Major Requirements

Majors take at least nine courses in Geosciences. The required courses give students exposure to the breadth of the field of Geosciences, as well as providing a sound foundation of general understanding and specific knowledge in the earth sciences. Geosciences alums go in many different directions, including education, public policy, journalism, environmental consulting, and scientific research. Consult with a Geosciences faculty member for advice on course choices in other departments or programs that will complement your major.

For students in the Class of 2024 onwards:

Of the courses taken below, at least one and preferably two courses need to be from each of the three course groups:

  • Oceans and Climate (OC): the science of the atmosphere, ocean and cryosphere, including dynamics of the climate system, analyzing past and future climate variability.
  • Sediments and Life (SL): the science of modern and ancient sediments, including surface processes such as erosion, and preserved records of earth and life history such as fossils.
  • Solid Earth (SE): the science of the modern and ancient solid earth, including the formation of the planets, the origins and fates of minerals and rocks, and the formation of mountains.

Course Planning Guide 2024-2025

Components of the Geosciences major

At most two 100-level courses:

  • Geosciences 100 Introduction to Weather and Climate
  • Geosciences 101 Co-evolution of Earth and Life
  • Geosciences 102 An Unfinished Planet
  • Geosciences 103 Global Warming and Environmental Change
  • Geosciences 104 Oceanography
  • Geosciences 107 Astrobiology
  • Geosciences 109 Geologic Hazards
  • Geosciences 110 Oceans and Society
  • Geosciences 111T Radical Science: How Geology Changed the Way We See the World (SE)

At least two 200-level courses from this group:

  • Geosciences 201 Field Methods and Structural Geology (SE)
  • Geosciences 205 Economic Geology and Earth Resources (SE)
  • Geosciences 207 Geosciences of Epidemiology and Public Health (SL)
  • Geosciences 208 The Modern Carbon Cycle:  The Story from Stable Isotopes (OC)
  • Geosciences 210 Oceanographic Processes (W-M) (OC)
  • Geosciences 211 Oceanographic Processes (OC)
  • Geosciences 212 Paleobiology (SL)
  • Geosciences 214 Mastering Geographic Information Systems
  • Geosciences 215 Climate Changes (OC)
  • Geosciences 217 Planets and Moons (SE)
  • Geosciences 226T Ocean Circulation and Climate (OC)
  • Geosciences 227T Climate Data Analysis (OC)
  • Geosciences 255 Environmental Observation (OC)
  • Geosciences 275 Ocean and Climate Changes (OC)

At least two 300-level courses from this group:

  • Geosciences 301 Geomorphology (SL)
  • Geosciences 302 Sedimentology (SL)
  • Geosciences 304 Minerology & Petrology (SE)
  • Geosciences 308 Life on Mars? (SL)
  • Geosciences 309 Modern Climate (OC)
  • Geosciences 314 Analytical Historical Geology (SL)
  • Geosciences 324 Corals and Sea Level (OC)
  • Geosciences 327 Coastal Processes and Geomorphology (SL)

At least one 400-level senior seminar:

  • Geosciences 401 Global Tectonics and the Rise of Mountains
  • Geosciences 405 Geochemistry
  • Geosciences 409 Volcanology (SE)
  • Geosciences 410 The Cryosphere (OC)
  • Geosciences 411 Geobiology (SL)
  • Geosciences 414 Reading Deep time (SL)

Enough courses from this group to bring the total to nine:

  • Geosciences 220T Evolution of and on Volcanic Islands (SE)
  • Geosciences 221T Climate Science and Politics (OC)
  • Geosciences 245T Hydrothermal Vents (OC)
  • Geosciences 250T Climate, Tectonics and Erosion (SE)
  • Geosciences 272T Earth Hazards and Risk (SL)
  • Geosciences 312T Mass Extinctions (SL)