Geosciences, B.S.

Program Code: GSCBS_BS

Entrance to Major

In addition to the minimum grade point average (GPA) requirements described in the University Policies, the Geosciences entrance-to-major requirement must also be completed with a minimum grade of C: MATH 140.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Geosciences, a minimum of 121 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 97

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.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

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
GEOSC 1Physical Geology 23
GEOSC 204Geobiology4
GEOSC 472AField Geology I (Introduction to Field Methods3
GEOSC 472BField Geology II (Advanced Field Methods)3
GEOSC 494WSenior Thesis3
GEOSC 496Independent Studies1
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 211General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 213General Physics: Fluids and Thermal Physics Keystone/General Education Course2
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
GEOSC 201Earth Materials4
GEOSC 202Chemical Processes in Geology4
GEOSC 203Physical Processes in Geology4
GEOSC 310Earth History4
GEOSC 465Structural Geology4
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
Additional Courses
ENGL 15Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course3
or ENGL 30
Requirements for the Option
Select an option28

Requirements for the Option

General Option (28 credits)
Additional Courses
Select 14 credits of the following 300- and 400-level GEOSC courses:14
Introduction to Environmental Geology
Geomorphology
Natural Disasters
Stable and Radioactive Isotopes in Geosciences: Introduction
Vertebrate Paleontology
Paleontology and Fossils
Volcanology
Principles of Stratigraphy
Marine Geology
Natural Resources: Origins, Economics and Environmental Impact
Hydrogeology
Geology of Oil and Gas
Introduction to Field Geology
Dynamics of the Earth
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select at least 2 credits in physics from approved departmental list2
Select 3 credits of computer science, mathematics1, or statistics3
Select 9 credits, in consultation with adviser, supportive of the student's interest (students may apply 6 credits of ROTC)9
Hydrogeology Option (28 credits)
Prescribed Courses
GEOSC 452Hydrogeology3
Additional Courses
Select one of the following:3
Programming for Engineers with C++ Keystone/General Education Course
CMPSC 202
Introduction to Spreadsheets and Databases Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Biostatistics Keystone/General Education Course 1
Select one of the following:3
Soil and Water Resource Management
Wetland Conservation
Introductory Soil Science Keystone/General Education Course
Select 9 credits from options A and B, with at least 3 credits from A and 3 credits from B:9
Option A
Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry I
Physical Chemistry - Thermodynamics
Transformation of Pollutants in Soils
Techniques in Environmental Geochemistry
The Organic Geochemistry of Natural Waters and Sediments
Option B
Contaminant Hydrology
Image Analysis
Geomorphology
Principles of Stratigraphy
Geology of Oil and Gas
Environmental Geophysics
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select at least 2 credits in Physics from approved departmental list2
Select 8 credits, in consultation with advisor, supportive of the student's interest (students may apply 6 credits of ROTC)8

Integrated B.S in Geosciences and M.S. in Geosciences

Requirements for the Integrated B.S in Geosciences and M.S. in Geosciences can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.

Program Learning Objectives

  1. To produce graduates who possess a broad understanding of the origin and evolution of the Earth, including the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere.
  2. To produce graduates who can apply knowledge of the mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology of Earth processes to the solution of geologic problems.
  3. To produce graduates who can interpret Earth’s history and dynamics by observing and measuring minerals, rocks, fluids, fossils, landforms, and structures.
  4. To produce graduates who possess the ability to pose questions, collect and interpret data, and solve geologic problems, communicating the results of this scientific inquiry through writing and speaking.

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).

General Option 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 (GQ)*‡#†4MATH 141 or 141G (GQ)‡† 4 
CHEM 110 (GN)3CHEM 1123 
CHEM 111 (GN)1CHEM 1131 
GEOSC 13GEOSC 201* 4 
EMSC 100S (GWS)‡†13ENGL 15, ENGL 30, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†3 
 14 15 
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
PHYS 211 (GN)4PHYS 212 or 213 and 2144 
GEOSC 202* 4GEOSC 310* 4 
BIOL 110 (GN)4General Education knowledge domain3 
General Education knowledge domain3General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5 
General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5Advanced MATH/CMPSC/STAT selection23 
 16.5 15.5 
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
GEOSC 203* 4GEOSC 465* 4GEOSC 472A3
Advanced GEOSC elective33GEOSC 204 4GEOSC 472B3
Supporting Course43Advanced GEOSC elective33 
General Education knowledge domain3General Education knowledge domain33 
 13 14 6
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
GEOSC 4961GEOSC 494W3 
Advanced GEOSC elective33Advanced GEOSC elective32 
Advanced GEOSC elective33Supporting Course43 
Supporting Course43General Education knowledge domain3 
General Education Foundation selection (GWS)3General Education knowledge domain3 
 13 14 
Total Credits 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/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

General Option 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 (GQ)*‡#†4MATH 141 (GQ)†‡ 4 
CHEM 110 (GN)3CHEM 1123 
CHEM 111 (GN)1CHEM 1131 
ENGL 15, ENGL 30, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†13General Education Foundation selection (GWS)‡13 
General Education knowledge domain3General Education knowledge domain3 
 14 14 
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
PHYS 211 (GN)4PHYS 212 or 213 and 2144 
BIOL 110 (GN)4Advanced MATH/CMPSC/STAT selection23 
General Education knowledge domain3General Education Foundation selection (GWS)‡13 
General Education knowledge domain3General Education knowledge domain3 
General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5 
 15.5 14.5 
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
GEOSC 1 or 203GEOSC 203* 4GEOSC 472A3
GEOSC 201* 4GEOSC 2044GEOSC 472B3
Supporting Course43GEOSC 310* 4 
General Education knowledge domain3GEOSC 465* 4 
 13 16 6
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
GEOSC 202* 4GEOSC 494W3 
GEOSC 4961Advanced GEOSC elective32 
Advanced GEOSC elective33Advanced GEOSC elective33 
Advanced GEOSC elective33Advanced GEOSC elective33 
Supporting Course43Supporting Course43 
 14 14 
Total Credits 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.

Hydrogeology Option 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 (GQ)*‡#†4MATH 141 or 141G (GQ)‡†4 
CHEM 110 (GN)3CHEM 1123 
CHEM 111 (GN)1CHEM 1131 
GEOSC 13GEOSC 201* 4 
EMSC 100S (GWS)‡†13ENGL 15, ENGL 30, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†3 
 14 15 
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
PHYS 211 (GN)4PHYS 212 or 213 and 2144 
BIOL 110 (GN)4GEOSC 202* 4 
General Education knowledge domain3GEOSC 310* 4 
General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5General Education knowledge domain3 
General Education knowledge domain3General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5 
 15.5 16.5 
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
GEOSC 203* 4GEOSC 465* 4GEOSC 472A3
GEOSC 4523HYDRO Option elective23GEOSC 472B3
Supporting Course43CMPSC 201, CMPSC 202, CMPSC 203, STAT 250, or STAT 2003-4 
HYDRO Option elective23General Education knowledge domain33 
 13 13-14 6
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
GEOSC 4961GEOSC 494W3 
SOILS 101, ASM 327, or ERM 4503GEOSC 2044 
HYDRO Option elective23Supporting Course32 
Supporting Course33General Education knowledge domain3 
General Education Foundation selection (GWS)3General Education knowledge domain3 
 13 15 
Total Credits 121-122

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/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Hydrogeology Option 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 (GQ)*‡#†4MATH 141 (GQ)‡†4 
CHEM 110 (GN)3CHEM 1123 
CHEM 111 (GN)1CHEM 1131 
ENGL 15, ENGL 30, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†13General Education knowledge domain3 
General Education knowledge domain3General Education Foundation selection (GWS)‡13 
 14 14 
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
PHYS 211 (GN)4PHYS 212 or 213 and 2144 
BIOL 110 (GN)4General Education Foundation selection (GWS)‡13 
General Education knowledge domain3General Education knowledge domain3 
General Education knowledge domain3CMPSC 201, CMPSC 202, CMPSC 203, STAT 250, or STAT 2003-4 
General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5General Education Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5 
 15.5 14.5-15.5 
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
GEOSC 13GEOSC 465* 4GEOSC 472A3
GEOSC 201*4GEOSC 203*4GEOSC 472B3
Supporting Course33GEOSC 310*4 
General Education knowledge domain3HYDRO Option elective23 
 13 15 6
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
GEOSC 4523GEOSC 494W3 
GEOSC 4961GEOSC 2044 
GEOSC 202*4Supporting Course32 
SOILS 101, ASM 327, or ERM 4503Supporting Course33 
HYDRO Option elective23HYDRO Option elective23 
 14 15 
Total Credits 121-122

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 versatile Geosciences degree provides a broad knowledge base that can be applied to professional careers in many industries, as well as 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, natural resource exploration, geothermal energy development, hydrogeology or geotechnical fields, or continue to graduate school. In the public sector, this degree is good preparation for future work in the National Park Service, the United States Geological Survey, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and various state and local regulatory agencies.

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 geophysics, geochemistry, mineralogy, paleontology, climate change modeling, oceanography, volcanology, environmental science, or other Earth science-related disciplines.

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