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Geology Student Learning Objectives

UC Davis Geology Student Learning Objectives

Graduates of the UC Davis Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences should be able to:

  1. Apply the fundamental principles of geology, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology to address geological issues.
  2. Identify common Earth materials at all spatial scales.
  3. Describe the origin of the solar system and Earth and be able to understand our planet in comparison with other planets. 
  4. Comprehend the 4.6 billion year history of Earth and the evolution of the solid earth, the cryosphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere.
  5. Understand the chronology of life on Earth and the fundamentals of biologic evolution.
  6. Describe the origin and distribution of resources such as water, minerals and energy.
  7. Be aware of natural hazards, their impact on civilization and efforts at mitigation.
  8. View Earth as a dynamic system of solid, liquid, gaseous and living components, connected through the cycling of matter and energy.
  9. Recognize the relatively recent arrival of humans on the Earth and their disproportionate impact on the planet.
  10. Understand how science works via inquiry, observation, verification, reason and critical thinking.
  11. Synthesize and communicate their knowledge of geological concepts through written, oral and graphical representation.
  12. Apply the tenets of professional, ethical and responsible conduct as geoscientists.

 - Faculty of the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department
January 2013

Geology Minor Requirements

The requirements posted here are provided for your convenience; classes are subject to change.

Official Geology Minor requirements are available in the online UC Davis General Catalog prepared by the Office of the University Registrar. Disclaimer Notice.

Geology Minor: 19-24 total units
Choose one of the four emphases, below:

  • General Geology Emphasis 19-20 total units
    • GEL 050 Physical Geology (3) OR GEL 001 The Earth (4)
    • GEL 050L Physical Geology Laboratory (2)
    • GEL 101 Structural Geology (3)
    • GEL 107 Earth History: Paleobiology (3)
    • GEL 108 Earth History: Paleoclimates (3)
    • GEL 109 Earth History: Sediments and Strata (2)
    • GEL 116N Oceanography (3) OR GEL 134 Environmental Geology and Land Use Planning (3)
  • Engineering Geology Emphasis: 19-24 total units
    • GEL 050 Physical Geology (3)
    • GEL 050L Physical Geology Laboratory (2)
    • ECI 171 Soil Mechanics (4)
    • ECI 171L Soil Mechanics Laboratory (1)
    • Choose three: 9-14 units
      • GEL 134 Environmental Geology and Land Use Planning (3)
      • GEL 161 Geophysical Field Methods (3)
      • GEL 162 Geophysics of the Solid Earth (3)
      • HYD 103N Fluid Mechanics Fundamentals (4)
      • HYD 144 Groundwater Hydrology (4)
      • HYD 146 Hydrogeology and Contaminant Transport (5)
      • SSC 118 Soils in Land Use and the Environment (4)
      • SSC 120 Soil Genesis, Morphology, and Classification (5)
  • Geochemistry Emphasis: 21-24 total units
    • GEL 060 Earth Materials: Introduction (4)
    • GEL 146 Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry (3) OR GEL 148 Stable Isotopes and Geochemical Tracers (3)
    • CHE 110A Physical Chemistry: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (4)
    • CHE 110B Physical Chemistry: Properties of Atoms and Molecules (4)
      Chemistry majors may substitute one of the elective courses for Chemistry 110B.
    • Choose two electives: 6-9 units - Chemistry 110C and Materials Science and Engineering 134 cannot both be counted toward the minor.
      • CHE 110C Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics, Equilibria and Kinetics (4)
      • GEL 108 Earth History: Paleoclimates (3)
      • GEL 146 Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry (3)
      • GEL 148 Stable Isotopes and Geochemical Tracers (3)
      • HYD 134 Aqueous Geochemistry 6 units
      • SSC 102 Environmental Soil Chemistry (3)
  • Paleobiology Emphasis: 20 total units
    • GEL 107 Earth History: Paleobiology (3)
    • GEL 107L Earth History: Paleobiology Laboratory (2)
    • GEL 108 Earth History: Paleoclimates (3)
    • GEL 141 Evolutionary History of Vertebrates (3) OR GEL 144 Historical Ecology (3)
    • Choose at least nine units: 9 units
      • ANT 151 Primate Evolution (4)
      • ANT 152 Human Evolution 5 units
      • EVE 100 Introduction to Evolution (4)
      • EVE 101 Introduction to Ecology (4)
      • EVE 102 Population and Quantitative Genetics (4)
      • EVE 105 Phylogenetic Analysis of Vertebrate Structure (4)
      • EVE 112 Biology of Invertebrates (3)
      • EVE 112L Biology of Invertebrates Laboratory (2)
      • EVE 140 Paleobotany (4)
      • EVE 149 Evolution of Ecological Systems (4)
      • GEL 109 Earth History: Sediments and Strata (2)
      • GEL 150C Biological Oceanography (4)

Official Minor requirements are available in the online UC Davis General Catalog prepared by the Office of the University Registrar. Disclaimer Notice.
Environmental Geology minor program requirements ] [ Geophysics minor program requirements ] [ Oceanography minor program requirements ]

  • Environmental Geology: 27-28 total units
    • GEL 130 Non-Renewable Natural Resources (3)
    • GEL 134 Environmental Geology and Land Use Planning (3)
    • ESM 186 Environmental Remote Sensing (5)
    • SSC 118 Soils in Land Use and the Environment (4)
    • HYD 141 Physical Hydrology 4 OR ECI 142 Engineering Hydrology (4)
    • Choose two: 8-9 units
      • ESP 160 The Policy Process (4)
      • ESP 171 Urban and Regional Planning (4)
      • ESP 179 Environmental Impact Assessment (4)
      • HYD 144 Groundwater Hydrology (4)
      • HYD 146 Hydrogeology and Contaminant Transport (5)
  • Geophysics: 19-26 total units
    • Choose one: 4 units
      • ENG 006 Engineering Problem Solving (4)
      • ECS 030 Programming and Problem Solving (Discontinued) (4)
      • EME 005 Computer Programming for Engineering Applications (4)
    • Choose two: 6 units
      • GEL 160 Geological Data Analysis (3)
      • GEL 161 Geophysical Field Methods (3)
      • GEL 162 Geophysics of the Solid Earth (3)
      • GEL 163 Planetary Geology and Geophysics (3)
      • EME 115 Introduction to Numerical Analysis and Methods (4)
    • Choose one course sequence: 5-12 units
      • (a) 12 units 
        • ATM 120 Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Cloud Physics (4)
        • ATM 121A Atmospheric Dynamics (4)
        • ATM 121B Atmospheric Dynamics (4)
      • (b) 5 units
        • GEL 101 Structural Geology (3)
        • GEL 101L Structural Geology Lab (2)
      • (c) 12 units 
        • MAT 118A Partial Differential Equations: Elementary Methods (4)
        • MAT 118B Partial Differential Equations: Eigenfunction Expansions (4)
        • MAT 118C Partial Differential Equations: Green's Functions and Transforms (4)
      • (d) 12 units 
        • PHY 104A Introductory Methods of Mathematical Physics 4 OR ENG 180 Engineering Analysis (4)
        • PHY 105A Analytical Mechanics 4 OR ENG 104 Mechanics of Materials (4)
        • PHY 105C Continuum Mechanics 4 OR HYD 103N Fluid Mechanics Fundamentals (4)
  • Oceanography: 22-24 total units
    • GEL 150A Physical and Chemical Oceanography (4) OR ESP 150A Physical and Chemical Oceanography (4)
    • GEL 150B Geological Oceanography (3) OR ESP 150B Geological Oceanography (3)
    • GEL 150C Biological Oceanography (4) OR ESP 150C Biological Oceanography (4)
    • ESP 152 Coastal Oceanography (3)
    • Choose an electives sequence, with one course from group (a) and one to two additional electives from either groups (a) or (b): 8-10
      • (a) 8-10 units
        • GEL 116N Oceanography (3) OR ESP 116N Oceanography (3)
        • ATM 158 Boundary-Layer Meteorology (4)
        • WFC 120 Biology and Conservation of Fishes (3)
        • WFC 157 Coastal Ecosystems (4)
        • ETX 120 Perspectives in Aquatic Toxicology (4)
        • EVE 112 Biology of Invertebrates (3)
        • EVE 115 Marine Ecology (4)
      • (b) 8-10 units
        •  ATM 121A Atmospheric Dynamics (4)
        • ATM 121B Atmospheric Dynamics (4)
        • GEL 108 Earth History: Paleoclimates (3)
        • GEL 109 Earth History: Sediments and Strata 2
        • GEL 152 Paleobiology of Protista (4)
        • EVE 106 Mechanical Design in Organisms (3)
        • EVE 114 Experimental Invertebrate Biology (3)
        • ESP 124 Marine and Coastal Field Ecology (3)
        • ETX 127 Environmental Stress and Development in Marine Organisms (10)

Courses taught at Bodega Marine Laboratory: GEL 150C Biological Oceanography (4); ESP 150C Biological Oceanography (4); ESP 124 Marine and Coastal Field Ecology (3); ESP 152 Coastal Oceanography (3); ETX 127 Environmental Stress and Development in Marine Organisms (10); EVE 106 Mechanical Design in Organisms (3); EVE 114 Experimental Invertebrate Biology (3)

Geology Minor

Students in other disciplines may elect to complete a minor in Geology by choosing a geological subject emphasis. The Earth and Planetary Sciences Department sponsors a number of minor programs, including minors in:

  • General Geology
  • Engineering Geology
  • Geochemistry
  • Paleobiology

In addition the Department administers three interdisciplinary minors. Those majoring in Geology may also elect to complete the Environmental Geology, Geophysics and Oceanography minor.

  • Environmental Geology examines the multidisciplinary factors of geology and related earth science fields, and planning and resources oriented programs. Students in the minor are encouraged to participate in internship programs that assist them in solidifying the Environmental Geology minor with their Geology major or other major field areas that include geologic components.
  • Geophysics is the study of the physical properties and processes within and surrounding the Earth. Many problems in the Earth Sciences require geophysical techniques for study. The interdisciplinary minor in geophysics is for students with backgrounds in the physical sciences, engineering and other fields who are interested in pursuing a graduate or professional career in geophysics, or those who desire a career in the energy, minerals, or environmental industries.
  • Oceanography is the study of the earth's oceans, investigating connections between geological, biological, chemical and physical processes in the marine realm, and the interactions between the Earth's ocean/atmosphere system. The interdisciplinary minor in oceanography is for students with backgrounds in any of these fields, as well as those interested in marine policy and conservation. The curriculum reflects the integrative nature of oceanography, with core courses covering the major disciplines in oceanography and elective courses that allow students to cater the minor to their interests. The oceanography minor includes courses taught at the Davis campus and courses offered at Bodega Marine Laboratory.