2011-2012 University Catalog 
2011-2012 University Catalog

Earth Science, BS

Banner Code:  SC-BS-ESCI

This degree is intended for students interested in studying the earth and its environment. Recognizing that these are integrated disciplines, students receive a broad background in earth and environmental sciences and select one of six specialty concentrations.  The concentrations in atmospheric science, earth science education, earth surface processes, environmental geoscience, and geology are solely offered by AOES. The concentration in oceanography and estuarine science is offered jointly with the Department of Environmental Science and Policy where specific advising is also available.

Students must fulfill all requirements for bachelor’s degrees  including university general education requirements . In addition, students must complete the following course work with a minimum GPA of 2.00. Through the course work below, Earth science majors satisfy the university and college requirements in natural science and quantitative reasoning. GEOL 317 fulfills the writing intensive requirement for this major.

This program of study is offered by the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences in the College of Science .

Degree Requirements

8 credits of physics:


Each student chooses a concentration in atmospheric science; earth science education; earth surface processes; environmental science; geology; or oceanography and estuarine science. The credit requirements for each concentration differ as noted below.

▲ Atmospheric Science (ATMS)

This concentration gives students a strong quantitative undergraduate education in atmospheric and related sciences. The curriculum meets the American Meteorological Society’s recommendations for a Bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science and the US Government Civil Service GS -1340 qualification in meteorology. Students completing the atmospheric science concentration will be prepared for a wide range of career paths including operations and research (via graduate school) in meteorology, atmospheric science and climate. 41 credits are required as follows:

▲ Earth Science Education (ESE)

This concentration is for students intending to pursue secondary school teaching in earth science. Students are advised from both the Geology program and the Graduate School of Education. 29 credits of course work are required, plus an additional 21 credits to satisfy the optional teaching licensure requirement:

▲ Earth Surface Processes (EP)

This concentration focuses on a broad understanding of the physical processes and natural materials found at or near the earth’s surface that have produced the primary landforms and landscapes observed today. Fundamental concepts, methods and techniques of landscape analysis are also examined. At least 31 credits are required as follows:

▲ Environmental Geoscience (EVGS)

This concentration provides tools for applying geologic information (about soils, rocks, water, weather and landscapes) to contemporary environmental problems such as pollution and waste management, resource extraction, natural hazards, land-use and habitat restoration, species preservation, and human health. Environmental geoscience studies the physical environment in which biological interactions take place, and so aids in the understanding of ecology. At least 34 credits are required as follows:

▲ Geology (GEOL)

The Geology Concentration is fashioned after traditional Geology bachelor’s degrees. It allows graduates to be employed as geologists in the field or pursue graduate studies in geology. At least 31 credits are required as follows:

Total: 31 credits (minimum)

▲ Oceanography and Estuarine Science (OEST)

This concentration provides students with a comprehensive knowledge of oceanography. Additional coursework in physical and chemical oceanography give insight into the aquatic environment and its link to both ecosystems and climate. Within the concentration, students can choose an open ocean or coastal option. The curriculum will emphasize local and regional case studies, in particular the Chesapeake Bay. The program will provide students with the basic training required to allow them to obtain entry level positions in oceanographic and estuarine career tracks or an appropriate graduate degree program. At least 29 credits are required as follows:

One of the following two options:

Total: 29 credits (minimum)


* Requires C or better in GEOL 302

** Satisfies general education information technology requirement

*** No longer offered regularly; 6-credit geology field camp is required as substitute (see advisor for details).