Earth & Climate Sciences  {SF State Bulletin 2013 - 2014}

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Earth & Climate Sciences

College of Science and Engineering

Dean: Sheldon Axler

 

Department of Earth & Climate Sciences

509 Thornton Hall
Phone: 415-338-2061
Fax: 415-338-7705

Chair: Karen Grove
Graduate Coordinator: John Caskey
Credential Advisor: David Dempsey

 

Faculty

Professors: Dempsey, Garcia, Garfield, Grove, Monteverdi, Mustart
Associate Professors: Caskey, Dekens, Leech, Sklar
Assistant Professor: Gurdak
Adjunct Faculty: Nanus, Wingfield

 

Programs

B.A. in Earth Sciences

B.S. in Geology

B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Concentrations in:

Minor in Earth Sciences

M.S. in Geosciences

 


 

Affiliations

The Department of Earth & Climate Sciences is a University Corporation for Atmospheric Research affiliate.

 

Program Scope

The Department of Earth & Climate Sciences offers three undergraduate degree programs and a minor program spanning the geosciences (earth sciences), including geology, atmospheric sciences (including meteorology), and oceanography. It also offers a graduate program leading to a Master of Science in Geosciences.

 

The Bachelor of Science in Geology provides rigorous professional education and training with a strong emphasis on investigations in the field (that is, outdoors). It also provides excellent preparation for graduate work in geology. The Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences program includes a concentration in meteorology that provides modern professional education and training in meteorology, including weather forecasting, and preparation for graduate work in atmospheric sciences. A concentration in oceanography provides analogous preparation in oceanography. The Bachelor of Arts in Earth Sciences program provides a broad, flexible, integrated background in the earth sciences. The Minor in Earth Sciences does the same on a smaller scale and can complement a variety of other majors. The Master of Science in Geosciences provides education and training in research in the geosciences in close collaboration with a faculty advisor.

 

Career Outlook

Geoscientific investigations provide the key to finding new sources of useful earth materials and to understanding fundamental earth processes. Geoscientists operate on the forefront of new developments and ideas in these fields and through dissemination of their work contribute to better solutions to geoscientific issues relevant to society, and the development of policy for resource management, environmental protection, and hazard assessment. Dwindling energy, mineral, and water resources, and increasing environmental concern about global issues such as climate variability and change, present challenges that will continue to create a demand for geoscientific expertise.

 

Graduates in geology, meteorology, and oceanography may pursue a wide range of careers in the earth sciences and related fields. For the next decade, geologists will find the greatest opportunities in the broad areas of environmental and engineering geology; for example, surface and groundwater hydrology studies aimed at characterizing water resources and remediating toxic sites, assessing earthquake and landslide hazards, developing restoration plans for river and coastal environments, and evaluating sites for urban planning or construction. There are also many positions available in the petroleum and mineral exploration industries. A shortage of certified high school and middle school science teachers has placed qualified teachers in high demand. Meteorologists will find opportunities in short and long-range weather forecasting, air pollution assessment, and global climate change research. Oceanographers are employed by government agencies that work on climate change and coastal management, or consulting firms specializing for instance in coastal dynamics, ocean observations, and/or alternative energy. Recent job trends suggest that the strongest candidates, regardless of the area of specialization, will have a master’s degree, several years of experience, and an interdisciplinary background with strong chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer skills. Geologists, meteorologists, and oceanographers in the San Francisco Bay Area are employed by a very large number of government agencies, academic institutions and private firms. In addition to preparing students for advanced work as professional geologists, meteorologists, and oceanographers, the M.S. in Geosciences is an excellent preparation for a community college or high school teaching career, or for entry into a doctoral program leading to a career in university teaching and/or research.

 

The increased emphasis on science in high schools and the new California mandate for earth science education in the elementary science curriculum provide many opportunities for teachers trained in the geosciences.

 

Advising The department requires that declared majors consult with an advisor every semester, and prospective majors should consult with an advisor as early as possible, particularly about selecting courses in the General Education program that best fit the major program. Students will also be advised about completing basic science requirements before taking upper division courses in geosciences, and about the order in which required courses should best be taken. Students interested in preparing to teach high school or middle school earth sciences and integrated science should consult the department's credential advisor.

 

Every course counted toward major requirements must be completed with a letter grade (CR/NC is not acceptable.) No more than one course counted toward major requirements may be completed with a grade less than a C-. Course work used to satisfy major requirements must be completed with an overall point average of 2.0 or higher.

 

Bachelor of Arts in Earth Sciences

The Bachelor of Arts in Earth Sciences program builds a solid conceptual foundation of basic physical sciences, mathematics, and earth sciences (that is, geology, meteorology, and oceanography). It then helps students to integrate knowledge of these separate disciplines in ways needed to understand and help solve important interdisciplinary problems, such as slowing and adapting to climate change and managing conflicting demands that humans make on the natural environment. It also helps prepare students to advise and educate others about issues requiring knowledge of how the earth works.

 

Beyond the basic foundation, students have great flexibility to adapt the program to satisfy many possible interests in the earth sciences and prepare for any of a variety of careers where a background in the earth sciences would be beneficial. Some career possibilities include:

  • High school and middle school science teaching.
  • Technical support for firms engaged in environmental engineering, environmental monitoring and protection, natural resource analysis and management, hazardous materials and ecological remediation, computer mapping, etc.
  • Technical support to city, county, state, and other governmental agencies charged with land use and other planning.
  • Preparation for graduate education in such fields as resource management, environmental public policy, and environmental law.
  • Science writing, editing, and librarianship.
  • Interpretation for park systems, nature centers, museums, and other areas requiring natural science field skills and natural history communication skills.
  • Business and entrepreneurism.

 

Prospective majors are encouraged to consult with a departmental advisor to learn about graduation requirements and to plan a program adapted to their particular interests.

 

Students interested in preparing to teach high school or middle school earth sciences and integrated science should consult the geosciences single-subject subject-matter advisor.

 

On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Basic Science and Math Foundation

Course Title
GEOL 125
    or
MATH 226
Quantitative Geology (4)
 
Calculus I (4)
PHYS 111/
PHYS 112 

    or
PHYS 220/
PHYS 222 
General Physics I/Laboratory (3/1)
 
 
General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1)
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry (5)

Chemistry, physics, or mathematics elective: (3 units)
(may not be a course intended primarily to satisfy a General Education requirement)

Basic Science and Math Foundation Total: 16

 

Earth Sciences Foundation

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
GEOL 115 Earth and Life through Time (4)
GEOL 120 Introduction to Geologic Techniques (2)
OCN 200 Physical Processes in the Ocean
METR 201 Physical Processes in the Atmosphere
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)

Earth Sciences Foundation Total: 20

 

Earth Sciences Electives

  1. Select at least 16 units of geology, meteorology, and/or oceanography courses numbered 400 or higher.
  2. Selected courses must be organized around a coherent theme approved by an advisor.
  3. One course must satisfy the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

 

Earth Sciences Electives Total: 16

Total for the Major: 52

 

Note: A minimum of 40 upper division units must be completed for the degree (including upper division units required for the major, general education, electives, etc.). A student can complete this major yet not attain the necessary number of upper division units required for graduation. In this case additional upper division courses will be needed to reach the required total.

 

Bachelor of Science in Geology

The Bachelor of Science in Geology is designed for students intending to prepare for graduate school in geology or for direct entry into a career as a professional geologist in industry or government. The geology major provides students with a fundamental background in the physical sciences and many areas of geology necessary for an in-depth comprehension of the subject. Entry to the major presupposes prior course work comprising the high school equivalents of two years of algebra, one year of plane geometry, one-half year of trigonometry, and one year of physics and/or chemistry.

 

On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Basic Science and Mathematics

Course Title
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry (5)
CHEM 215/
CHEM 216 
General Chemistry II: Quantitative Applications of Chemistry Concepts/Laboratory (3/2)
MATH 226 Calculus I (4)
GEOL 125
    or
MATH 227
Quantitative Geology (4)
 
Calculus II (4)
PHYS 111/
PHYS 112 
    or
PHYS 220/
PHYS 222
General Physics I/Laboratory (3/1)
 
 
General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1)
PHYS 121/
PHYS 122

or
PHYS 240/
PHYS 242
General Physics II/ Laboratory (3/1)
 
 
General Physics with Calculus III/Laboratory (3/1)

Total basic science and mathematics requirements: 26

 

Basic Geology Core

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
GEOL 115 Earth and Life through Time (4)
GEOL 120 Introduction to Geologic Techniques (2)
GEOL 420 Mineralogy and Petrology I (4)
GEOL 430 Structural Geology (4)
GEOL 460 GW Sedimentology and Stratigraphy - GWAR (4)
GEOL 695 Field Methods in Geology (2)

Total basic geology core requirements: 24

 

Advanced Geology Core

  1. Complete at least 7 units
  2. Select at least one quantitative course**
Course Title
GEOL 426 Mineralogy and Petrology II (4)
GEOL 450 Geomorphology** (4)
OCN 410 Coastal Processes**
GEOL 475 Hydrogeology** (4)
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR (4)
GEOL 480 Geochemistry** (4)

Total advanced geology core requirements: 7

 

Capstone

Complete at least 4 units from the courses below.
A field geology course from another university (4 - 6 units)
(see http://tornado.sfsu.edu/Geosciences/fieldgeology.html for examples

Course Title
GEOL 697 Undergraduate Research (2)
GEOL 698 Senior Research and Thesis (2)

Total capstone requirement: 4

 

Electives

On advisement, complete at least 8 units of courses numbered 400 or higher in geology (or a closely related field), such as courses listed below or not already selected from the advanced geology core or capstone.

Course Title
GEOL 400 Physical Geology in the Field (1)
GEOL 402 Coastal Geology in the Field (1)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
GEOL 410 Volcanology
GEOL 454 Quaternary Climate and Soils
GEOL 470 Neotectonics
GEOL 473 Surface Water Hydrology
GEOL 474 Engineering Geology
GEOL 476 Groundwater Contamination
GEOL 485 Ore Deposits (4)
GEOL 590 Seminar in Geosciences (2)
GEOL 642 Watershed Assessment and Restoration (4)
GEOL 699 Special Study (1-3)
OCN 420 Physical Oceanography
METR 415 Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Ocean

Total advanced geology core requirements: 8

Total for the major: 69

 

Recommended Emphases

Students who elect to complete an emphasis should select courses upon advisement from the advanced geology core and from electives to create a coherent emphasis. We recommend one of the examples below.

 

Sedimentary and Coastal Processes

Course Title
GEOL 426 Mineralogy and Petrology II (4)
GEOL 450 Geomorphology (4)
OCN 410 Coastal Processes
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR (4)
GEOL 475 Hydrogeology (4)
GEOL 480 Geochemistry (4)
OCN 420 Physical Oceanography

 

Petrology and Tectonics

Course Title
GEOL 410 Volcanology
GEOL 426 Mineralogy and Petrology II (4)
GEOL 470 Neotectonics
GEOL 480 Geochemistry (4)
GEOL 485 Ore Deposits (4)

 

Surficial and Environmental Geology

Course Title
GEOL 450 Geomorphology (4)
GEOL 454 Quaternary Climate and Soils
GEOL 470 Neotectonics
GEOL 473 Surface Water Hydrology
GEOL 474 Engineering Geology
GEOL 475 Hydrogeology (4)
GEOL 476 Groundwater Contamination
GEOL 480 Geochemistry (4)

 

Climate Change

Course Title
GEOL 405 Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
GEOL 450 Geomorphology (4)
OCN 410 Coastal Processes
GEOL 454 Quaternary Climate and Soils
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
GEOL 480 Geochemistry (4)

 

Energy and Natural Resources

Course Title
GEOL 426 Mineralogy and Petrology II (4)
GEOL 462 Geology of Hydrocarbons
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
GEOL 480 Geochemistry (4)
GEOL 485 Ore Deposits (4)

 

Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

The Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences program includes a concentration in meteorology and a concentration in oceanography. Both share a common, interdisciplinary core built on principles of mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, as well as fundamental concepts in meteorology and oceanography. The meteorology concentration adheres to guidelines for B.S. programs in meteorology issued by the American Meteorological Society. It prepares students for graduate education in meteorology and for a variety of careers, including weather forecasting for the National Weather Service or private industry, broadcast meteorology, and environmental analysis and consulting across a broad range of applications such as air quality, wind power, forensic meteorology, natural hazards, and climate change. Similarly, the oceanography concentration prepares students for graduate education in oceanography and for a variety of careers in oceanography.

 

For students interested in becoming a broadcast meteorologist, the B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, concentration in Meteorology satisfies one requirement of the American Meteorological Society’s Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) program. (See http://www.ametsoc.org/amscert/ for more information about the CBM program.)

 

The concentration in meteorology covers core topics including the thermodynamics of air, cloud physics, atmospheric radiation, dynamic meteorology, the analysis and forecasting of weather, climate change, and weather instruments, as well as elective topics such as forecasting weather for the public, severe storms, numerical weather prediction, air-sea interactions such as the El Niño phenomenon, and advanced analysis and forecasting of weather, particularly on the West Coast. The concentration in oceanography covers core topics including physical oceanography, air-sea interactions, marine geology, and chemical oceanography, as well as elective topics in biological oceanography, meteorology, coastal processes, etc.

 

We encourage students to seek internship opportunities for which credit is granted through METR 694 “Cooperative Education in Meteorology”. We also recommend that students interested in preparing for graduate school complete 1 - 3 units of METR/OCN 697 (“Senior Project”) or METR/OCN 699 (“Special Study”) during the senior year, under the direction of a faculty advisor. (METR 694, METR/OCN 697 and METR/OCN 699 do not count toward degree requirements.)

 

Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

On-line course descriptions are available.

Science and Mathematics Foundation

Chemistry

Course Title
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry (5)

 

Computer Science

Course Title
METR 460/
OCN 460
Use of Computers in Meteorology and Oceanography (2)

 

Mathematics

Course Title
MATH 226 Calculus I (4)
MATH 227 Calculus II (4)
MATH 228 Calculus III (4)
MATH 245 Elementary Differential Equations and Linear Algebra
MATH 324 Probability and Statistics with Computing

 

Physics

Course Title
PHYS 220/
PHYS 222 
General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1)
PHYS 230/
PHYS 232 

    or
PHYS 240/
PHYS 242 
General Physics with Calculus II/Laboratory (3/1)
 
 
General Physics with Calculus III/Laboratory (3/1)

Total science and mathematics foundation requirements: 33

 

Meteorology and Oceanography Core

Course Title
OCN 200 Physical Processes in the Ocean
METR 201 Physical Processes in the Atmosphere
METR 470/
OCN 470/
GEOG 607 
 
Meteorological and Oceanographic Observing Techniques and Systems (2)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405 
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
METR 465/
OCN 465 
Computer Programming with Applications in Meteorology and Oceanography
METR 415/
METR 715 
Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Ocean

Total meteorology and oceanography core requirements: 18

 

Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences:
Concentration in Meteorology

 

Meteorology Required Courses

Course Title
METR 301 Weather Chart Analysis and Discussion (1)
METR 410 Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Cloud Physics (4)
METR 420 Atmospheric Dynamics I (4)
METR 430 GW Weather Analysis and Forecasting I - GWAR (4)
METR 520 Atmospheric Dynamics II (2)

Total meteorology requirements: 15

 

Meteorology Electives

Select at least 3 units

Course Title
METR 450/
OCN 450 
Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions
OCN 420 Physical Oceanography
METR 590 Consulting Meteorology and Oceanography (2)
METR 530 Weather Analysis and Forecasting II (2)
METR 540 Numerical Weather Prediction (2)
METR 535 Analysis and Prediction of Severe Storms
METR 698 Public Weather Forecasting (1-3)

Total meteorology electives: 3

Total for Meteorology Concentration: 18

Total for Science and Mathematics Foundation (from above): 33

Total for Meteorology and Oceanography Core (from above): 18

Total for major: 69

 

Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences:
Concentration in Oceanography

 

Oceanography Required Courses

Course Title
METR 450/
OCN 450 
Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions
OCN 420 Physical Oceanography

 

Select one of the following two options:

Option 1:

Course Title Units
CHEM 680 Chemical Oceanography 3

 

Option 2:

Course Title Units
GEOL 110
  and
GEOL 458 GW
Physical Geology (4)
and 
Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
7

Total oceanography requirements: 9-13

 

Oceanography Electives

Select from the course(s) not selected from the options above and/or from the list below, upon advisement, so that elective and required oceanography courses total at least 18 units. If Option 1 above is pursued, one elective course must satisfy the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

Course Title
BIOL 230 Introductory Biology I (5)
BIOL 240 Introductory Biology II (5)
BIOL 582 Biological Oceanography (4)
BIOL 535 Remote Sensing of Wetlands and Coastal Zones (4)
ENVS 450 Environmental Law and Policy
OCN 410 Coastal Processes
GEOL 402 Coastal Geology in the Field (1)
METR 410 Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Cloud Physics (4)
METR 420 Atmospheric Dynamics I (4)
METR 540 Numerical Weather Prediction (2)
PHYS 495 Introduction to Apparatus Fabrication (1)

Total oceanography electives: 5 - 9

Total Oceanography Concentration: 18

Total for Science and Mathematics Foundation (from above): 33

Total for Meteorology and Oceanography Core (from above): 18

Total for major: 69

 

Minor in Earth Sciences

The Minor in Earth Sciences program is conisits of 20 units, including GEOL 110 (Physical Geology), GEOL/METR/OCN 405 (Planetary Climate Change), and 12 units of geosciences electives. (See program requirements below for restrictions.) Students may complete one of the recommended focus areas listed below or create a coherent alternative designed to complement their major program (such as anthropology, art, biology, chemistry, civil engineering, environmental studies, geography, or physics). All students must meet with a departmental advisor to plan a course sequence and subsequently meet with an advisor each semester.

 

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Geosciences Requirements (8 units)

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405 
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)

 

Geosciences Electives (12 units)

  1. Complete 12 units of selected geology, meteorology, and/or oceanography courses in consultation with a Department of Earth & Climate Sciences faculty advisor.
  2. At least 6 of the 12 units must be upper division, and no more than 3 of the 6 upper division units may be courses designed primarily for General Education.
  3. At least 3 of the 12 units must be for courses numbered 400 or higher.

 

Total units required for the minor: 20

 

Recommended Focus Areas: Geology Focus

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
GEOL 115 Earth and Life Through Time (4)
GEOL 120 Introduction to Geologic Techniques (2)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405 
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)

 

Electives (6 units)

Must choose at least 3 units at the 400 level or higher. No more than 3 units may be from courses designed primarily for General Education.

Total units Geology Focus: 20

 

Environmental Geology Focus

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
GEOL 270 Environmental Geology (4)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
GEOL 450 Geomorphology (4)
GEOL 475 Hydrogeology (4)

Total units Environmental Geology Focus: 20

 

Ocean Science Focus

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
OCN 104 Our Dynamic Ocean (4)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
OCN 410 Coastal Processes
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
Electives: Upper division geosciences coursework (2)

Total units Ocean Science Focus: 20

 

Weather and Climate Focus

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
OCN 200 Physical Processes in the Ocean
METR 201 Physical Processes in the Atmosphere
METR 356 California Weather Events
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405 
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
GEOL 454 Quaternary Climate and Soils

Total units Weather and Climate Focus: 20

 

Certificate in Weather Study

General Information

The certificate program in weather study is offered for those interested in learning about meteorology and companion disciplines in some depth, but not at the major level. Students completing the certificate will be able to read and interpret basic weather maps and make basic weather forecasts for themselves, and they will be conversant on many weather and climate related topics of ongoing interest and importance, such as global climate change.

 

For advice about completing the certificate, consult with the certificate advisor, Dr. John Monteverdi. For information about applying to receive the certificate once the program requirements are met, see http://tornado.sfsu.edu/Programs/MetrProgram.htm#Anchor-Certificate-49575.

 

Meteorology Core Requirement

Course Title
OCN 200 Physical Processes in the Ocean
METR 201 Physical Processes in the Atmosphere
METR 301 Weather Chart Analysis and Discussion
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405 
Planetary Climate Change (4)
METR 698 Public Weather Forecasting

Total Meteorology Core Requirement: 14

Electives

On advisement, select at least 10 units from among those listed below. The two courses marked with an asterisk (*) count toward the requirements for the General Education Segment III cluster, "Our Violent Planet".

Course Title
GEOL 302* Our Violent Earth
METR 302* Our Violent Atmosphere and Ocean
METR 356 California Weather Events

Any meteorology (METR) course numbered 410 or higher [for example, METR 460 (2), "Use of Computers in Meteorology and Oceanography", or METR 590 (2), "Consulting Meteorology and Oceanography"].

Total electives: 10

Total for Certificate: 24

 

Master of Science in Geosciences

The Master of Science in Geosciences is an advanced, postgraduate degree that prepares students for careers in private industry, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), teaching in high schools or community colleges, or for continuing postgraduate studies leading to a doctoral degree at another university. Although there are no formal concentrations within the program, students choose an area of research from within the geoscience disciplines and then select a faculty advisor and a course of study.

 

The Earth & Climate Sciences Department includes faculty with expertise in geology, meteorology, and oceanography—fields that are critical to understanding fundamental earth processes and many environmental problems, such as air and water contamination, coastal erosion, and climate change. In addition to standard courses in the three subdisciplines, recent advanced-level courses have included Tectonic Geomorphology, Global Tectonics, Rock Mechanics in Geomorphology, Paleoceanography, Vadose Hydrogeology, Electron Microscopy, and Analysis and Prediction of Severe Storms.

 

All students take courses in their respective areas of emphasis plus a common core of three courses: GEOL/METR/OCN 700, a multidisciplinary seminar that exposes students to current geoscientific research and literature, and GEOL/METR/OCN 701 and 702, which prepare students for thesis research, quantitative analyses and scientific writing. Thesis projects are expected to have a rigorous base in a geoscience discipline; depending on the particular field and focus of study, these projects can involve laboratory research, field work, theory development, numerical simulations or model development.

 

Recent graduate research projects have focused on topics such as active faults in Death Valley, effects of climate change on regional aquifers, geomorphic controls on Bay Area streams, deformation associated with the San Andreas fault system, Pliocene–Pleistocene climate change, large-scale tectonic processes in the Himalayan Mountains, carbon cycling in the ocean, wave erosion at Ocean Beach, and characteristics of severe storms in California. We encourage students to work on interdisciplinary projects and develop interactions and collaborations with other departments in the University, other institutions and agencies, and private industry.

 

We strongly recommend that students plan a course of study before beginning the M.S. program, in consultation with a faculty advisor and the graduate coordinator.

 

Admission to the Program

To be considered for admission to the master's program as a classified graduate student, applicants must:

  • Satisfy the University admission requirements.
  • Have a bachelor's degree in one of the geosciences (geology, meteorology, or oceanography) or a related discipline.
  • Have a 3.0 GPA in their earned undergraduate degree or last 60 semester (90 quarter) units completed.
  • Satisfactorily complete the Graduate Record Examination general test.
  • Provide letters of recommendation from at least two people familiar with the applicant’s previous academic work and/or professional accomplishments.
  • Submit a statement of purpose.

 

Letters of recommendation and statement of purpose should be submitted directly to the department's graduate coordinator. Other materials should be submitted to the Graduate Studies Division of the University. Materials should be submitted by February 15 for admission the following fall semester and by November 1 for the following spring semester.

 

Applicants lacking the appropriate background may be admitted as conditionally classified graduate students. These students must complete additional course work that will not be counted toward the graduate requirements. Conditionally admitted students may take courses but cannot file a Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form until all deficiencies have been satisfied.

 

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Each graduate student is required to demonstrate an acceptable level of written English proficiency on two levels:

 

Level One: Satisfied by obtaining a score of 4.0 or better on the analytical writing component of the GRE. If the score is 3.5 or less students will be required to take SCI 614 (Graduate Writing Skills) during their first semester of graduate studies.

Level Two: Satisfied by completion of a written thesis (GEOL/METR/OCN 898).

 

Advancement to Candidacy

To be advanced to candidacy, each student must:

  • Satisfy level one of the written English proficiency requirement.
  • Satisfy all course deficiencies stipulated upon entrance into the master's program.
  • Choose a faculty advisor and complete a research proposal that has been approved by the student's thesis committee.
  • File an Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form.

 

On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Course Title
GEOL 700/
METR 700/
OCN 700 
Seminar in Geosciences (2)
GEOL 701/
METR 701/
OCN 701
Research Methods in Geosciences
GEOL 702/
METR 702/
OCN 702
Quantitative Methods in Geosciences
GEOL 897
METR 897
    or
OCN 897
Research Project (6)
GEOL 898
METR 898
    or
OCN 898
Master's Thesis

Upper division or graduate elective courses on advisement: 13

Minimum total: 30

All students must present an oral thesis defense to the Earth & Climate Sciences faculty and students.

 

Elective units are chosen from courses offered by the Earth & Climate Sciences department or other University departments, and must be selected by students in consultation with their faculty advisors. At least 6 units must be courses numbered 700 or higher, and 6 units must be courses offered in the Earth & Climate Sciences department.

 

To help prepare for their careers, graduate students are expected to be a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) for at least one semester. GTAs are responsible for teaching introductory lab courses in geology (GEOL 104), meteorology (METR 104) and oceanography (OCN 104). As part of their employment, GTAs are required to enroll in a 1-unit professional-development course (GEOL/METR/OCN 792) that helps them to learn about innovative teaching techniques and improving student learning.

 

Students can receive their graduate degree when they complete all course requirements and their thesis committee approves the written thesis and oral thesis defense.

 

 

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