3290 Geosciences

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Geosciences (3290.1)
    • Concentration in Geography
    • Concentration in Urban Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Geosciences (3290.2)
    • Concentration in Geology
    • Concentration in Environmental Geosciences
    • Concentration in Geography
    • Concentration in Urban Studies
  • Minor in Geosciences (3290.3)
  • Dual B.A. or B.S. / M.S. in Geosciences (3290.4)
  • Certificate in Geographic Information Science (3290.5)
  • Certificate in Sustainability (3290.6)
  • Certificate in Water Science (3290.7)

Department of Geosciences
340 Kell Hall
404-413-5750
geosciences.gsu.edu

Katherine Hankins, Chair
Christy Visaggi, Undergraduate Director

Geosciences involves the study of the social and physical dimensions of the earth, including its interior, surface, atmosphere, and people. The Department of Geosciences makes available to students instruction, training, and experiences in the fields of Geology and Geography. These two disciplines provide complementary perspectives on a broad range of issues dealing with natural landscapes at all spatial and temporal scales, human-environment interactions, geospatial analysis, including Geographic Information Systems, and the social and physical dynamics of urban life.

The Department of Geosciences offers the B.A. degree in Geosciences with a concentration in either Geography or Urban Studies; and the B.S. degree in Geosciences with a concentration in Geology, Geography, Environmental Geosciences, or Urban Studies. In addition, the department offers undergraduate certificates in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), water science, and sustainability. These certificates complement the expertise students develop in the B.A./B.S. degrees in Geosciences and in other departments.

Academic Advisement for Undergraduate Students

Academic advisement for undergraduate students is provided through the University Advisement Center (freshman through junior status/fewer than 90 hours) and the college’s Office of Academic Assistance (senior status/90 or more hours). See section 3040 for additional information.


3290.10 Bachelor of Arts in Geosciences

Students earning the B.A. degree in Geosciences must choose one of two concentrations: either Geography or Urban Studies.

The Geography concentration develops a broad understanding of social and environmental issues, attains depth in a specialized area within Geography, and provides skills needed to gain employment and carry out lifelong learning. An undergraduate degree in Geosciences with a Geography concentration affords many opportunities for employment in both the public and private sectors. Geographers generally find employment as cartographers, city/regional planners, conservationists, environmental managers, environmental regulators, Geographic Information System (GIS) specialists, historic preservationists, location analysts, and as physical scientists working for the government. In addition, with their broad liberal arts training, geographers also qualify for professional management positions as well as teachers.

The Geography concentration also provides a solid intellectual foundation for people getting advanced degrees in either the social or natural sciences. In addition to having substantial flexibility of course selections, students in the Geography concentration are required to take multiple upper-division courses in human geography, physical geography, and geospatial techniques. Finally, the Geography concentration enables majors interested in geography to find their intellectual niche within geography. Pursuing a certificate in GIS, water science, or sustainability provides a complementary suite of courses for students to further specialize in their areas of interest.

The Urban Studies concentration permits the students to focus on the study of cities including urban development and economics, urban politics and institutions, the urban built environment, social and environmental disparities in cities, and the changing physical and social dynamics of urbanization processes. This interdisciplinary approach enables students to draw from a variety of courses to solve some of the most pressing challenges of the twenty-first century city. The Urban Studies concentration draws from classes in other complementary departments, enabling the student to develop specific interests within the concentration.

In addition to course content focused on different aspects of urban problems and solutions, students will gain a skill set to address such issues, including a holistic approach to understanding urban dynamics, critical thinking and writing skills to express the complexity of urban issues, and a tool kit of data collection and analysis skills, which may include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), quantitative spatial analysis, and/or qualitative analysis. Students graduating with this concentration will be well poised to enter jobs and graduate study in urban planning, urban policy work, non-governmental organization administration, community-based work, and in urban public health, among many others. Pursuing a certificate in GIS, water science, or sustainability provides a complementary suite of courses for students to further specialize in their areas of interest.

Students interested in any geography or urban studies course, or in enrolling in these concentrations within the B.A. degree in Geosciences or pursuing a minor in Geosciences, are invited to contact the Geosciences Undergraduate Director to discuss how this degree program may best help make their college experience positive and productive. Note that additional course options may be available by working directly with a faculty member such as through offerings of Topics (GEOG 4097) or Independent Research (GEOG 4098). The department encourages GEOS students and prospective majors to attend the weekly seminar series (and/or enroll in the affiliated one credit hour course GEOL 4095/GEOG 4095) to learn more about the range of opportunities in the discipline both at the university and after graduation.

Program Degree Requirements

In addition to the Program Degree Requirements, students must fulfill the College of Arts and Sciences Degree Requirements (see section 3030) and the University Degree Requirements (see section 1400).

Program Financial Information

Lab fees will be assessed automatically for students who register for certain courses. For more information, please feel free to contact the department or review the GoSolar or catalog course listings to determine if a course includes a lab fee.

B.A. in Geosciences

Area D:

Area E:

  • Recommended course: GEOG 1101 Introduction to Human Geography (3)

Area F: Courses Appropriate to the Major

  1. Required courses (if not taken in Areas C-E) (17):
    • GEOG 1112 Weather and Climate (4)
    • GEOG 1113 Introduction to Landforms (4)
    • MATH 1070 Elementary Statistics (3)
    • GEOG 1101 Introduction to Human Geography (3)
    • World language at the 1002 level or higher (3)
  2. Select additional elective courses from the following to complete 18 hours in Area F:
    • AAS 2010 Introduction to African-American Studies (3)
    • ANTH 2020 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3)
    • ANTH 2030 Archaeology and Prehistory (3)
    • ECON 2105 Principles of Macroeconomics (3)
    • ECON 2106 Principles of Microeconomics (3)
    • Any HIST course not taken in Area E
    • PHIL 1010 Critical Thinking (2)
    • POLS 2401 Global Issues (3)
    • PSYC 1101 Introduction to General Psychology (3)
    • SOCI 1101 Introduction to Sociology (3)
    • SOCI 1160 Introduction to Social Problems (3)
    • WGSS 2010 Introduction to Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (3)
    • World language at the 1001 level (3) (if student has no previous experience with language)
    • World language at the 2001 or higher level (3)
  • Students should select Area F elective courses in consultation with their advisor, as some upper level geosciences courses have prerequisites.

Area G: Major Courses, B.A. in Geosciences

Geography Concentration Courses (39)

A grade of C or higher is required in all major courses.

  1. Required course to fulfill CTW requirement (3)
  2. Required foundational courses (9)
  3. Required selection of courses (15-18):
    • Group I: Select one field experience or internship course from the following (3-4):
      • GEOG 4050 Natural Environments of Georgia (4)
      • GEOG 4550 Field School in Geosciences (3)
      • GEOG 4832 Geography Internship (3)
      • or another approved course focused on field, lab, or research experience as available including study abroad
    • Group II: Select one course from the following (3):
    • Group III: Select one course from the following (3):
    • Group IV: Select one course from the following (3-4):
    • Group V: Select one course from the following (3-4):
  4. Remaining Geography or Geology courses selected in consultation with advisor. Students are encouraged to choose courses from Groups I–V that exceed the required number of courses.

Urban Studies Concentration Courses (39)

A grade of C or higher is required in all major courses. At least half of the required 39 hours be GEOG courses as specified in the options below.

  1. Required course to fulfill CTW requirement (3)
  2. Required selection of courses (18+):
    • Group I. Select a field or internship experience from the following (3):
      • GEOG 4550 Field School in Geosciences (3)
      • GEOG 4832 Geography Internship (3)
      • or another approved course focused on field, lab, or research experience as available including study abroad
    • Group II. Select at least three courses from the following (9):
    • Group III. Select one course from the following (3):
    • Group IV. Select one or more courses from the following (3+):
  3. Remaining Geography or Geology courses selected in consultation with advisor. These may include courses from Groups I–IV that exceed the required number of courses.

Area H: Minor and Additional Courses

Students earning a B.A. in Geosciences are not required to take a minor.


3290.20 Bachelor of Science in Geosciences

Students earning the B.S. degree in Geosciences must choose one of four concentrations: Geology, Environmental Geosciences, Geography, or Urban Studies. Many career opportunities allow for practical application of geosciences in industry, consulting firms, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies at all levels. Practical and essential applications of geology and geography include development and stewardship of water resources, both surface and subsurface; land-use planning for urban, suburban, and rural development; exploration for and development of mineral and energy resources including petroleum and other fossil fuels; and development of environmentally sound strategies for hazardous waste disposal and treatment. The curriculum leading to the B.S. degree in geosciences is excellent preparation for graduate work in geology and environmental science, geography, and urban studies. For students who are interested in geoscience and environmental science but who intend to pursue graduate or advanced study in other fields, for example environmental law or business, the B.S. degree may still be an appropriate choice. The B.S. degree meets certain federal criteria required for science-track career pathways in federal agencies such as the EPA, USGS, and others.

The concentrations in Geography and Geology are the most traditional of the programs, and they are designed to prepare the student for graduate studies or employment in a wide variety of geoscience areas. Students considering employment and state licensure as a Professional Geologist (required for supervisory environmental consultants) and other careers founded in geology should select the traditional Geology concentration. The Environmental Geosciences concentration offers a more interdisciplinary set of courses that emphasize the study of the delicate environmental balances of the natural world. The Geography concentration allows for a suite of skills to be gained in studying the world around us from both physical and human perspectives. The Urban Studies Concentration is focused on geoscience topics applicable to the study of urban settings. Specific requirements for the concentrations are shown below.

For all of the concentrations, students may find tremendous benefit in pursuing undergraduate certificates in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), water science, and/or sustainability. These certificates, described in more detail below, complement the different concentrations and provide students with an opportunity to explore in more depth the skills and knowledge needed to obtain employment and/or further their academic studies.

Majors should be aware that there are prerequisites for several courses in our department (especially in the Geology concentration). In addition, most GEOS courses are offered only once a year (and several specialty courses only every other year). Note that classes in the Department of Geosciences are listed under either Geology or Geography in the course catalog. Additional course options may be available by working directly with a faculty member such as through offerings of Topics (GEOG 4097/GEOL 4097) or Independent Research ([GEOG  4098]/GEOL 4098).

To prepare for the most appropriate path leading up to graduation, it is important to choose a concentration upon declaring the major based on career aspirations (e.g., a geology concentration may still be recommended for certain environmental work). Students are encouraged to seek advisement early on to ensure that programs of study accord with their specific career goals and needs and that they plan ahead by reviewing the schedule of projected courses on the department website. The department encourages GEOS students and prospective majors to attend the weekly seminar series (and/or enroll in the affiliated one credit hour course GEOL 4095/GEOG 4095) to learn more about the range of opportunities in the discipline both at the university and after graduation.

Program Financial Information

Lab fees will be assessed automatically for students who register for certain courses. For more information, please feel free to contact the department.

Program Degree Requirements

In addition to the Program Degree Requirements outlined below, students must fulfill the College of Arts and Sciences Degree Requirements (see section 3030) and the University Degree Requirements (see section 1400).

B.S. in Geosciences

Area A:

  • Required course:
  • MATH 1113 Precalculus (3) or higher level MATH course. Recommended: Section of MATH 1113 specifically for Geosciences majors.

Area D:

  • Required course: MATH 2201 Calculus for Life Sciences I (4) or MATH 2211 Calculus of One Variable I (4) or a higher-level mathematics course.
  • Recommended courses:

Area E:

  • Recommended course: GEOG 1101 Introduction to Human Geography (3)

Area F: Courses Appropriate to the Major (18)

  1. Required Courses (if not taken in Area D) (11):
  2. Complete one of the following science sequences. Students in the Geology concentration are strongly advised to complete the chemistry sequence. Students in the Environmental Geosciences concentration are strongly advised to complete either the geography, biology, or chemistry sequence depending on their interests. Students in the Geography or Urban Studies concentrations are strongly advised to complete the geography sequence. (8)
  3. Select additional elective courses from the following to complete 18 hours in Area F. Students in the Geology concentration are recommended to take a physics sequence and an additional calculus course if possible. Students in the Environmental Geosciences, Geography, or Urban Studies concentrations are recommended to take either the biology, chemistry, or computer science sequence depending on their interests.
  • All courses above ending in K are commonly offered as separate lecture and lab (L) courses by GSU’s Perimeter College. The combined (K) courses and separate lecture and lab (L) courses cover the same subject matter and are considered equivalent courses (but both lecture and lab sections must be completed with a passing grade).
  • Any credit hours exceeding 18 earned to complete the Area F requirements will count toward elective hours.

Area G: Major Courses, B.S. in Geosciences.
Geology Concentration Courses (39)

A grade of C or higher is required in all major courses.

  1. Required course to fulfill CTW requirement (3)
  2. Required courses (24):
    • GEOL 4006 Sedimentary Environments and Stratigraphy (4)
    • GEOL 4013 Structural Geology (4)
    • GEOL 4015 Crystallography and Optical Mineralogy (4)
    • GEOL 4016 Petrology of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks (4)
    • GEOL 4120 Basic Field Geology (4)
    • GEOL 4121 Advanced Field Geology (4)
  3. Remaining Geology or Geography courses selected in consultation with advisor, such as:

Environmental Geosciences Concentration Courses (39)

A grade of C or higher is required in all major courses.

  1. CTW requirement. Select one of the following (3):
  2. Required selection of courses (15-18):
    • Group I. Select one field course or internship from the following (3-4):
      • GEOG 4050 Natural Environments of Georgia (4)
      • GEOG 4550/GEOL 4550 Field School in Geosciences (3 or 4)
      • GEOG 4832 Geography Internship (3)
      • or another approved course focused on field, lab, or research experience as available including study abroad.
    • Group II. Select one course from the following (3):
    • Group III. Select one course from the following (3-4):
    • Group IV. Select one course from the following (3):
    • Group V. Select one course from the following (3-4):
  3. Remaining courses from Geography or Geology selected in consultation with advisor. These may include any from Groups I–V that exceed the minimum requirements in addition to other courses, such as:

Geography Concentration Courses (39)

A grade of C or higher is required in all major courses.

  1. Required course to fulfill CTW requirement (3):
  2. Required foundational courses (9):
  3. Required selection of courses (15-18):
    • Group I. Select one field experience or internship course from the following (3-4):
      • GEOG 4050 Natural Environments of Georgia (4)
      • GEOG 4550 Field School in Geosciences (3 or 4)
      • GEOG 4832 Geography Internship (3)
      • or another approved course focused on field, lab, or research experience as available including study abroad.
    • Group II. Select one course from the following (3):
    • Group III. Select one course from the following (3-4):
    • Group IV. Select one course from the following (3-4):
    • Group V. Select one course from the following (3-4):
  4. Remaining Geography or Geology courses selected in consultation with advisor. Students are encouraged to choose courses from Groups I–V that exceed the required number of courses.

Urban Studies Concentration Courses (39)

A grade of C or higher is required in all major courses. At least half of the required 39 hours be Geography courses as specified in the below options.

  1. Required course to fulfill CTW requirement (3)
    • [GEOG 4830 Senior Seminar (3)
  2. Required selection of courses (18+):
    • Group I. Select one field experience or internship course from the following (3-4):
      • GEOG 4550 Field School in Geosciences (3)
      • GEOG 4832 Geography Internship (3)
      • or another approved course focused on field, lab, or research experience as available including study abroad.
    • Group II. Select at least three courses from the following (9):
    • Group II. Select one course from the following (3):
    • Group IV. Select one course from the following (3+):
  3. Remaining Geography or Geology courses selected in consultation with advisor. These may include courses from Groups I–IV that exceed the required number of courses.

Area H: Minor and Additional Courses

Students earning a B.S. in Geosciences are not required to take a minor.


3290.30 Minor in Geosciences

Students who wish to minor in Geosciences must take 15-18 hours in courses in Geosciences, including at least nine hours at the 3000-level or above. Students taking more than 15 hours in courses in Geosciences may count the additional hours toward their electives or may consider completing a double major. A grade of C or higher is required in all courses counting toward the minor. Courses that are being applied to the core may not also be applied to the minor.


3290.4 Dual B.A./M.S. and Dual B.S./M.S. Programs in Geosciences

The department offers a dual Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sciences and Master of Arts Science in Geosciences. The dual degree opportunity enables qualified students to enroll in graduate courses late in their undergraduate program and count the coursework toward both the bachelor’s and master’s programs.

Students must be formally accepted into the dual degree program by the department and College of Arts and Sciences to be able to take graduate courses as an undergraduate. Additionally, acceptance into the dual program does not constitute admission to the master’s program. Students must fulfill regular graduate admissions requirements and apply for the master’s program following college processes.

Information about the dual program, including application instructions and program requirements, can be found at cas.gsu.edu/dual-degrees/.


3290.5 Certificate in Geographic Information Science

Geographic Information Science (GIS) is a rapidly growing discipline, with applications in many fields. A strong demand exists for proficient users of geospatial technology. The undergraduate-level certificate program in GIS is designed to facilitate the learning of GIS by students working toward undergraduate degrees in Geosciences and in many other disciplines. The certificate program consists of five courses with a total of 17-19 credit hours.

GIS Certificate Requirements (17-19 hours)

  1. Group I. Required courses (11):
  2. Group II. Select two courses from the following, at least one of which must be completed in the Department of Geosciences (6-8):

Students interested in this certificate should contact the Undergraduate Director in Geosciences to enroll in the program. Courses that apply to a degree program in Geosciences also may be used in support of the certificate; however, only one course can be applied to two different certificates. Other electives for this certificate pending approval from the Undergraduate Director in Geosciences may include GEOG 4834 Applied Research in GIS, or options available through the Department of Computer Science for students interested in programming (e.g., CSC 1301, CSC 2301).


3290.6 Certificate in Sustainability (14-16)

The certificate in sustainability offers an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability as a concept, area of study, social practice, organizational goal, and policy objective that concerns the effects and durability of relationships and interactions between social and biophysical systems. The certificate entails five courses, including at least two credit hours of internship experience.

  1. Group I. Required courses (8-9):
    • Internship. Select one from the following (2-3):
      • GEOG 4832 Geography Internship (3) (if related to sustainability)
      • BIOL 4915 Collaborative Internships in Biology (2) (if related to sustainability)
      • BIOL 4916 Internships in Biology (2) (if related to sustainability)
    • GEOG 4020 Urban Environments (3)
    • GEOG 4644 Environmental Conservation (3)
  2. Group II. Select two courses from the following (6-8):

Students interested in this certificate should contact the Undergraduate Director in Geosciences to enroll in the program. Courses that apply to a degree program in Geosciences also may be used in support of the certificate; however, only one course can be applied to two different certificates.


3290.7 Certificate in Water Sciences (15-17)

A strong demand exists in the public sector and private industry for understanding of aquatic systems. The undergraduate certificate in water sciences is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of both the quality and quantity of water in the environment, and modern techniques to assess, model, and remediate aquatic environmental problems, and understand the social context and implications of water resources.

The certificate program consists of five courses with a total of 15-17 credit hours, and is an excellent complement to undergraduates pursuing careers in natural resources or environmental fields.

  1. Group I. Required courses (6):
  2. Group II. Select two courses from the following options (6-7):
    • BIOL 4451 Aquatic Pollution and Toxicology (4)
    • GEOG 4650 Surface Water Hydrology (3) (if not taken in Group I)
    • GEOL 4007 Hydrogeology (3) (if not taken in Group I)
    • GEOL 4003 Aqueous Geochemistry (3)
    • GEOL 4008 Rock Fracture and Fluid Flow (3)
    • GEOG 4642 Advanced Weather and Climate (3)
    • GEOG 4784 Global Climate Change (3)
  3. Group III. Select one course below or an additional course from Group I or Group II (3-4)

Students interested in this certificate should contact the Undergraduate Director in Geosciences to enroll in the program. Courses that apply to a degree program in Geosciences also may be used in support of the certificate; however, only one course can be applied to two different certificates.


Residency Requirement

A minimum of 39 semester hours in courses 3000 and higher must be completed in residence at Georgia State University with an average of C or higher. At least 50% of the Area G courses must be completed at Georgia State University.

Honors College

The Department of Geosciences encourages qualified students to participate in the Georgia State Honors College. Please contact the Undergraduate Director for more details on the Honors College experience in our department including course offerings, research opportunities, and theses.

Graduation with Distinction in the Major

This unit offers undergraduate students with the opportunity to earn the designation of graduation with distinction in the major. Please contact the Undergraduate Director for the specific criteria for this honor.