Major Requirements

Major Requirements. The major requirements include eight core courses, four elective courses, and a one- or two-semester thesis.

Core Courses.

One of the following:
GEO 103. Earth Surface Environments and Environmental Change/Lab.
GEO 104. Plate Tectonics and Tectonic Hazards.
GEO 107. Katahdin to Acadia: Field Geology in Maine/Lab.
GEO 109. Global Change/Lab.
FYS 476. Coastal Hazards.

All of the following:
GEO 210. Sedimentary Processes and Environments/Lab.
GEO 223. Earth Materials/Lab.
GEO 230. Earth Structure and Dynamics/Lab.
GEO 240. Environmental Geochemistry/Lab.

Two 300-level geology courses.

One geology Short Term course.

Elective Courses. Students must take two courses from List A and two courses from List B.

List A:
ES/GE 217. Mapping and GIS.
GE/PH 220. Dynamical Climate.
ES/GE 226. Hydrogeology.
GEO 360. Independent Study.
GEO 458. Senior Thesis (taken in addition to GEO 457, creating a yearlong thesis).
A second Short Term geology course.
A third 300-level geology course
One or two 200- or 300-level courses transferred from an off-campus study program as electives with prior approval of the department.

List B:
GE/PH 111. Polar Environment, Climate and Ecosystems.
BI/GE 113. Marine Science.
BIO 190. Organismal Biology.
BIO 195. Lab-Based Biological Inquiry.
BIO 244. Biostatistics.
BIO 270. Ecology and Evolution.
CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure.
CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity.
ENVR 203. Scientific Approaches to Environmental Issues.
ENVR 240. Water and Watersheds.
ENVR 310. Soils.
FYS 274. Physics in the Twentieth Century.
MATH 105. Calculus I.
MATH 106. Calculus II.
PHYS 107. Classical Physics/Lab.
PHYS 108. Modern Physics/Lab.

Senior Thesis.

In academic year 2019-20, seniors may choose to complete a one-semester thesis (GEO 457) or a two-semester thesis (GEO 457 and 458). The two-semester option is normally reserved for honors candidates, those students who plan to pursue a career in the geological or environmental sciences, and/or those planning to attend graduate school in geological or environmental sciences. Beginning in academic year 2020-21, the two-semester thesis option will be reserved for honors thesis students only.

To qualify for doing an honors thesis in geology, students must meet the following criteria:

An A- or better in GEO 457

Support of their thesis advisor

A GPA of 3.5 or better in the major

B.S. or B.A. Degree for Geology Majors. Students may get either a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Geology.  Students planning careers or graduate school in the geological or environmental sciences are encouraged to complete a two-semester thesis (GEO 457 and 458), and to complete the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree requirements (2 semesters of introductory chemistry and physics and calculus.  See details in the Academic Program section of the catalog.)  All others are encouraged to complete a B.A. degree.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for any course used to fulfill the major requirements.

Interdisciplinary Interests. The departmental course offerings allow a maximum of flexibility to meet individual interests. Students with environmental science interests are encouraged to choose a major in geology or environmental studies with a concentration in Ecology and Earth Systems or a double major involving geology and another natural science such as biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics. Students contemplating a major in geology or an interdisciplinary major or double major are strongly encouraged to consult with the geology faculty during their second year to plan an appropriate program of study. All programs are subject to departmental approval.

Study Abroad: Guidelines for Geology Majors Regarding Off-Campus Study.

“Whoever sees the most rocks, wins.”  the late Bates GEO Professor, John Creasy.

1) The department encourages students to spend time abroad and recommends that majors do so for only one semester.
2) The department expects that majors will have completed the following major requirements prior to the semester abroad: one 100-level course; a minimum of three 200-level courses and one geology Short Term course.
3) The department expects that majors take all four 200-level courses at Bates.
4) The department expects that majors will have completed the following major requirements prior to their senior year: all four 200-level core courses and one 300-level course.
5) All applications for off-campus study require approval of the major advisor and the department chair.
6) Applications that involve exceptions to the above guidelines require a petition review and approval by the department.
7) The department normally accepts only two non-Bates courses toward the major. These two courses are counted as electives under list A in the major requirements.