Geology, Geosciences (BS)

Degree: Bachelor of Science
Major: Geosciences
Concentration: Geology
Program Code: 3472

About This Major . . .

The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Geosciences and a concentration in Geology is designed for students who (1) desire a strong liberal arts education with emphasis on the earth sciences, (2) wish to pursue a graduate degree in geology, or (3)desire a professional or technical geoscience career. Recent graduates are attending graduate programs at major universities or have entered the work force as geological technicians or professional geologists. Instruction takes place in a state-of-the-art science complex, which houses several instructional laboratories, a projects room, computer-applications laboratory, petrology-mineralogy laboratory, rock-storage facilities, and a sample preparation room. Most classes have a strong field component so that students benefit from the diverse geological setting of the Grand Junction area. Equipment includes research petrographic microscopes, binocular microscopes, x-ray diffractometer, x-ray fluorescence, GPS units, local seismic network, and a magnetometer. Computer facilities include PC systems with software for communications, database management, word-processing, geographical information systems (GIS), and geostatistics. Students engage in a capstone research project/thesis during their senior year that involves independent research and the completion of a professional report and presentation. Students develop professional skills and complete a portfolio of their work for future employers or graduate schools.

For more information on what you can do with this major, visit Career Services’ What to Do with a Major? resource.

All CMU baccalaureate graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in specialized knowledge/applied learning, quantitative fluency, communication fluency, critical thinking, personal and social responsibility, and information literacy. In addition to these campus-wide student learning outcomes, graduates of this major will be able to:

  1. Articulate the fundamental knowledge base and ideas of the major fields of geoscience. (Specialized Knowledge)
  2. Collect and interpret geoscience field data. (Applied Learning/Critical Thinking)
  3. Collect and interpret geoscience laboratory data. (Applied Learning/Critical Thinking)
  4. Use technology (e.g. computer software) for evaluating quantitative geoscience data. (Quantitative Fluency)
  5. Write an effective report on a geoscience study. (Communication Fluency)
  6. Give an effective oral presentation on a geoscience study. (Communication Fluency)

Each section below contains details about the requirements for this program. Select a header to expand the information/requirements for that particular section of the program's requirements. 

To print or save an overview of this program's information, including the program description, learning outcomes, requirements, suggested course sequencing (if applicable), and advising and graduation information, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu and select "Print Options." This will give you the options to either "Send Page to Printer" or "Download PDF of This Page." The "Download PDF of This Page" option prepares a much more concise presentation of all program information. The PDF is also printable and may be preferable due to its brevity. 

Institutional Degree Requirements

The following institutional degree requirements apply to all CMU baccalaureate degrees. Specific programs may have different requirements that must be met in addition to institutional requirements.

  • 120 semester hours minimum.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 30 of the last 60 hours of credit at CMU, with at least 15 semester hours in major discipline courses numbered 300 or higher.
  • 40 upper-division credits (an alternative credit limit applies to the Bachelor of Applied Science degree).
  • 2.00 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework.
  • A course may only be used to fulfill one requirement for each degree/certificate.
  • No more than six semester hours of independent study courses can be used toward the degree.
  • Non-traditional credit, such as advanced placement, credit by examination, credit for prior learning, cooperative education and internships, cannot exceed 30 semester credit hours for a baccalaureate degree. A maximum of 15 of the 30 credits may be for cooperative education, internships, and practica.
  • Pre-collegiate courses (usually numbered below 100) cannot be used for graduation.
  • Capstone exit assessment/projects (e.g., Major Field Achievement Test) requirements are identified under Program-Specific Degree Requirements.
  • The Catalog Year determines which program sheet and degree requirements a student must fulfill in order to graduate. Visit with your advisor or academic department to determine which catalog year and program requirements you should follow.
  • See “Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Certificates” in the catalog for a complete list of graduation requirements.

Essential Learning Requirements

(31 semester hours)

See the current catalog for a list of courses that fulfill the requirements below.  If a course is an Essential Learning option and a requirement for your major, you must use it to fulfill the major requirement and make a different selection for the Essential Learning requirement.

English 1
ENGL 111English Composition I-GTCO13
ENGL 112English Composition II-GTCO23
Mathematics 1
MATH 151Calculus I-GT-MA1 23
Select one History course3
Select one Humanities course3
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Fine Arts
Select one Fine Arts course3
Natural Sciences
Select one Natural Sciences course3
Select one Natural Sciences course with a lab 34
Total Semester Credit Hours31

Of the Total Semester Credit Hours, 1 credit applies to electives and 31 credits apply to Essential Learning requirements. See footnotes for more details.

Other Lower Division Requirements

Wellness Requirement
KINE 100Health and Wellness1
Select one Activity course1
Essential Learning Capstone 1
ESSL 290Maverick Milestone3
ESSL 200Essential Speech1
Total Semester Credit Hours6

Foundation Courses

(15 semester hours, must earn a grade of “C” or better in each course)

CHEM 131General Chemistry I-GTSC14
CHEM 131LGeneral Chemistry Laboratory I-GTSC11
Select one of the following: 15
General Physics-GTSC1
and General Physics Laboratory-GTSC1
Fundamental Mechanics-GTSC1
and Fundamental Mechanics Laboratory-GTSC1
STAT 200Probability and Statistics-GTMA13
MATH 151Calculus I-GT-MA1 22
Total Semester Credit Hours15

Program Specific Degree Requirements

(56 semester hours, must earn a grade of “C” or better in each course)

Core Courses
Select one of the following sets of courses: 14
Principles of Physical Geology-GTSC1
and Principles of Physical Geology Laboratory-GTSC1
Field-Based Introduction to Physical Geology-GTSC1
and Field-Based Introduction to Physical Geology Laboratory-GTSC1
GEOL 112Principles of Historical Geology-GTSC13
GEOL 112LPrinciples of Historical Geology Laboratory-GTSC11
GEOL 202Introduction to Field Studies3
GEOL 204Computer Applications in Geology3
GEOL 301Structural Geology3
GEOL 301LStructural Geology Laboratory1
GEOL 331Crystallography and Mineralogy3
GEOL 331LCrystallography and Mineralogy Laboratory1
GEOL 402Applications of Geomorphology3
GEOL 402LApplications of Geomorphology Laboratory1
GEOL 444Sedimentology and Stratigraphy3
GEOL 444LSedimentology and Stratigraphy Laboratory1
GEOL 480Summer Field Camp6
GEOL 490Seminar3
Required Geology Courses
GEOL 340Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology3
GEOL 340LIgneous and Metamorphic Petrology Laboratory1
GEOL 404Geophysics3
GEOL 404LGeophysics Laboratory1
Total Semester Credit Hours47
Restricted Electives
Select 9 semester hours of the following: 29
Environmental Geology
Introduction to Engineering Geology
Applied Geochemistry
Basic Hydrology
Survey of Energy-Related Natural Resources
Survey of Mineral-Related Natural Resources
Renewable Energy
Natural Resources of the West
and Paleontology Laboratory
Introduction to Ground Water
and Introduction to Ground Water Laboratory
Field-Based Depositional Systems
and Field-Based Depositional Systems Laboratory
River Dynamics
and River Dynamics Laboratory
Structured Research
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
and Introduction to Geographic Information Systems Laboratory
Soil Science and Sustainability
and Soil Science and Sustainability Laboratory
General Chemistry II-GTSC1
and General Chemistry Laboratory II-GTSC1
Calculus II
Statistical Methods
General Physics-GTSC1
and General Physics Laboratory-GTSC1
Electromagnetism and Optics-GTSC1
and Electromagnetism and Optics Laboratory-GTSC1
Total Semester Credit Hours9

General Electives

All college level courses appearing on your final transcript, not listed above that will bring your total semester hours to 120 hours. 12 semester hours; additional hours of upper division may be needed. Seven hours of Restricted and General Electives must be upper division.

Select electives12
Total Semester Credit Hours12
Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterSemester Credit Hours
ENGL 111 English Composition I-GTCO1 3
MATH 151 Calculus I-GT-MA1 5
Select one of the following: 4
Principles of Physical Geology-GTSC1
and Principles of Physical Geology Laboratory-GTSC1
Field-Based Introduction to Physical Geology-GTSC1
and Field-Based Introduction to Physical Geology Laboratory-GTSC1
Essential Learning - Humanities 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
GEOL 112
Principles of Historical Geology-GTSC1
and Principles of Historical Geology Laboratory-GTSC1
ENGL 112 English Composition II-GTCO2 3
Essential Learning - History 3
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
KINE 100 Health and Wellness 1
 Semester Credit Hours14
Second Year
Fall Semester
GEOL 202 Introduction to Field Studies 3
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
CHEM 131
General Chemistry I-GTSC1
and General Chemistry Laboratory I-GTSC1
Select one of the following: 5
General Physics-GTSC1
and General Physics Laboratory-GTSC1
Fundamental Mechanics-GTSC1
and Fundamental Mechanics Laboratory-GTSC1
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
GEOL 204 Computer Applications in Geology 3
Essential Learning - Natural Science with Lab 4
STAT 200 Probability and Statistics-GTMA1 3
ESSL 290 Maverick Milestone 3
ESSL 200 Essential Speech 1
 Semester Credit Hours14
Third Year
Fall Semester
Essential Learning - Natural Science 3
GEOL 301
Structural Geology
and Structural Geology Laboratory
GEOL 331
Crystallography and Mineralogy
and Crystallography and Mineralogy Laboratory
General Electives 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Spring Semester
GEOL 340
Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
and Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology Laboratory
Essential Learning - Fine Arts 3
General Electives 9
 Semester Credit Hours16
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
GEOL 402
Applications of Geomorphology
and Applications of Geomorphology Laboratory
Restricted Electives 9
 Semester Credit Hours13
Spring Semester
GEOL 404
and Geophysics Laboratory
KINA Activity 1
GEOL 444
Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
and Sedimentology and Stratigraphy Laboratory
GEOL 490 Seminar 3
 Semester Credit Hours12
Summer Semester
GEOL 480 Summer Field Camp 6
 Semester Credit Hours6
 Total Semester Credit Hours120

Advising Process and DegreeWorks

Documentation on the pages related to this program is intended for informational purposes to help determine what courses and associated requirements are needed to earn a degree. The suggested course sequencing outlines how students could finish degree requirements. Some courses are critical to complete in specific semesters, while others may be moved around. Meeting with an academic advisor is essential in planning courses and altering the suggested course sequencing. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand and fulfill the requirements for her/his intended degree(s).

DegreeWorks is an online degree audit tool available in MAVzone. It is the official record used by the Registrar’s Office to evaluate progress towards a degree and determine eligibility for graduation. Students are responsible for reviewing their DegreeWorks audit on a regular basis and should discuss questions or concerns with their advisor or academic department head. Discrepancies in requirements should be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Process

Students must complete the following in the first two months of the semester prior to completing their degree requirements:

  • Review their DegreeWorks audit and create a plan that outlines how unmet requirements will be met in the final semester.
  • Meet with their advisor and modify their plan as needed. The advisor must approve the final plan.
  • Submit the “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office to officially declare the intended graduation date and commencement ceremony plans.
  • Register for all needed courses and complete all requirements for each degree sought.

Submission deadlines and commencement details can be found at

If a student’s petition for graduation is denied, it will be her/his responsibility to consult the Registrar’s Office regarding next steps.