Courses and Requirements

Please visit the academic register for the most current major requirements and course descriptions.
Requirements for the Major:  A minimum of eleven courses in the department including: one of GEO-110 (100), 112 (102), or 117 (107); and GEO-120 (101); and each of GEO-201, 202, 220 (200), 307 (253), 320 (250), 405, and 495.  Students in the Traditional Geology Track must choose two courses from the following: GEO-205, 206 (255), 208, 302, 303, 304; students in the Environmental Geology Track must choose two courses from the following: GEO-203 (301), 207 (315), 209 (254), 300, 302.  All students must choose two elective courses from the geology curriculum or from: ENS-100, BIO-320 (or BIO-350T), BIO-328 (or BIO-352T), CHM-231, or CHM-240; of these, no more than one may be at the 100 level, and 100 level courses cannot count as an elective if taken after a student declares the Geology major.  Also required are two terms each of Mathematics (any two courses numbered 100 or higher, or equivalent such as MTH 113), Chemistry (CHM-101 required, and either CHM-102 or any CHM course numbered 102 or higher), and Biology or Physics (any two courses numbered 100 or higher).  Advanced work or a minor is encouraged in chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, economics, or engineering.  All Geology courses at the 100 level are introductory and have no prerequisites; preference for GEO-110 (100), 112 (102), 117 (107), and 120 (101) will be given to first- and second-year students.  Senior Geology majors may not take any introductory course for major credit.  A senior thesis is the final product of 405, which may be a research thesis (required for honors) if accompanied by senior level research (495-497).  Only one senior level research credit may count toward the two geology electives. Students who intend on going to graduate school are strongly encouraged to do a research thesis and to take two courses in physics rather than biology, unless specifically interested in paleontology or geobiology, because most graduate programs require physics.  A summer field course in the junior year is strongly recommended, particularly for those going on to graduate school or geological consulting work.


Requirements for Interdepartmental Majors: Interdepartmental majors will follow the guidelines described elsewhere in this catalog. Students taking geology as part of an interdepartmental major should take any introductory level course at the 110 level, plus any other geology courses needed to complete the geology segment of their major (all prerequisites apply). All courses should be chosen in consultation with a geology advisor as part of a coherent plan of study.


Requirements for Honors: The major requirements as specified above are required, as are the GPA requirements of Union College described elsewhere in this catalog. A senior research thesis is required, consisting of at least two terms of 495-497 (independent research with a faculty member). Theses involving Geology 497 must be completed by the end of the 6th week of the Spring term.


Requirements for the Minor: A minor in geology requires six courses including any introductory level course numbered 110 or higher, GEO-220, and any four electives numbered 200 or higher.   All prerequisites apply.


Requirements for Secondary School Certification: Students seeking certification in earth science should complete the normal Geology major described above, except that astronomy, planetary science, and meteorology may substitute for any Geology elective or physics/biology ancillary science course. For other requirements consult the Educational Studies Program elsewhere in this catalog.


Course Selection Guidelines: None of the 100-level courses in Geology have prerequisites, but only GEO-110 (100), 112 (102), 117 (107), and 120 (101) serve as entry points into upper level courses. Preference for GEO-110 (100), 112 (102), 117 (107), and 120 (101) is given to first-year students and sophomores. Students should take GEO-201, 202, 203 (301), 205, 206 (255), 207 (315), 208, and 209 (254) after taking an introductory course, ideally in the second year. Students should have completed CHM-101 before taking GEO-220, and GEO-220 is a prerequisite for GEO-320 (250).  All Geology majors are required to take GEO 405 in the senior year, which satisfies the senior writing requirement (WS).

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