Undergraduate Catalog 2021-2022

Earth Sciences B.S. – Geology Emphasis

College of Natural and Health Sciences

Contact: Timothy Grover, Ph.D., Department Chair

Location: Ross Hall 3235

Telephone: 970.351.2647

Website: www.unco.edu/nhs/earth-atmospheric-sciences/

Advising Information:

Students must consult with their assigned major advisor each semester prior to registering.

To find your advisor, log into ursa.unco.edu; go to 'Student' tab and click 'View Student Information' link. If no advisor is listed, contact the major program for advisor information.

The program consists of three parts:

  1. Liberal Arts Curriculum (LAC) Credits
  2. Required Major Credits
  3. University-Wide Credits

Program Description:

The science of geology explores the physical makeup of the earth, the processes that shape it and the history of its development. This program provides a broad background in geology and emphasizes the study of geology in the field and in the laboratory.

Graduates of the geology program will be prepared for entry-level positions as geologists in the petroleum mining, and environmental industries, in local, state and federal governmental agencies and in a variety of engineering and geological consulting firms. The program also provides the background necessary for admission to graduate programs in geology and related fields.

Program Admission Requirements:

Academic Good Standing

Program Requirements:

  • The course of study for this major must be developed in consultation with and be approved by the student's academic advisor.
  • At least one half of the credits in AST, ESCI, GEOL, MET and OCN courses must be numbered 300 or above. No more than 8 credits of AST, ESCI, GEOL, MET and OCN courses numbered below 200 may be counted toward the major.
  • Written Communication, Mathematics, and Natural & Physical Sciences courses approved for the Liberal Arts Curriculum that are taken as part of this major may also be used to satisfy Liberal Arts Curriculum requirements.
  • A 2.0 grade point average in the courses taken as part of this major is required for graduation. (Secondary Teaching Emphasis: a 2.5 GPA is required in all major courses.)
  • In accordance with University Policies, coursework earned more than 10 years prior to the date of matriculation to UNC may not be used to satisfy any major or minor requirements.  Any exception to this policy is at the discretion of the academic program.

Degree Requirements — 120 Credits

Liberal Arts Curriculum — 31 credits

To complete the degree in 120 credits as outlined, the program recommends the below LAC courses that also count toward the 88 required major credits.

Any additional coursework completed outside of the recommended list below may extend the length of the program of study.

Written Communication — 6 credits

SCI 291 (3) is recommended to fulfill the Intermediate Writing Course in the Written Communication requirement and will fulfill both LAC and major requirements.

See Written Communication courses

Note that SCI 291 has a prerequisite of  ENG 122 or SAT Verbal with a minimum score of 630 or ACT English with a minimum score of 30 or SAT Reading Test with a minimum score of 34.

Mathematics — 3 credits

MATH 131 (4) and MATH 132 (4) are recommended to fulfill Mathematics requirement and will fulfill both LAC and major requirements.

See Mathematics courses

Arts & Humanities, History, Social & Behavioral Sciences, U.S. Multicultural Studies, and International Studies — 15 credits

To complete the LAC in the minimum number of credits, be sure to choose at least one course with an IS designation and one course with an MS designation.

Select any courses to fulfill this requirement from the currently approved LAC course list.

See Arts & Humanities, History, and Social & Behavioral Sciences courses

Natural & Physical Sciences — 7 credits

CHEM 111 (4), CHEM 111L (1), and PHYS 220 (5) are recommended to fulfill Natural & Physical Sciences requirement and will fulfill both LAC and major requirements. 

See Natural & Physical Sciences courses

See Liberal Arts Curriculum

2. Required Major — 88 credits

Take all of the following courses:

CHEM 111Principles of Chemistry ILAS1


CHEM 111LPrinciples of Chemistry I LaboratoryLAS1LASL


CHEM 112Principles of Chemistry II


CHEM 112LPrinciples of Chemistry II Laboratory


ESCI 330Earth Science Statistical Analysis


ESCI 349Earth Science Professional Seminar


GEOG 210Introduction to GIS and GPS


GEOL 201Physical Geology


GEOL 202Historical Geology


GEOL 320Mineralogy


GEOL 340Paleontology


GEOL 421Ig and Met Petrology


GEOL 450Sedimentology and Stratigraphy


GEOL 460Geomorphology


GEOL 470Structural Geology


GEOL 481Geologic Field Techniques


MATH 131Calculus ILAX1


MATH 132Calculus IILAX1


PHYS 220Introductory Physics ILAS1LASL


PHYS 221Introductory Physics II


SCI 291Scientific WritingLAW2


Electives - 12 credits

Additional GEOL or ESCI prefix courses that are numbered 300 or higher

3 total credits from the following:

ESCI 491 (1-6) and/or ESCI 492 (1-15) Advisor approved field course or a field camp transferred in from another institution, or an advisor approved internship, 3 credits total from any combination of these options.

ESCI 491Geoscience Field Issues

1- 6

ESCI 492Earth Science Internship


3. University-Wide Credits — 1 credit*

Complete additional credits to achieve the minimum credits needed for any degree at UNC; for this program, that will typically be 1 credit.

*Note: Students who apply the recommended courses to both the liberal arts curriculum and the major requirements will have an increased number of university wide electives to apply to this degree. See your advisor for details.