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Geological Sciences Programs and Requirements

With the option of pursuing a B.A. in geology, geochemistry, or geophysics, students at SUNY Geneseo are exposed to challenging and rewarding curriculum taught by accomplished faculty with a broad range of expertise. Alums of the SUNY Geneseo Department of Geological Sciences have gone on to pursue graduate degrees at Stanford, Scripps, Texas A&M, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Arizona, and other universities, to become recognized leaders in their field. Below is a list of the geological sciences programs at Geneseo.


Geological Sciences Major (B.A.)

Dr. Dori Farthing, Chair (ISC 235A)

This program allows students to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in geological sciences.

Basic major requirements: 37 credit hours

Number Name Credits
GSCI 160/161 Physical Geology and N/Physical Geology Laboratory 4
GSCI 170 Historical Geology 4
GSCI 210 Mineralogy 3
GSCI 220 Petrology 3
GSCI 331 Geomorphology 3
GSCI 341 Principles of Structural Geology 3
GSCI 351 Stratigraphy 3
GSCI 361 Invertebrate Paleontology 3
GSCI 391 Geological Sciences Capsone Seminar I 1
GSCI 392 Geological Sciences Capsone Seminar II 1
Electives 300-level electives in Geological Sciences 9

Related requirements: 21–24 credit hours

Course Credits
CHEM 116, 118, 119, 125 or CHEM 203, 204, 119 8
PHYS 113/114 and 115/116 or 123/114 and 125/116 or BIOL 116, 117, 119 or (with department approval) electives in another natural science or Mathematics* 6-8
MATH 221 4
MATH 222 (strongly recommended) or one of the following statistics courses: BIOL 250, ECON 205, GEOL 278, MATH 242, MATH 262, PLSC 251, PSYC 250, SOCL 211 3-4

*Students seeking Certification in Adolescent Education (7-12): Earth Science and General Education may satisfy this requirement with approved classes in meteorology and astronomy.

Total hours as outlined:

  • Major department requirements: 37 hours
  • Related requirements: 21-24 hours
  • Total credit hours required to complete major: 58-61

Geophysics Program (B.A.)

Dr. Scott D. Giorgis, Coordinator (ISC 254)

The primary objective of this interdisciplinary program is to prepare students for both immediate careers and graduate-level study in geophysics. The program differs from the Bachelor of Arts degree programs in geological sciences and physics since it provides the background in both mathematics and physics that is required for the solution of problems in the field of solid earth geophysics. Geophysics curriculum is taught by the faculty of the Departments of Geological Sciences and Physics.

Basic major requirements: 53 credit hours

Number Name Credits
GSCI 160 Physical Geology 3
GSCI 161 Physical Geology Laboratory 1
GSCI 170 Historical Geology 4
GSCI 210 Mineralogy 3
GSCI 220 Petrology 3
GSCI 341 Principles of Structural Geology 3
GSCI 343 Applied Geophysics 3
GSCI 391 Geology Capstone Seminar I 1
GSCI 392 Geology Capstone Seminar II 1
PHYS 123/114 Analytical Physics I and Physics I Lab 4
PHYS 125/116 Analytical Physics II and Physics II Lab 4
PHYS 223 Analytical Physics III 3
PHYS 224 Analytical Physics IV 3
PHYS 226 Optics/Modern Physics Laboratory 1
PHYS 228 Mathematical Methods in Physics 2
PHYS 335 Electricity and Magnetism I 3
PHYS 362 Intermediate Laboratory I 2
Electives in Geological Sciences and Physics 9

Related Requirements: 23 credit hours

Number Name Credits
MATH 221 Calculus I 4
MATH 222 Calculus II 4
MATH 223 Calculus III 4
MATH 326 Differential Equations I 3
CHEM 116, 118, 119 or CHEM 203, 204, 199 Chemistry I and II and Lab orPrinciples of Chemistry I and Principles of Chemistry II and Lab 8

Total hours as outlined:

  • Major department requirements: 53 hours
  • Related requirements: 23 hours
  • Total credit hours required to complete major: 76

Minimum Competence Requirement

A grade of C– or better is required for each of the following courses: GSCI 160, 161, 170, 210, 220, 341, 343, 391; PHYS 123/114, 125/116, 223, 224, 226, 335, and 362.

Department Writing Requirement

Students in geophysics will satisfy the writing requirement of either the Department of Geological Sciences or Physics. The determination will be made by the Coordinator and/or advisor upon review of student’s course selection. Students must consult with their advisor to ensure that they meet the college’s writing requirement.


Geochemistry Program (B.A.)

Dr. Dori Farthing, Coordinator (ISC 235A)

This program provides a background in geological sciences and chemistry as well as related areas such as physics, mathematics, and computer science. The synthesis of these interrelated disciplines will prepare the student for graduate-level study and a professional career in geochemistry or related fields. This curriculum is taught by faculty of the Departments of Geological Sciences and Chemistry.

Basic major requirements: 40-45* credit hours

Number Name Credits
GSCI 160, 161 Physical Geology and N/Physical Geology Lab 4
GSCI 170 Historical Geology 4
GSCI 210 Mineralogy 3
GSCI 220 Petrology 3
GSCI 315, 320 Principles of Geochemistry and/or Isotope Geology 3-6*
GSCI 391 Geology Capstone Seminar I 1
GSCI 392 Geology Capstone Seminar II 1
CHEM 166 or 203 Chemistry Ior Principles of Chemistry 3-4
CHEM 119 N/Introductory Chemistry Laboratory 2
CHEM 188 or 204 Chemistry II or Principles of Chemistry II 2-3
CHEM 211 or 223 Organic Chemistry I or Principles of Organic Chemistry 3
CHEM 216 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2
CHEM 213 or 224 Organic Chemistry II or Principles of Organic Chemistry II 3
CHEM 340 Modern Analytical Chemistry 3
CHEM 320 or 324 Physical Chemistry I or Principles of Physical Chemistry 3

*When both GSCI 315 and 320 are taken, 9 credits of GSCI electives are required.

Electives selected from the following: 9-12* credit hours

Number Name Credits
GSCI 331 Geomorphology 3
SGCI 335 Paleoclimatology 3
GSCI 341 Principles of Structural Geology 3
GSCI 347 Groundwater Hydrology 3
GSCI 351 Stratigraphy 3
GSCI 370 Advanced Mineralogy and Petrology 3
GSCI 393 Honors Thesis 3
GSCI 399 Directed Study 3

Related requirements: 19 credit hours

Number Name Credits
MATH 221 Calculus I 4
MATH 222 Calculus II 4
PHYS 113 or 123 General Physics or Analytical Physics I 3
PHYS 114 Physics I Laboratory 1
PHYS 115 or 125 General Physics II or Analytical Physics II 3
PHYS 116 Physics II Laboratory 1
One of the following courses in statistics:    
MATH 242 R/Elements of Probability & Statistics 3
MATH 262 R/Applied Statistics 3
SOCL 211 R/Statistics for Social Research 3
PSYC 250 R/Intro to Behavioral Statistics 3

Total hours as outlined:

  • Major department requirements (including electives): 52 hours
  • Related requirements: 19 hours
  • Total credit hours required to complete major: 71

Minimum Competence Requirement

A grade of C– or better is required for each of the following courses: GSCI 160, 161, 170, 210, 220, 315/320, and 391; CHEM 166/203, 119, 188/204, 125, 211/223, 216 and 213/224.

Department Writing Requirement

Students in geochemistry will satisfy the writing requirement of either the Department of Geological Sciences or Chemistry. The determination will be made by Dr. Sheldon, the program coordinator, and/or advisor upon review of student’s course selection. Students must consult with their advisor to ensure that they meet the college’s writing requirement.


Minor in Geological Sciences

Dr. Scott D. Giorgis, Coordinator (ISC 254)

Eighteen semester hours in geological sciences, with a minimum of 12 hours at or above the 200–level. GSCI 130/131 may be accepted as a substitute for one upper-level course for students in some programs, i.e., anthropology and biology, only upon approval by the Department of Geological Sciences.