Earth Science, B.S.
This degree is intended for students interested in studying the earth and environment. Recognizing that these are integrated disciplines, students receive a broad background in the earth and environmental sciences and will select one specialty concentration from those listed below.
Concentration in Atmospheric Sciences
This track gives students a strong, quantitative undergraduate education in atmospheric and related sciences. The curriculum meets the American Meteorological Society's recommendations for a Bachelor's degree in atmospheric science and the US Government Civil Service GS-1340 qualification in meteorology. The department's core expertise in atmospheric sciences consists of extensive research in climate dynamics (largely in collaboration with the independent Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies) and in hurricane and natural hazards modeling (largely through GMU's Comprehensive Atmospheric Modeling Program). Graduates of the Atmospheric Sciences concentration will be prepared for a large range of career paths including operations and research (via graduate school) in meteorology, atmospheric science and climate. Contact: Dr. Julia Nord and Dr. Boybeyi
Concentration in Earth Surface Processes
This track focuses on a broad understanding of the physical processes and natural materials found at or near the Earth's surface that have produced the primary landforms and landscapes observed today. Fundamental concepts, methods, and techniques of landscape analysis are also examined. Key required courses are Introduction to Geology II or Introduction to the Ecosphere II, Mineralogy, Soil Science, Computers in Geology, and Geomorphology, as well as three courses selected by the student from Sedimentary Geology, Environmental Geology, Hydrogeology, Coastal Morphology and Processes, Geochemistry, or Geophysics. Contact: Dr. Julia Nord
Concentration in Environmental Geoscience
[New title and curriculum!] This concentration provides tools for applying geologic information (about soils, rocks, water, weather and landscapes) to contemporary environmental problems such as pollution and waste management, resource extraction, natural hazards, land-use and habitat restoration, species preservation, and human health. Environmental geoscience studies the physical environment in which biological interactions take place, and so aids in the understanding of ecology. Contact: Dr. Julia Nord
[Concentration in Environmental Science (previously declared students only)]
This concentration is not accepting new students. Please see the Environmental Geoscience concentration above. This subdiscipline integrates the physical elements of earth science into the broader field of environmental science through classes in ecology of natural systems and human interactions with the environment. This provides students with a scientifically grounded, interdisciplinary degree. Key required courses are Introduction to the Ecosphere II, General Ecology, Applied Ecology, Human Dimensions of the Environment, Environmental Geology, and Soil Science, as well as two courses selected by the student from Plant Communities, Marine Ecology, or Aquatic Ecology. Contact: Dr. Chris Parsons.
Concentration in Geology
The Geology Concentration in fashioned after traditional Geology bachelor's degrees. It allows graduates to be employed as geologists in the field or pursue graduate studies in geology. Required courses are Introductory Geology II, Mineralogy, Sedimentary Geology, Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, Geomorphology, Structural Geology, and Geological Field Mapping. Contact: Dr. Julia Nord
Concentration in Earth Science Education
This track is for students intending to pursue secondary school teaching in Earth Science. Key required courses are Introductory Astronomy, Introductory Geology II, Introduction to Teaching, Teaching Science in the Secondary School, Mineralogy, and GEOL 408 and 409 (Teaching Practicum), as well as two courses selected by the student from Sedimentary Geology, Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, Paleontology, Geomorphology. Contact: Dr. Julia Nord
Starting Fall 2009, the title and requirements for the concentration in Coastal Oceanography and Estuarine Science have been modified to encompass a broader range of oceanographic disciplines.This concentration provides students with a comprehensive knowledge of aquatic biology and ecosystems. Additional coursework in physical and chemical oceanography give insight into the aquatic environment and its link to both ecosystems and climate. Within the concentration, students can choose an open ocean or coastal option for ecology and geology. The curriculum will emphasize local and regional case studies, in particular the Chesapeake Bay. The program will provide students with the basic training required to allow them to obtain entry level positions in marine and freshwater biological career tracks, or an appropriate graduate degree program. Contacts: Dr. Julia Nord and Dr. Chris Parsons
Graduates of the B.S. in Earth Science program will be suited for graduate school in the broad fields of earth science and environmental science, or specific earth sciences such as geology, oceanography, hydrology, and atmospheric science. Graduates of the program will also find job opportunities in government, industry, and non-profit organizations. Government agencies include the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Minerals Management Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service, among others. Many of our graduates will find employment with local environmental and engineering consulting companies. In addition, a few of our students will find employment and internships with non-profit organizations such as the Nature Conservancy. Locally and nationally, these are growing fields of employment.
In addition to university-wide general education requirements students must complete the following course work with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Through the course work below, earth science majors satisfy the university and college requirements in natural science and quantitative reasoning.
40 credits in core science and mathematics, including:
CHEM 211, 212
CLIM 111/112 or PHYS 111/112 or GEOG 309*
GEOL 101, 309 (BIOL 309), 406
MATH 113, 114
PHYS 160, 260, 261 or 243, 244, 245, 246**
* CLIM/PHYS 111/112 is required for Atmospheric Science concentration
** PHYS 260 is prerequisite for Atmospheric Science concentration requirement PHYS 262
34 to 35 credits in one of the following concentrations:
Atmospheric Science: CLIM 101, CS 112, MATH 213, MATH 214, PHYS 262, CLIM 301, CLIM/GGS 314, PHYS 307, CLIM 408, CSI 401/501 and 9 credits from GGS 121, MATH 313, EOS 320, EOS 353, CLIM 390, CLIM 409, CHEM 438, CLIM 411, CLIM 412, EOS 456, PHYS 475.
Earth Surface Processes: GEOL 102 OR EVPP 110; GEOL 302, 303, 306, 316 or CS 112**, GEOL 317; and four of the following: GEOL 304*, 305, 313, 315, 363, 403, 417; GEOG 311, 412, 416
Environmental Geoscience: GEOL 102, GEOL 302, GEOL 305, GEOL 306, GEOL 313, GEOL 320, GEOL 321, one of GEOL 403 or CHEM 427, one of EVPP 336 or EVPP 361, and two of the following: CLIM 101, CLIM 412, CONF 101, EVPP 201, EVPP 336, EVPP 361, EVPP 432, EVPP 436, GEOL 304, GGS 302, GGS 311, GGS 322, NCLC 211, NCLC 220, PRLS 300, PRLS 402, PHYS 331
Environmental Science: BIOL 307; EVPP 110, 111, 336, 377; GEOL 303, 305, 306; and two of the following: BIOL 345, 449; EVPP 350, 363
Geology: GEOL 102, 302, 304*, 308*, 312, 317, 401, 404***
Earth Science Education: ASTR 111 or 112; EDCI 573; EDUC 522; GEOL 102, 302, 303, 408, 409; and three of the following: EVPP 110; GEOL 304, 308, 312, 317, 363, 401. Optional teacher licensure component: EDCI 673, 790; EDUC 672; EDRD 619
Oceanography and Estuarine Science: GEOL 102; BIOL 103 and BIOL 104 or BIOL 213 and BIOL 303 or EVPP 110 and EVPP 111; CLIM 412, CHEM/GEOL 458,; GEOL 363 and BIOL 449 and 1 elective (open-ocean option), or GEOL 363 and EVPP 581 and EVPP 582 (coastal option); and 9 credits of the following: EVPP 419, NCLC/BIOL 440, EVPP 350, NCLC 395, BIOL 449, BIOL/EVPP 581, BIOL/EVPP 582, BIOL 507/EVPP 505, BIOL/EVPP 536, EVPP 377, GEOL 302, GEOL 304, GEOL 308, GEOL 312, GEOL/EVPP 363.
Coastal Oceanography and Estuarine Science [only open to students who declared a concentration before Fall 2009] EVPP 110 and EVPP 111 or BIOL 103 and BIOL 104 or BIOL 213 and BIOL 303; GEOL 102; BIOL 449, GEOL 363, EVPP 350 and two of the following: EVPP 419, NCLC/BIOL 440, NCLC 395, BIOL/EVPP 536, BIOL 507/EVPP 505, EVPP 377, EVPP 546, GEOL 302, GEOL 304, GEOL 3008, GEOL 313, GEOL 401 or other suitable course approved by the program director.
* Requires C or better in GEOL 302
** Satisfies general education information technology requirement
*** Not offered on a regular basis; 6-credit geology field camp recommended as substitute.
Mason requires all students to complete at least one course designated as writing intensive in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students fulfill this requirement as follows:
atmospheric science concentration: CLIM 408
environmental science concentration: BIOL 307
all other concentrations: GEOL 317
Earth science and geology majors who have completed 16 credits of math and science including GEOL 302 or BIOL 307, with a GPA of 3.00 or higher, are eligible to enter the departmental honors program. Transfer students who have an incoming GPA of 3.10 or higher in math and science, and a B or better in GEOL 302 or BIOL 307, are also eligible. To graduate with honors in Earth science or geology, students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in math and science, and complete the following courses with an average GPA of 3.50 or better: GEOL 406, 410, and 411.
Dr. Julia Nord, AOES Undergraduate Coordinator (all concentrations except Environmental Science).