Arts & Sciences Geology

Quick points
Attribute Value
College: Arts & Sciences
Degree Offered: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science
Hours Required: 120
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.0 for graduation
Minor Available: Yes
Advisor: Richard Kettler
  1. Intro


COLLEGE: Arts & Sciences

MAJOR: Geology

DEGREE OFFERED: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science


MINIMUM CUMULATIVE GPA: 2.0 for graduation


ADVISOR: Richard Kettler


Chair: Tracy Frank, 214 Bessey

Professors: Fielding, Frank, Fritz, Goble, Harwood, Holmes, Hu, Joeckel, Loope, Oglesby, Pederson, Rowe, Watkins, Zlotnik

Associate Professors: Anderson, Houston, Kettler, Rack, Secord, Wang

Assistant Professors: Arthurs, Bathke, Burberry, Head, Weber

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences offers a variety of courses leading to the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in geology and the bachelor of science degree in meteorology-climatology.

Graduate Work. The Department of Geosciences offers the master of sciences, and doctor of philosophy degrees. For details see the Graduate Studies Bulletin.

Major in Geology

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences offers both the bachelor of science and the bachelor of arts degrees in geology. The bachelor of science program is designed for those who expect to continue in graduate work and become professional geoscientists. Undergraduate training in geology is also beneficial in many other fields such as teaching at the precollege level, urban planning, law, civil engineering, environmental studies, and museum work. Students preparing for these or similar areas are advised to take the bachelor of arts program, which is strong in fundamental geology but does not emphasize the ancillary courses required for admission to many graduate programs.

Field Trips. Many of the geology courses require field trips that typically include camping and primitive conditions. The number of trips and their duration are a function of the requirements of the particular course. Students seeking information or accommodation should contact the course instructor.


Specific Major Requirements

Bachelor of Science

The following curriculum, leading to the bachelor of science degree, is recommended as a minimum program for the pre-professional geologist. All candidates for this degree are required to attend a field camp.

The major must include 30 hours in eight courses (GEOL 101, GEOL 103, GEOL 210, GEOL 211, GEOL 310, GEOL 340, GEOL 410, and GEOL 460). An additional 12 credit hours must be acceptable electives above the 100 level, with at least one course at the 400 level. Acceptable electives include any GEOL courses at the 200, 300 or 400 level as well as METR 100 or METR 370.

No minor is required, however the student must complete a set of ancillary science and math requirements totaling 30 credit hours. These must include MATH 106 and MATH 107, CHEM 109 or CHEM 113, and PHYS 141 and PHYS 142 or equivalents. The additional 6 required credit hours in science and math must consist of courses from the following list:

ASTR 204

BIOS 101/BIOS 101L, BIOS 109, BIOS 112 & BIOS 112L, BIOS 206, LIFE 120 & LIFE 120L, LIFE 121 & LIFE 121L

CHEM 110 or CHEM 114, CHEM 116 or CHEM 221, (CHEM 251 and CHEM 253) or (CHEM 261 and CHEM 263), CHEM 471

MATH 208, MATH 221, MATH 380

STAT 218

PHYS 311, PHYS 343

A candidate for the bachelor of science in geology should complete, by the end of the sophomore year, MATH 107; CHEM 113 (or equivalent), GEOL 210, and GEOL 211. By the end of the junior year the student should also have completed GEOL 310 and the physics requirement. GEOL 460 is typically taken between the junior and senior years.

Bachelor of Arts

The bachelor of arts program consists of the college comprehensive education requirements with at least one semester of chemistry and MATH 102 or MATH 103, plus a minimum of 30 hours in geology including GEOL 101, GEOL 103, GEOL 210, GEOL 211, GEOL 310, and GEOL 340. Remaining credits in geology may include only 4 hours at the 100 level.

Program Assessment. In order to assist the department in evaluating the effectiveness of its programs, majors will be required:

  • To maintain and submit a portfolio of material produced for the required Summer Field Course, GEOL 460 (for BS students), or for the required Depositional Environments course, GEOL 310 (for BA students). Course instructors will inform students of the required contents, deadlines and procedures.

Results of participation in this assessment activity will in no way affect a student’s GPA or graduation.

Tracks/Options/Concentrations/Emphases Requirements

Professional Geologist Emphasis. Over 30 U.S. and Canadian states and provinces, including Nebraska, require geologists whose work affects public health and safety to obtain a professional license. Students wishing to pursue professional licensure should take the required core courses as well as GEOL 488. Recommended electives include GEOL 450, GEOL 470, GEOL 472, and GEOL 485.

Sedimentology Emphasis. Students pursuing this emphasis should choose four electives from the following: GEOL 414, GEOL 420, GEOL 421, GEOL 450, GEOL 485.

Paleontology and Earth Systems Emphasis. Students pursuing this emphasis should choose four electives from the following: GEOL 417, GEOL 423, GEOL 424, GEOL 430, GEOL 431, GEOL 435.

Hydrological Sciences Emphasis. Students pursuing this emphasis should choose four electives from the following: GEOL 417, GEOL 418, GEOL 450, GEOL 465, GEOL 470, GEOL 472, GEOL 488.


Grade Rules

Pass/No Pass Limits

Students majoring in geology may not take major courses for Pass/No Pass credit (possible exceptions are independent study and hours in excess of those required for the major). Majors may take up to 6 hours Pass/No Pass in their minor(s), subject to the approval of the department(s) granting the minor(s). Students minoring in geology may take up to 6 hours Pass/No Pass subject to the approval of the department granting the major. To secure the necessary approval, students may obtain request forms from the Arts & Sciences Advising Center, 107 Oldfather Hall.


  • 22 hours with only 8 hrs at the 100 level.