Geology

Overview

The mission of the Geology major is to foster in students an understanding of the Earth: the processes that affect its surface and interior; its formation and evolution through time; and its functioning as the physical environment for the living world. The major accomplishes this goal by offering to students a set of coordinated experiences in the classroom, laboratory, and field. Geology is an intrinsically interdisciplinary science, drawing upon the tools of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, and environmental science to examine problems that range in scale from a single mineral grain to the entire solar system. Geology majors learn to work together on inquiry-based laboratory and field projects, and each produces a Senior Thesis describing independent research they have undertaken with a faculty mentor. There is a special emphasis on articulating ideas orally, graphically, and in writing, skills that are valuable not only in science but also in the many other careers where geology majors from Occidental have found success. Geology is a global science, and so students who have made progress in the major as sophomores are encouraged to study abroad for a semester during their junior year. The Geology major expresses the Department's commitment to prepare students to excel in an increasingly complex and environmentally stressed world.

Major Requirements

COURSEWORK

The following courses (13) are required for completion of the major program in the Department of Geology:

Fundamental Coursework:

GEO 105Earth: Our Environment

4 units

Or

GEO 106Earth and the Human Future

4 units

 

And

GEO 215Evolution of the Earth

4 units

GEO 225Introduction to Field Methods

4 units

GEO 235Global Geophysics and Tectonics

4 units

GEO 305Earth Materials

4 units

GEO 324Advanced Field Mapping

2 units

GEO 325Structural Geology

4 units

GEO 345Petrology

4 units

GEO 490Senior Seminar and Thesis Research

4 units

 

And

GEO 315Sedimentary Geology

4 units

Or

GEO 342Geomorphology

4 units

Electives

Students must select an additional three courses from the list below:

GEO 245Earth's Climate: Past and Future

4 units

GEO 255Spatial Analysis with Geographic Information Science

4 units

GEO 355Paleomagnetism

4 units

GEO 390Special Topics in Geology

4 units

 

GEO 315Sedimentary Geology

4 units

Or

GEO 342Geomorphology

4 units

Note: Students may not use one course to satisfy two requirements ("double-dip") within the major.

Mathematics Component:

Choose one option

Option 1-
MATH 120Calculus 2

4 units

Or department approved equivalent.

Option 2-
MATH 110Calculus 1

4 units

And

Department-approved statistics course

4 units

Environmental Science Concentration in Geology

Introduction to Geology:

GEO 105Earth: Our Environment

4 units

Or

GEO 106Earth and the Human Future

4 units

Introduction to Biology:

Students must select one course from the list below:

BIO 105Marine Biology

4 units

BIO 106Biology of California

4 units

BIO 110Organisms on Earth

4 units

BIO 115General Zoology

4 units

Environmental Biology:

BIO 260Biodiversity and Organization of Marine Ecosystems

4 units

Or

BIO 270Ecology

4 units

Economics Component:

ECON 101Principles of Economics I

4 units

And

ECON 301Environmental Economics and Policy

4 units

Fundamental Geology:

GEO 225Introduction to Field Methods

4 units

GEO 235Global Geophysics and Tectonics

4 units

GEO 245Earth's Climate: Past and Future

4 units

GEO 255Spatial Analysis with Geographic Information Science

4 units

GEO 305Earth Materials

4 units

GEO 324Advanced Field Mapping

2 units

GEO 325Structural Geology

4 units

GEO 490Senior Seminar and Thesis Research

4 units

And

 

GEO 315Sedimentary Geology

4 units

Or

GEO 342Geomorphology

4 units

Mathematics Component:

Students must select one option from below:

Option 1-
MATH 120Calculus 2

4 units

Or department approved equivalent.

Option 2-
MATH 110Calculus 1

4 units

And

Department-approved statistics course

4 units

All graduate schools and professional careers in geology or environmental science require at least a basic understanding of chemistry and physics. Students considering graduate school or professional careers in these fields should also take the following courses: CHEM 120; PHYS 110 and PHYS 120 or PHYS 115 and PHYS 125.

SECOND-STAGE WRITING REQUIREMENT

Students majoring in Geology will satisfy the second-stage writing requirement by submitting a portfolio of at least two papers from any of the intermediate- or advanced-level writing-intensive Geology courses normally required for the major (or appropriate course work). Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Requirement and consult the department chair for additional information.

COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT

The comprehensive requirement in Geology is met by a passing grade on the senior comprehensive project. The senior comprehensive project is based on research conducted under the supervision of Department faculty or in an off-campus summer research program or field camp. This project can be started as early as the Junior year and typically involves field or laboratory work during the summer between Junior and Senior years. Seniors are expected to present their research orally and submit a written thesis by Spring Break. During the Fall semester of senior year, all Geology majors attend a senior seminar (GEO 490 or equivalent). A major goal of these meetings is to help students make timely progress on their comprehensive projects.

HONORS

Students with a GPA of at least 3.25 are eligible to graduate with honors in geology. For these students, a larger senior thesis is planned, and students start their research earlier than the fall of their senior year. For this extra work, the honors student receives additional course credit beyond credit for comprehensives. Refer also to the general College policies regarding the Honors Program.

GEOLOGY COURSE NUMBERING

GEO 105 is open to first-year and second-year students only; 200-level courses are open to any student who has completed GEO 105; 300-level courses are intended for junior and senior geology majors and minors; 400-level seminars are for senior majors.

Minor Requirements

Coursework

GEO 105Earth: Our Environment

4 units

GEO 215Evolution of the Earth

4 units

GEO 235Global Geophysics and Tectonics

4 units

Two additional GEO electives

To be selected with department approval.

Courses

Geology Courses

Faculty

Regular Faculty

Christopher Oze, chair

Associate Professor, Geology

B.A., Whitman College; Ph.D., Stanford University

Scott Bogue

Professor, Geology

A.B., Brown University; Ph.D., U.C. Santa Cruz

Darren Larsen

Associate Professor, Geology

B.A., Colby College; M.S., Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder


Margaret Rusmore

Professor, Geology

B.S., U.C. Santa Cruz; M.S., Ph.D., University of Washington


James Sadd

Professor, Environmental Science

B.S., University of Southern California; M.S., University of Texas; Ph.D., University of South Carolina

On Special Appointment

Ann Blythe

Full Time Non-Tenure Track Associate Professor, Geology

B.S., Ph.D., Cornell University; M.S., University of Pennsylvania

Joel Wedberg

Non-Tenure Track Instructor, Geology

SC.B. San Diego State University