The Major

Faculty in the Geosciences Department are committed to providing excellent training for future geoscientists as well as teaching earth science as part of a balanced liberal arts education for non-majors. Introductory and advanced courses in geology, oceanography, and earth systems introduce students to the wide fields of geosciences, both for general education and as a foundation for majoring in the department.

The department consists of several faculty members and staff and about 20 junior and senior majors. Faculty are devoted to teaching and working with undergraduates, but are also active, publishing researchers. Undergraduates have ample opportunities to work on original research and often co-author publications or present their work at national professional meetings, even before graduation.

We aspire to create an inclusive department environment, and to build a diverse community of aware, curious, informed citizens of the planet, who can progress to careers in a wide range of fields. Our department is small, and this means students and faculty interact closely in the classroom, in the lab, on field trips, and during department events which range from cookouts to watching cheesy geology-themed movies.

In the Geosciences major, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Make observations and measurements of the natural environment
  • Understand the major processes that shape the planet
  • Understand the role of time in shaping Earth systems, on scales from billions of years to seconds.
  • Trace connections between different Earth system components, and realise how Chemistry, Physics and Biology are intertwined in the Geosciences
  • Learn and practice good habits of data collection and analysis
  • Learn to formulate testable hypotheses in the Geosciences
  • Learn to solve problems using quantitative methods and logical reasoning
  • Learn about modern analytic methods and equipment
  • Participate effectively in collaborative problem solving
  • Present work formally, both orally and in writing
  • Use scientific literature to interpret and discuss research