Geosciences

College of Science and Engineering
Dean: Sheldon Axler

Department of Geosciences
TH 509
415-338-2061
Fax: 415-338-7705
Chair: Lisa White

Graduate Coordinators: Geology—White; Meteorology—Dempsey

Credential Adviser: Monteverdi

Faculty

Professors—Bickel, Dempsey, Garcia, Grove, Mandra, Monteverdi, Mustart, Pestrong, Seibel, Sullivan, White

Associate Professor—Garfield

Assistant Professors—Caskey, La Force

Adjunct Faculty—Blier, Campbell, Felton, Knox, Null, Roopnarine, Roush, Tang

Programs

B.A. in Geology
B.S. in Geology
B.A. in Science: Concentration in Meteorology
Minor in Geology
Minor in Meteorology
Certificate in Meteorology for Broadcasters
M.S. in Applied Geosciences


Affiliations

The Department of Geosciences is a UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) Affiliate.

Program Scope

The Bachelor of Arts in Geology provides students with a basic foundation in the physical sciences and in several areas of geology that are essential for comprehension of this broad field. Upper division electives allow students to pursue their own special interests in geology. Courses in the major presuppose a background equivalent to two years of high school algebra, one year of plane geometry, one-half year of trigonometry, and one year of physics and/or chemistry. Prospective majors should consult with the Department of Geosciences as early as possible in their university careers.

Students who are considering teaching geology at the high school level should consult a credential adviser in the Department of Geosciences to plan their major, as specific courses outside the geology program are required.

The Bachelor of Science in Geology is designed for students wishing to continue to graduate school or planning to pursue a professional career in industry, government, or university teaching. The 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 equivalent to two years of high school algebra, one year of plane geometry, one-half year of trigonometry, and one year of physics and/or chemistry.

The Bachelor of Arts in Science: Concentration in Meteorology is designed for students with a general interest in the atmospheric sciences and for those pursuing careers such as science teaching, science writing, and broadcast meteorology. In consultation with the faculty, students may also complete additional course work beyond the minimum degree requirements to prepare for graduate study or professional employment in meteorology.

The undergraduate program in meteorology trains students in physical, dynamical and synoptic meteorology, with a special focus on air-sea interactions. Students are also exposed to other topics including: (1) synoptic and mesoscale forecasting problems specific to the West Coast; (2) the effects of oceans on climatic change; and (3) numerical models of mesoscale flow.

The Minor in Geology is designed for students with a general interest in geology and for those wishing to pursue a career in teaching or environmental interpretation. Courses prescribed in the minor presuppose a background in mathematics and chemistry/physics at the high school level.

The Certificate in Meteorology for Broadcasters is designed to provide documentation that students interested in making weathercasting a career have completed the academic courses mandated by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).  Successful completion of these courses is a requirement for applicants of the coveted Broadcast Seal of Approval for Radio and Television.  The Broadcast Seal is widely-sought by those in the profession of broadcast meteorology, both in the radio and television venues.  What the Seal represents is often required of applicants for positions in on-air broadcasting.

The Master of Science in Applied Geosciences provides an advanced degree that prepares students for careers in private industry, government agencies, teaching in community colleges, or continuing postgraduate studies leading to a doctoral degree at another university. The graduate program also provides an opportunity for practicing geoscientists to update and upgrade their background in the field. There are no formal concentrations within the program, but most students choose to emphasize either Applied Geology or Applied Atmospheric Sciences. Courses available at the Romberg Tiburon Center also enable students to choose an emphasis in Marine Science. Before beginning course work toward the M.S., students must elect a course of study in consultation with the graduate coordinator for either geology or meteorology.

A major focus of the graduate program is environmental studies of the San Francisco Bay Area. Courses are offered in sedimentology and stratigraphy, active tectonics, quaternary geology, hydrogeology, engineering geology, coastal oceanography, and applied meteorology with a coastal emphasis. One of the core courses (GEOL/METR 700) is a multidisciplinary seminar that exposes students to current geoscientific problems applicable to the San Francisco Bay Area. The other two core courses (GEOL/METR 701 and 702) prepare students for more advanced course work and thesis research. Emphases are placed on a rigorous grounding in the sciences and on extensive laboratory and field work. The Geosciences Department includes faculty with expertise in geology, meteorology, and oceanography—fields that are critical to understanding many environmental problems, such as air and water contamination, coastal erosion, and global warming.

Career Outlook

Geoscientific investigations provide the key to finding new sources of useful earth materials and to understanding earth processes that affect our lives. Geoscientists contribute the basic information to society for analyzing problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, and hazard assessment. Dwindling energy, mineral, and water resources, and increasing environmental concern about global issues such as atmospheric warming with associated rising sea levels, present challenges that create a demand for geoscientific expertise.

Graduates in geology or meteorology are currently working in a wide range of fields in the earth sciences. For the next decade, geologists will find the greatest opportunities in the broad areas of environmental/engineering geology, including such specializations as surface and groundwater hydrogeology, geotechnical studies aimed at locating and remediating toxic sites, earthquake and landslide hazard assessment, and site evaluation for urban planning or construction. There also continue to be positions available in petroleum geology and minerals exploration. Meteorologists will find opportunities in short- and long-range weather forecasting, air pollution assessment, and global climate change research. Recent job trends suggest that the strongest candidates, regardless of their area of specialization, will have a master's degree, several years of field experience, and an interdisciplinary background with strong chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer skills. Geologists and meteorologists are employed by a large number of government agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, National Weather Service, Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California Division of Mines and Geology, Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Forest Service. Many geologists and some meteorologists in the San Francisco Bay Area work for environmental consulting firms. The M.S. in Applied Geosciences trains students for teaching at community colleges or possibly high schools, and prepares others to continue into doctoral programs leading to careers in university teaching and research.

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS IN GEOSCIENCES

Students should be aware of the following Academic Standards Policy which applies to all geology and meteorology majors:

Students who have completed twelve units of required upper division Geoscience courses and have failed to maintain an overall grade point average of 2.0 (C) in the major will be disenrolled from the major. Any student who does not meet these standards will not be permitted to enroll in courses designed for the major.

Prospective majors should consult with the Department of Geosciences as early as possible in their university careers. It is particularly recommended that students meet with their adviser before selecting courses in the general education program in order to avoid unnecessary duplication. Students will be advised to complete the basic science requirements before taking upper division courses in geology and will also be advised on the correct sequence of courses in the geology program. All major courses must be taken for a letter grade since CR/NC is not applicable toward the degree. Students who are considering teaching geology or meteorology should see a credential adviser in Geosciences before planning the major. Specific courses in competency assessment are required for the credential program.

On-line course descriptions are available.

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN GEOLOGY

Students who are planning admission to graduate school through this program are expected to complete at least one year each of college chemistry, physics, and mathematics. It is also strongly recommended that students take a summer field course in geology.

Basic Science Units
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry 5
PHYS 111/
112
General Physics I/Laboratory (3/1) or 4
  PHYS 220/
  222
  General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1)
MATH 226 Calculus I 4
Electives in chemistry, physics, and mathematics on advisement to be chosen from CHEM 215/216, PHYS 121, 230, or 240, or MATH 227 3
Geology Requirements
GEOL 110 Physical Geology 4
GEOL 115 Historical Geology 3
GEOL 120 Geologic Techniques and Problem Solving 2
GEOL 420 Mineralogy 4
GEOL 426 Petrology 4
GEOL 430 Structural Geology 4
GEOL 440 Paleontology 3
GEOL 460 Stratigraphy 4
GEOL 695 Field Methods in Geology 2
Geology Electives
Upper division electives in geology on advisement chosen from courses numbered 400 or higher, including CIS 510, GEOL 310, and GEOL 696 6
Total 52

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN GEOLOGY

As part of their advanced course work, students will take a summer field mapping course and complete a senior thesis that includes written and oral presentation of a final research report.

Basic Science Units
MATH 226 Calculus I 4
MATH 227 Calculus II 4
PHYS 220/
222
General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1) and 8
  PHYS 240/
  242
  General Physics with Calculus III/Laboratory (3/1) or
  PHYS 220/
  222
  General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1) and
  PHYS 230/
  232
  General Physics with Calculus II/Laboratory (3/1)
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry 5
CHEM 215/
216
General Chemistry II: Quantitative Applications of Chemistry Concepts/Laboratory (3/2) 5
Total basic science requirements 26
Geology Requirements
GEOL 110 Physical Geology 4
GEOL 115 Historical Geology 3
GEOL 120 Geologic Techniques and Problem Solving 2
GEOL 420 Mineralogy 4
GEOL 426 Petrology 4
GEOL 430 Structural Geology 4
GEOL 440 Paleontology 3
GEOL 460 Stratigraphy 4
GEOL 695 Field Methods in Geology 2
GEOL 696 Field Geology 5
GEOL 698 Senior Research and Thesis 2
Total geology requirements 37
Geology Electives
Upper division electives in geology or related field on advisement chosen from GEOL 310 and courses numbered 400 or higher 15
Total for the major 78

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN SCIENCE: CONCENTRATION IN METEOROLOGY

Students should consult with an adviser before enrolling in the major and before planning a course of study. The adviser will help the student select courses beyond those required for the major and which are appropriate for the career goals of the individual.

Please note that the Department of Geosciences is in the process of implementing a B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. The plan is for the new degree to replace the current B.A. in Science: Concentration in Meteorology.

Basic Courses Units
Mathematics 12
MATH 226 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I (4) 1  
MATH 227 Calculus and Analytic Geometry II (4)
MATH 228 Calculus and Analytic Geometry III (4)
One of the following on advisement:
  MATH 245 Elementary Differential Equations and Linear Algebra
  MATH 340 Introduction to Probability
  MATH 374 Advanced Calculus
  METR 406 Fortran Programming with Applications in Meteorology
Physics 8
PHYS 220/
222
General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1) 1  
PHYS 230/
232
General Physics with Calculus II/Laboratory (3/1)
Chemistry 8
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry1  
CHEM 215/
216
General Chemistry II: Quantitative Applications of Chemistry Concepts/Laboratory (3/2)
Biology 5
BIOL 230 Introductory Biology I1
Earth Science 4
METR 401 Introductory Atmospheric Physics History
History 3
NEXA 387 Origins of Modern Science1
Thematic Concentration
Meteorology 14
METR 402 Introductory Atmospheric and Oceanic Dynamics (4)  
METR 403 Weather Analysis and Forecasting (4)
Six additional units from the following, on advisement:
  METR 200 Introduction to Atmospheric Physics and Thermodynamics (4)
  METR 201 Introduction to Dynamic and Synoptic Meteorology (4)
  METR 206 Introduction to Use of Computers in Meteorology (1)
  METR 404 Meteorological Observing Techniques and Systems (2)
  METR 406 Fortran Programming with Applications in Meteorology
  METR 420 Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions (4)
  METR 502 Intermediate Atmospheric Dynamics (4)
  METR 503 Advanced Weather Analysis and Forecasting
  METR 510 Introductory Cloud Physics
  METR 603 Weather Chart Discussion (1)
  METR 693 Cooperative Education Program (6, 12)
  METR 694 Cooperative Education in Meteorology (1-3)
  METR 697 Senior Project (1-3)
  METR 698 Public Weather Forecasting (1-3)
  METR 699 Special Study (1-3)
  PHYS 240/
  242
General Physics with Calculus III/Laboratory (3/1)
Total for major 56

MINOR IN GEOLOGY

Students should consult with the Department of Geosciences as early as possible in the program in order to be advised on the correct sequences of courses and the selection of elective courses. All courses in the minor must be taken for a letter grade since CR/NC will not be accepted in the program.

Basic Science Units
One course in chemistry or physics on advisement 4-5
Basic Geology
GEOL 110 Physical Geology 4
GEOL 115 Historical Geology 3
Electives
Upper division electives in geology on advisement chosen from courses numbered 400 or higher 13
Total 24-25

CERTIFICATE IN METEOROLOGY FOR BROADCASTERS

General Information

The purpose of the program is to provide certification that students interested in making weathercasting a career have completed the academic course work mandated by the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) Board of Broadcast Meteorology. Successful completion of these courses is a partial requirement for applicants seeking the coveted AMS Broadcast Seal of Approval for Radio and Television.

Students should be aware that the AMS will evaluate the degree to which the academic requirements (as outlined below) are completed. If the academic requirements are met, the AMS will then require submission of three video- or audiotape examples of the student's broadcast work. Students are strongly encouraged to contact the Broadcast and Electronic Communications Arts Department regarding this additional requirement for the Broadcast Seal.

The Broadcast Seal is widely sought by those in the profession of broadcast meteorology, both in the radio and television venues. The Seal represents an external certification of the on-air meteorologist's qualifications and competence and is often required of applicants for on-air media positions.

Program Requirements

The academic requirements for the Seal include at least twenty units (semester hours) of college course work in the atmospheric and other earth sciences including a requirement of twelve units in the atmospheric, oceanic, and/or hydrologic sciences. At least twelve of the twenty semester units must be in four of the following five areas, with at least two units in each of those four:

The course requirements were designed not only to meet the basic requirements of the AMS, but also to provide students in the program with more general interdisciplinary information on earth systems. Several courses explore the current understanding of the answers to some key questions on the interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, solid earth, and living organisms. Those interactions are crucial to shaping the earth's climate and hold the key to predicting future climate, a matter of great topical interest to weathercasters.

Required Courses Units
Core Meteorology Requirements
METR 200 Introduction to Atmospheric Physics and Thermodynamics 4
METR 201 Introduction to Dynamic and Synoptic Meteorology 4
METR 603 Weather Chart Discussion 1
METR 698 Public Weather Forecasting 3
Earth System Science Requirement
METR 310 Planetary Climate Change 4
Electives
Units upon advisement 8
  GEOG 402 The Climatic Challenge2
  GEOL 302 The Violent Earth2
  METR 206 Introduction to the Use of Computers in Meteorology (1)
  METR 302 The Violent Atmosphere2
  METR 356 California Weather Events
  Any meteorology course numbered 400 or above
Total for certificate 24

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED GEOSCIENCES

Admission to the Program

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

Letters of recommendation and statement of purpose should be submitted directly to the appropriate graduate coordinator in the Department of Geosciences. Other materials should be submitted to the Graduate Division of the university.

Applicants lacking the appropriate background (i.e., geoscience degree) 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 Graduate Approved Program until any 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 demonstrating adequate writing skills in GEOL/METR 701. If remedial work is necessary, the student will be expected to complete additional course work in English. Level Two: satisfied by completion of a written thesis (GEOL or METR 898).

Advancement to Candidacy

To be advanced to candidacy, each student must:

Programs Units
GEOL/METR 700 Seminar in Applied Geosciences 3
GEOL/METR 701 Research Methods in Applied Geosciences 3
GEOL/METR 702 Quantitative Methods in Applied Geosciences 3
GEOL 897 Research Project or 6
  METR 897   Research Project
GEOL 898 Master's Thesis or 3
  METR 898   Master's Thesis
Upper division or graduate elective courses on advisement 12
Minimum total 30

Elective units are chosen from courses offered by the Department of Geosciences or other university departments, and must be selected by students in consultation with their faculty advisers. At least six of these units must be courses numbered 700 or higher, and at least six  must be courses offered in the Geosciences Department.

Students can receive their graduate degree when all course requirements are completed and the written thesis, including oral defense, has been approved by the thesis committee. Some students may choose, with their thesis advisers' approval, to complete research under the auspices of a local governmental agency, or geoscientific or environmental firm. Those who choose this option must still complete all the requirements for a thesis, but do so in the context of an internship relationship with an outside agency.


Footnotes

  1. Up to twelve units may be double counted for General Education requirements.
  2. These courses comprise the GE, Segment III cluster Our Violent Planet.


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