Bachelor of Arts Degree
Arts and Sciences
Main Campus with Distance Learning Options
Time to Completion
Evening Courses Offered
Distance Learning Courses Offered
Weekend Courses Offered
Contact InformationDepartment Website
PO Box 210013
What Is Geology ?
Geology has undergone a revolution in the past decade, becoming an interdisciplinary science that emphasizes the study of major Earth systems - the solid Earth, the Earth’s surface, the hydrosphere, atmosphere and cryosphere (ice!), and the ancient and modern biosphere. Geology majors learn how these systems work and how they are connected. Geology majors integrate knowledge of Earth materials, the processes that have shaped them and the deep chronology of Earth history to understand global change through time.
Geology provides many opportunities for travel and fieldwork. Students who enjoy hiking and camping and can learn by examining samples of minerals, rocks, fossils, soils and other geologic materials will be ready to succeed in geology. Map reading and the ability to visualize in three dimensions help enormously in "seeing" landscapes and the geometry of rock formations. Geology includes quantitative analysis of a variety of data, and ability in mathematics can be indispensable. Geology integrates aspects of chemistry, physics and biology. Students attracted to science in general will succeed.
The bachelor of arts in geology is designed for undergraduates who wish to study geology as a foundation for careers in a variety of areas, such as environmental law, natural resource industry, land use planning, earth science education, science journalism and many government positions. There are positions for graduates with a B.A. in geology in environmental consulting, secondary education and other related fields. Graduates with a B.A. in geology are generally well-prepared for graduate study, which is required for many professional positions although, as noted below, additional courses in math and associated sciences may be required in graduate school. The skills that geology majors learn in observation, data analysis, field mapping, surveying, computing and communicating make them well prepared for a wide variety of employment. Career possibilities include:
- Environmental engineer
- Environmental consultant
- Environmental Protection Agency employee
- Petroleum geologist
- Employee of state geological surveys
- Park naturalist
- Museum curator
- University professor
- Employee of the U.S. Geological Survey
- Book editor
- Computer analyst
- Public policy consultant
Additional career options are listed on the Career Development Center's Web site.
The B.A. program includes a broad spectrum of courses that focus both on information about the Earth and on how society makes decisions that affect the Earth system. As with the B.S. degree program, the B.A. in geology has a strong field component. Field trips are an essential part of many courses, and the department offers several stand-alone field trip courses to local, regional, national and international locations. Students with B.A. degrees may also opt for further study of geology/earth sciences at the graduate level, but depending upon what aspects of study they pursue, they may need to take additional courses in auxiliary sciences or mathematics.
The purpose of this degree is to enable students to acquire knowledge across a broad spectrum of the geological sciences, without the full requirements of auxiliary sciences required by the BS degree. In particular, it provides an opportunity for students who are inclined toward geology to obtain a solid grounding in geological sciences beyond the minor in geology.
UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences' (A&S) flexible degree requirements allow for and highly encourage students to pursue multiple areas of study. Free electives allow for enough credits for students to pursue a minor, certificate program or even complete a second major. Some of the most common pairings are listed below.
- Mathematical sciences
Important advances in our understanding of Earth materials, processes and history are being made by integrating different branches of geology. More than ever before, earth scientists from different subdisciplines are collaborating to establish links among different Earth systems (for example, erosion and the geomorphic evolution of the Himalayas has helped govern its tectonic and metamorphic evolution). To this end, the Geology Department welcomes students from all other disciplines to pursue a minor in geology.
In addition, even students with primary interest in such fields as political science would benefit from expertise in geology because of the public policy ramifications.
The College of Arts and Sciences requires a minimum of 36 credits for completion of a minor. To be awarded a minor in geology, students must complete at least 36 credits from courses offered by the Geology Department. At least six of these 36 credits must come from field study. Geology courses from all levels may count towards the minor in geology. Students may design their own program of study, including the six credits from field study. In addition, the department offers two specific plans through which students may satisfy the 36-credit requirement. Details are available on the department Web site.
This curriculum information is intended as a general information guide for students considering enrollment in this major. These online tools are designed to assist you, but are not a substitute for planning with an academic or faculty advisor.
If you are currently enrolled at UC, you can audit your degree online. If you are considering transferring to this major from another school use the course applicability system (CAS) to see how credits you have earned will apply to this major at UC. For course descriptions by college, click here.
Students choose from among different options to complete their schedule of courses, and they should work closely with the undergraduate program director and mentors in the Geology department to decide on the best options for their major.
A suggested course schedule is as follows:
|First Year||Course Number||Credits|
|*English Composition||ENGL 101, 102||6|
|Introduction: Choose one of the following two options: (A), or (B)||9|
|(A) Freshman Seminars (recommended)||GEOL 171, 172, 173||(9)|
|(B) Geology Laboratory||GEOL 111, 112, 113||(9)|
|Mathematics: Choose one of the following three options: (A), (B), or (C) below||9-15|
|(A) Elementary Probability & Statistics||STAT 147, 148, 149||(9)|
|(B) Applied Calculus||MATH 224, 226, 227||(9)|
|(C) Calculus I, II with Lab, and III with Lab||MATH 251, 252/256, 253/257||(15)|
|First Year Chemistry||CHEM 101/111||5|
|Intro Level Courses: Choose two coure for a minimum of 6 credits from among the following three options: (A), (B), or (C) below||6-15|
|(A) First Year Chemistry Lecture and Lab||CHEM 102/112, 103/113||(10)|
|(B) Physics Lecture and Lab||PHYS 101/111, 102/112, 103/113||(15)|
|(C) Biology Lecture and Lab||BIOL 101/111, 102/112, 103/113||(15)|
|**Free electives (recommended to count in a minor or other program. See note below.)||see options||0-10|
|Total for first year||45-50|
|Second Year||Course Number||Credits|
|*Intermediate Composition||ENGL 289||3|
|Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology||GEOL 201||4|
|Geomorphic Processes||GEOL 203||4|
|Structural Geology||GEOL 204||4|
|Paleontology and Paleoenvironments||GEOL 205||4|
|Sedimentary Geology and Earth History||GEOL 206||4|
|*Foreign Language||see checklist||9-15|
|**Free electives (recommended to count in a minor or other program. See note below.)||3-9|
|Total for second year||45|
|Third Year||Course Number||Credits|
|Earth Surface Processes (Field Project)||GEOL 207||5|
|Upper Level Geology Courses (see list below)||GEOL 500+||9|
|Foreign Language (if necessary)||see checklist||0-9|
|*Social Sciences (SS)||see offerings||9|
|*Historical Perspectives (HP)||see offerings||9|
|*Humanities (HU)||see offerings||3|
|**Free electives (recommended to count in a minor or other program. See note below.)||see options||1-10|
|Total for third year||45|
|Summer (between third & fourth years)||Course Number||Credits|
|Choose one of the following two options: (A), or (B)|
|(A) Three-to-six week summer field course (see more info on department site)||see major advisor||6 (varies)|
|(B) Develop an independent research program approved by department (see more info on department site)||see major advisor||6 (varies)|
|Fourth Year||Course Number||Credits|
|Upper Level Geology Courses (see list below)||GEOL 500+||9|
|*Literature (LT)||see offerings||3|
|*Humanities, Literature, or Fine Arts (HU, LT, or FA)||see offerings||3|
|*Social & Ethical Issues (if not already taken, SE)||see offerings||3|
|**Free electives (recommended to count in a minor or other program. See note below.)||see options||21|
|Total for fourth year||39|
|Total overall||Minimum 180|
*Needed to fulfill A&S college requirements.
**Note on free electives: Geology majors are especially encouraged to take free electives in technical writing, Geographic Information Systems from the Department of Geography, and additional courses in material sciences, engineering, mathematics, biology or other physical sciences.
A. DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
The B.A. in geology requires 54 credit hours of courses in geology as well as five cognate courses in allied fields.
1) Introductory Courses: Students are required to take three introductory courses; it is strongly recommended that students intending to major in geology take either the lab series 111, 112, 113 or the freshman seminar series GEOL 171, 172, 173 to fulfill this requirement.
Students may substitute GEOL 101, 102, 103 OR GEOL 104, 105, 106 OR GEOL 161, 162, 163, with permission of the undergraduate advisor. It is recommended that students complete one full series rather than taking individual courses from among the three series (total of nine credits).
2) Required Geology Core Courses: Students are required to complete the following geology core courses*; each course will have a dedicated lab and will receive four credits except for GEOL 207, which is intended as a field- and lab-based research component of the series and will receive five credits (total 29 credits).
- GEOL 201 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
- GEOL 202 Mineralogy (prerequisite/co-requisite CHEM 101, 102)
- GEOL 203 Geomorphic Processes
- GEOL 204 Structural Geology (prerequisite GEOL 201, 202)
- GEOL 205 Paleontology and Paleoenvironments
- GEOL 206 Sedimentary Geology and Earth History (prerequisite GEOL 205)
- GEOL 207 Surface Processes and Field Project (Prerequisite GEOL 203, 204)
3) Upper Level Geology Courses: Students are required to take at least six courses (18 credits), preferably chosen from the following list; other 500-level geology courses are also acceptable. Courses in other A&S departments (such as GEOG 580, Introduction to GIS, GEOG 581, GIS of Environmental Applications, GEOG 576 Principles of Remote Sensing, and others) as well as courses in other colleges (in particular, the College of Engineering) may be used to satisfy this requirement. Students who choose courses outside of the Department of Geology to satisfy their BA degree requirements must receive prior approval from the director of undergraduate studies.
- GEOL 501 Igneous Petrology
- GEOL 502 Sedimentary Petrology
- GEOL 503 Tectonic Environments and Crystalline Rocks
- GEOL 504 Geomorphic Processes
- GEOL 508 Volcanoes and Planetary Interiors
- GEOL 511 Structural Geology
- GEOL 521 Invertebrate Paleontology 1
- GEOL 522 Invertebrate Paleontology 2
- GEOL 523 Vertebrate Paleontology
- GEOL 525 Global Biodiversity
- GEOL 531 Stratigraphy & Sedimentology 1
- GEOL 532 Stratigraphy & Sedimentology 2
- GEOL 551 Groundwater Geology 1
- GEOL 554 Geochemistry of Natural Waters
- GEOL 555 Organic Compounds in Natural Waters
- GEOL 572 Quaternary Geochronology
- GEOL 574 Glacial Geology
- GEOL 575 Glacial Field Methods
- GEOL 590 Geology of the Himalaya
4) Capstone Course: Students are required to take at least six credits of capstone courses; these might include a six-credit summer geology field course, Bahamas field course, or an individualized project (see departmental options for capstone courses; six credits total).
B. Required cognate courses:
1) Mathematics: All students must take at least three quarters (at least nine credits) of mathematics from among the following sets of courses: STAT 147-148-149 (Elementary Probability & Statistics); MATH 224-226-227 (Applied Calculus); MATH 251-252-253 (Calculus I, II, III).
2) Chemistry/Physics/Biology: All students must complete CHEMISTRY 101/111, and at least two other courses (at least six additional credits) from among CHEMISTRY 102/112, 103/113, PHYSICS 101/111, 102/112, 103/113, or BIOLOGY 101/111, 102/112, 103/113.
Introductory level courses 9
Core courses 29
Upper level geology courses 18
Capstone courses 6
Other cognate sciences 11
Students in McMicken College of Arts and Sciences enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tri-state location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.
The Department of Geology provides majors the special combination of emphasizing field study that is local, regional and international in scope, encouraging majors to pursue their own interests and supporting independent student research projects all in a student-friendly atmosphere. Field- and lab-based courses and field trips are an essential part of the undergraduate program. Field trips are regularly taken to Alaska, Iceland and the Himalaya of northern India. Most majors attend summer field camp, and the department provides scholarships to help support their expenses. Students have recently attended camps in Alaska, Italy, Nevada, California and Hawaii. Working as assistants to department graduate students in their field and laboratory research is an additional opportunity for majors.
Each senior is required to complete a "capstone experience" that involves: a) hands-on integration of knowledge, b) analytical and problem-solving aspects, c) written and oral documentation and d) demonstration of some aspect of social relevance. There is considerable flexibility in this requirement. Geology students have two major options: a) field course/camp experience (recommended for most students) or b) individualized training and research projects. Students should work with the undergraduate advisor to determine which option is the most appropriate.
I. Field Course Option: The primary means for completing the capstone experience will involve "traditional" geology field camps (minimum of six credits and typically four-six weeks mapping).
II. Individualized Study Option: Alternatively, students may propose an individualized program of rigorous study and research. This program must involve a field component (it might include, for example mapping a quadrangle under supervision of a faculty member, together with a report; it might also include a project that involves the collection and analysis of field samples).
Admission criteria for this program vary based on the relative strength of test scores, class rank and GPA. Please see the Freshman Class Profile for this major in the Quick Facts sidebar on this page for the range of academic credentials typically accepted into this program. Test scores in the lower range may be acceptable with higher class rank and/or GPA.Freshmen applying to this program should also have completed the following state of Ohio articulation requirements with no more than two units missing:
- English (4 units)*
- College-preparatory mathematics (3 units)*
- Science (2 units)
- Social science (2 units)
- Foreign language (2 units)*
- Additional college-prep subjects (3 units)
*McMicken College of Arts and Sciences does not allow units missing from these areas.
Applicants to A&S whose most recent enrollment was not in any of the UC colleges must apply through the Office of Admissions. Applicants in this category must submit transcripts for all secondary school and college-level work. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 for all college-level work is required for admission consideration. Admission to A&S is generally available for any off-campus applicants who have received an associate degree from an accredited college or university and whose cumulative GPA is 2.0 or higher.
University transfer scholarships are available to those who meet specific requirements and ANY admitted A&S transfer student might qualify for an A&S transfer scholarship. Deadlines and eligibility criteria are online via the previous links.
Changing Major Requirements
Applicants to A&S whose most recent enrollment was as a degree student in one of UC’s other colleges can apply directly to the A&S college office. Admission to A&S is generally available for any on-campus students who have:
- at least a 2.0 GPA in all college-level courses (both at UC and at other institutions),
- successfully completed two quarters of English Composition or its equivalent and
- gained credit for a college-level mathematics course.
A&S students must meet the college residency requirement of 45.0 hours which begins immediately upon matriculation in the college and consists of courses taught within McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.
To graduate from McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, students must:
- Earn at least 180 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 180.
- Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
- Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
- Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 45 credits after matriculating into the college. These minimum 45 credits must be taught within A&S (15) and also must be completed after gaining admission to the college.
- Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (see major requirements above).
- Complete the College Core Requirements.
- Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.
UC operates on a quarter system, with 10-week grading periods beginning in late September, early January, late March and mid-June. While midyear admission is possible, fall quarter is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that quarter. Applicants to McMicken College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree-seeking students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).