Geosciences

Major

The geosciences major prepares students to become professional scientists capable of conducting research in terrestrial and marine geologic environments. Students majoring in geosciences gain knowledge regarding fundamental concepts of Earth systems history, structures, materials, and processes, as well as research methods employed by geoscientists. In addition, geoscience students develop scientific communication skills. All graduates are expected to be able to speak professionally and write effective scientific reports.

The geosciences major is particularly appropriate for environmental studies students who wish to gain a detailed understanding of our physical environment.

B.S. in Geosciences

Nine geoscience courses plus six supporting courses and a capstone experience for a total of 16 courses are required for the major.

B.A. in Geosciences

Nine geoscience courses plus three supporting courses and a capstone experience for a total of 13 courses are required for the major.

The B.A. and B.S. degrees both require a foundation of nine geoscience courses as follows:

Required Core Courses

  • MS 101 Geological Oceanography or ES 211 Intro to Earth Science
  • MS 243 Earth Systems History
  • MS 247 Earth Materials
  • MS 305 Marine Stratigraphy & Sediment
  • MS 306 Earth Structure

Four of the following Upper-Level Electives

  • MS 303 Solid Earth Geophysics
  • MS 304 Marine Invertebrate Paleontology
  • MS 309 Principles of Hydrology
  • MS 342 Chemical and Physical Oceanography
  • MS 347 Marine Geochemistry
  • MS 401 Coastal Geology
  • ES 317 Global Environmental Change
  • ES 341 GIS for Environmental Studies
  • ES 342 Remote Sensing
  • Field Camp (highly recommended; see description below)

B.S. in Geosciences

Nine core courses and electives as outlined above plus 6 supporting courses and a Capstone Experience.

Supporting Courses

  • CH 121 Chemistry I
  • CH 122 Chemistry II
  • MA 131 Calculus I
  • MA 132 Calculus II or Statistics
  • PH 241 Physics I
  • PH 242 Physics II

B.A. in Geosciences

Nine core courses and electives as outlined above plus 3 supporting courses and a Capstone Experience.

Supporting Courses

  • MA 131 Calculus I or Statistics
  • Two courses chosen from the following: CH 121N, CH 122, PH 241N, PH 242.
  • Capstone Experiences

Majors must consult with geosciences faculty to complete one of the following capstone experiences:

  • Comprehensive Exam: A thorough exam covering all geoscience courses in the major, which is typically offered during the Winter Term of a student's senior year.
  • Thesis in Geoscience: A formal thesis including original research on either marine or terrestrial geologic environments. At least one geosciences faculty member must be on the thesis committee. A thesis must be planned in consultation with geosciences faculty and may be done by invitation only.
  • Field camp is highly recommended for all geosciences majors. It is an intense program wherein students are immersed in learning field techniques for studying terrestrial geology. To facilitate a field experience in new geologic settings that differ from Eckerd's coastal environments, students attend summer programs offered by other colleges and universities. To count as an elective in the geosciences major, the field camp must meet the criteria for acceptance of transfer credit as indicated in the Eckerd College Course Catalog. Students should consult with geosciences faculty to choose an appropriate field camp.

Sample Cou
rse Sequence for a B.S. in Geosciences

First Years

  • Geological Oceanography
  • Earth Materials
  • Chemistry I & II

Sophomores

  • Earth Systems History
  • Earth Structure
  • Calculus I
  • Statistics

Juniors

  • Marine Stratigraphy & Sediment
  • Coastal Geology
  • Physics I & II

Seniors

  • Marine Geochemistry
  • Solid Earth Geophysics
  • Marine Invertebrate Paleontology
  • Comprehensive Exam

Students pursuing the B.A. in geosciences may follow the same sequence but choose Calculus I or Statistics and Chemistry I or II or Physics I and II or Chemistry I and Physics I.

Students should consult with faculty to personalize schedules as most upper-level electives in geosciences are taught on an every-other-year basis. Other courses are typically offered once each year.

The Geosciences minor consists of five courses.

Three Required Core Courses:

  • MS 101N Geological Oceanography
  • MS 234 Earth Systems History
  • MS 257 Earth Materials

Two Upper-Level Electives from the following list:

  • MS 303 Solid Earth Geophysics
  • MS 304 Marine Invertebrate Paleontology
  • MS 305 Marine Stratigraphy & Sedimentation
  • MS 306 Earth Structure
  • MS 309 Principles of Hydrology
  • MS 347 Marine Geochemistry
  • MS 401 Coastal Geology

The Geosciences minor is particularly appropriate for Environmental Studies students who wish to better understand our physical environment.

See course descriptions in Marine Science for numbers with a MS prefix and Environmental Studies for numbers with an ES prefix.

Students who major in Geosciences may not minor in Marine Science. In addition, they may not major in the Marine Science geology or geophysics track.


Minor

The geosciences minor introduces students to Earth systems, history, structures, materials, and processes. The geosciences minor is particularly appropriate for environmental studies students who wish to better understand our physical environment. The geology minor consists of five courses.

Three Required Core Courses:

  • MS 101N Geological Oceanography
  • MS 234 Earth Systems History
  • MS 257 Earth Materials

Two Upper-Level Electives from the following list:

  • MS 303 Solid Earth Geophysics
  • MS 304 Marine Invertebrate Paleontology
  • MS 305 Marine Stratigraphy & Sedimentation
  • MS 306 Earth Structure
  • MS 309 Principles of Hydrology
  • MS 347 Marine Geochemistry
  • MS 401 Coastal Geology


Courses

GS 498: Comprehensive Exam
Offered each Winter Term and required for geosciences majors, with the exception of those who complete a senior thesis. Written exam covering geosciences courses. Extensive written and oral report on a geosciences topic. Seniors only.

GS 499: Senior Thesis
Directed research project related to marine or terrestrial geologic environments. By invitation of geosciences faculty only. Formal dissertation and oral defense required. Geosciences students may substitute a senior thesis for the comprehensive exam.