Program Information

Earth Sciences

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Jeffrey A. Karson, Chair
204 Heroy Geology Laboratory,
315-443-2672.

Faculty Suzanne L. Baldwin, Marion E. Bickford, Paul G. Fitzgerald, Gregory D. Hoke, Linda C. Ivany, Jeffrey A. Karson, Laura K. Lautz, Henry T. Mullins, Cathryn R. Newton, Scott D. Samson, Christopher A. Scholz, Donald I. Siegel, Bruce H. Wilkinson

The Earth Sciences provide insights into some of humanity’s deepest questions. How was the planet Earth, our lifeboat in space, formed? What are the processes that have shaped the Earth — its surface and internal structure? How has life, of which humanity is a part, evolved? Why are there earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain chains, continents, and oceans? How has the surface of the Earth changed through time? On a practical level, the study of Earth Sciences provides a basis for understanding natural hazards, assessing Earth’s climate variability and global change, predicting the migration of man-made pollutants, and exploring for the energy and mineral resources upon which society depends. The study of Earth Sciences also, uniquely, provides a perspective of time and an appreciation of the natural world that can enrich a lifetime.

The Department of Earth Sciences offers both bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees. The bachelor of science degree is recommended for students intending to pursue a career in the Earth Sciences–either professionally or in academia. Most bachelor of science students continue on to graduate school to obtain a master’s degree, the standard entry-level professional degree in the Earth sciences, or a Ph.D. if they intend to pursue a career in academia. Two bachelor of science degree tracks are offered within the department, the B.S. in Earth Sciences, and the B.S. in Earth Sciences with focus in environmental science. The B.S. in Earth Sciences provides a strong background in basic science and geology, and through appropriate choice of electives can be tailored to meet a wide range of possible interests within the Earth Sciences. The B.S. in Earth Sciences with focus in environmental science is offered jointly with the biology department, and is recommended for those students specifically intending to pursue a career in the environmental arena.

The bachelor of arts degree in Earth Sciences is recommended for those students who enjoy and are intellectually intrigued by the Earth Sciences, but intend to pursue careers in other fields. The B.A. degree differs from the B.S. degree in that it requires fewer ancillary science courses and fewer electives from within the department. Along with intellectual enrichment, the B.A. degree provides a rounded science foundation and critical thinking skills that can be applied to numerous other fields. Graduates with B.A.s in Earth Sciences go on to be lawyers, teachers, business people, environmental planners, public policy makers, and politicians, as well as geologists.

REQUIREMENTS FOR A B.A. DEGREE IN EARTH SCIENCES

Any one of the three introductory course sequences listed below under the requirements for the B.S., plus an additional 18 credits in Earth Sciences at 300 level or above.

REQUIREMENTS FOR B.S. DEGREE IN EARTH SCIENCES

Introductory Courses (one of the following sequences)

Note: EAR 104 is the laboratory for EAR 101 and may be taken concurrently with EAR 102.

Core Courses in Earth Sciences (18 credits plus an approved field course)


* An approved field course of at least 6 credits. The nature of the course may vary with different student programs.

Required Ancillary Sciences and Mathematics


Other Elective Courses (21 credits of department or approved auxiliary science or math courses, at least 9 of which must be upper-division credits)


REQUIREMENTS FOR B.S. DEGREE IN EARTH SCIENCES WITH FOCUS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
 

INTRODUCTORY EARTH SCIENCE; TWO OF THE FOLLOWING CLASSES, One must be a lab class 7 credits

  • * EAR 203: Earth System Science and lab
  • * EAR 106: Environmental Geology
  • * EAR 101: Dynamic Earth and lab
  • * EAR 102: History of Earth and Life and lab
  • * EAR 117: Oceanography
  • * EAR 111: Climate Change – Past and Present

INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY               7 credits

CORE COURSES     8 credits                       

UPPER DIVISION REQUIREMENTS
Select 21 credit hours from the following. At least 12 hours must be in Earth Science courses. Appropriate substitutions may be made by petition to the Earth Sciences advisor, Dr. Christopher Scholz.

 

REQUIRED SENIOR CAPSTONE COURSE 3 credits.
* BIO 428: Environmental Seminar

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS IN COGNATE SCIENCES AND MATH 20 to 22 credit hours.
* EITHER Math 285/286 - or - MATH 295/296 - or - MATH 295 plus Statistics (MAT 221)
* 1 year General Chemistry: CHE 106/116, 107/117
A year of General Physics (PHY 211/221 and 212/222) is also recommended for students interested in pursuing careers in hydrology.

SUMMER FIELD EXPERIENCE
EAR 470 Field Experience (6 cr., by transfer)
The Geology Field Experience. This requirement consists of 6 or more credit hours of transfer credit brought in as EAR 470. The requirement is satisfied by participation in an approved 6-week summer geological field camp, or through an alternative approved field program. The field experience is typically scheduled in the summer between junior and senior years, but completion of the requirement during the summer following graduation is also possible. For enrollment in a traditional Geological Field Camp, courses in Structural Geology and Sedimentary Geology may be required.

ADDITIONAL AVAILABLE COURSES

Several courses in the College of Environmental Science and Forestry also will be available for students in this program, as substitutes for Earth Science Upper Division Electives, pending permission of the Undergraduate Advisor. These courses include:

  • * EFB  415: Ecological Biogeochemistry
  • * FCH  515: Methods of Environmental Chemical Analysis
  • * EFB  452: Principles of Chemical Control
  • * FCH  352: Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • * EFB  505: Microbial Ecology
  • * EFB  510: Health and Our Chemical Environment
  • * EFB  524: Limnology
  • * EFB  525: Limnology laboratory