This is an archive of the 2022-2023 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2022-2023 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Mission Statement

Geology is the science of understanding the Earth, including the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. The Department of Geological Sciences focuses on teaching the fundamentals of Earth science, including the scientific method, the ways in which these Earth systems interact with each other, and how humans are currently affecting these systems. Our faculty strive to incorporate current scientific problems into the curriculum, including courses on natural hazards (i.e., earthquakes, wildfire and landslides) and paleoclimatology, in addition to core courses in geology and geophysics. Most courses involve either field or laboratory components and utilize the most recent geochemical, field and modeling techniques. We strive to prepare our students for a diversity of careers, including resource management, education, geotechnical engineering, environmental remediation and energy production, as well as postgraduate study.

Academic Advisement

Undergraduate and graduate majors must be advised each semester by the appropriate advisor in their degree program prior to registering for classes. Refer to Advisement Information for details.


A wide variety of employment opportunities exist for Geology and Geophysics majors in both private industry and government. Private industry careers include, but are not limited to, geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting, hydrogeology, water resource management, petroleum geology and mining. Government positions include both state and federal geology institutions (e.g., United States Geological Survey or California Geological Survey). Many undergraduates are accepted into graduate programs with some electing for careers as teachers or professors at the secondary and university level.


B.S. Honors Program

This program provides an opportunity for outstanding Geology majors to gain intensive research experience under individual faculty guidance. The designation “Honors” will be added to the academic record of any student who completes the program. Admission to the Honors Program is granted by approval of the department undergraduate advisor. Students in any of the B.S. options are eligible, provided they have:

  1. Completed 90 units of college work.
  2. Maintained a GPA of 3.0 overall and in the upper division Geology major.
  3. Taken GEOL 497 and received a minimum grade of “A-” in the course.
  4. Obtained the approval of a faculty sponsor who will supervise their research.

Students interested in the Honors Program should contact their department undergraduate advisor.

Graduation with Honors in Geology Requires:

  1. Admission to the Honors Program.
  2. Completion of all requirements for one of the B.S. options, plus the completion of GEOL 498—Senior Thesis (3 units).
  3. Maintenance of a GPA of 3.0 overall and in the upper division Geology major.
  4. Approval of the undergraduate thesis by the faculty advisor, including a presentation of the research.

Clubs and Societies


The department offers a variety of merit and need-based scholarships and awards to B.S. students. Contact the department for more information.


Department of Geological Sciences
Chair: Richard V. Heermance
Live Oak Hall (LO) 1202
(818) 677-3541