC 310 or 320* 3-4
BIOL 110 (GN)4BIOL 220W, PHYS 251, or CHEM 112 and CHEM 1134
World Language level 14General Education Knowledge Domain3
General Education Knowledge Domain3World Language level 24
 General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5
 15 15.5-16.5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
GEOSC 202, 203, or 2044General Education Foundation selection (GWS)3
World Language level 34Supporting Course3
BIOL 220W, PHYS 251, or CHEM 112 and CHEM 1134Bachelor of Arts Course3
General Education Knowledge Domain3Bachelor of Arts Course3
 General Education Knowledge Domain3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Supporting Course3Advanced 300/400 level GEOSC course3
Supporting Course3Field/lab experience3
Advanced 300/400 level GEOSC course3Writing intensive course from within Earth and Mineral Sciences3
General Education Knowledge Domain3Other cultures course3
Bachelor of Arts Course3Supporting Course3
General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5 
 16.5 15
Total Credits 120-121

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.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Advising Notes:

Supporting Courses should be selected in consultation with an adviser. Students may use up to 6 credits of ROTC.

Geosciences, B.A. 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 110 or 140 (GQ)‡†4PHYS 250 (GN)4
CHEM 110 (GN)3MATH 141, 111, STAT 200, or STAT 250 (GQ)‡†4
CHEM 111 (GN)1World Language Level 24
World Language Level 14General Education Knowledge Domain3
ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 15 (GWS)3 
 15 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 110 (GN)4BIOL 220W, PHYS 251, or CHEM 112 and CHEM 1134
CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C (GWS)‡ 13ENGL 202C (GWS)‡ 13
World Language level 34General Education Knowledge Domain3
General Education Knowledge Domain3Bachelor of Arts Course3
General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5
 15.5 14.5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
GEOSC 1 or 20*3GEOSC 201*4
BIOL 220W, PHYS 251, or CHEM 112 and CHEM 1134Supporting Course3
General Education Knowledge Domain3Bachelor of Arts Course3
Other cultures3Bachelor of Arts Course3
 General Education Knowledge Domain3
 13 16
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
GEOSC 202, 203, or 2044GEOSC 310 or 320*3-4
Advanced 300/400 level GEOSC course3Advanced 300/400 level GEOSC course3
Supporting Course3Field/lab experience3
Supporting Course3Writing intensive course from within Earth and Mineral Sciences3
General Education Knowledge Domain3Supporting Course3
 16 15-16
Total Credits 120-121

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.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Advising Notes:

Supporting Courses should be selected in consultation with an adviser. Students may use up to 6 credits of ROTC.

Career Paths

The versatile Geosciences degree provides a broad knowledge base that can be applied to careers in many industries, as well as further graduate study in many Earth science-related disciplines.

Careers

Our degree offers a comprehensive background in traditional geology and is suitable for students who wish to work in the environmental or oil and gas industries, in hydrogeology or geotechnical fields, or continue to graduate school.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE GEOSCIENCES PROGRAM

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Graduates may be well suited to pursue graduate-level degrees in geosciences or other Earth science-related disciplines. Some may be inclined to pursue master of business administration, master of education, or environmental law degrees.

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