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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 Minors

The Earth and Planetary Sciences Department sponsors a number of minor programs, including minors in Geology (with an emphasis in either General Geology, Engineering Geology, Geochemistry or Paleobiology) and Geophysics. In addition, the department administers two interdisciplinary minors: Environmental Geology and Oceanography.  

Students majoring in Geology may elect to complete a minor in Geophysics, Environmental Geology, and Oceanography. They may not complete a minor in Geology. Students majoring in Marine and Coastal Science may elect to complete any of these minors except for Oceanography.

Related minors from other departments:

See the full list of minors.

Geology Minor | General Geology

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.

Students majoring in Geology may elect to complete a minor in Geophysics, Environmental Geology, and Oceanography. They may not complete a minor in Geology. Students majoring in Marine and Coastal Science may elect to complete any of these minors except for Oceanography.

Geology Minor | General Geology Emphasis | Courses 20-21 total units

  • Choose one: 3-4
    • GEL 001 The Earth 4
    • GEL 050 Physical Geology 3
  • 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 & Strata 3
  • Choose one: 3
    • GEL 116N Oceanography 3
    • GEL 134 Environmental Geology & Land Use Planning 3

Geology Minor | Engineering Geology

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.

Students majoring in Geology may elect to complete a minor in Geophysics, Environmental Geology, and Oceanography. They may not complete a minor in Geology. Students majoring in Marine and Coastal Science may elect to complete any of these minors except for Oceanography.

Geology Minor | Engineering Geology Emphasis | Courses 19-24 total units

  • Geology 5
    • GEL 050 Physical Geology  3
    • GEL 050L Physical Geology Laboratory 2
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering 5
    • ECI 171 Soil Mechanics 4
    • ECI 171L Soil Mechanics Laboratory 1
  • Choose three: 9-14
    • GEL 134 Environmental Geology & 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 & Contaminant Transport 5
    • SSC 118 Soils in Land Use & the Environment 4
    • SSC 120 Soil Genesis, Morphology, & Classification 5        

Geology Minor | Geochemistry

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.

Students majoring in Geology may elect to complete a minor in Geophysics, Environmental Geology, and Oceanography. They may not complete a minor in Geology. Students majoring in Marine and Coastal Science may elect to complete any of these minors except for Oceanography.

Geology Minor | Geochemistry Emphasis | Courses 21-24 total units

  • Geology 7
    • GEL 060 Earth Materials: Introduction 4
    • Choose one: 3
      • GEL 146 Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry & Cosmochemistry 3
      • GEL 148 Stable Isotopes & Geochemical Tracers 3
  • Chemistry  8 
    • CHE 110A Physical Chemistry: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 4
    • CHE 110B Physical Chemistry: Properties of Atoms & Molecules 4

                    Chemistry majors may substitute one of the elective courses for Chemistry 110B.

  • Choose two electives: 6-9
    • CHE 110C Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics, Equilibria & Kinetics 4
    • GEL 108 Earth History: Paleoclimates 3
    • GEL 146 Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry & Cosmochemistry 3
    • GEL 148 Stable Isotopes & Geochemical Tracers 3
    • HYD 134 Aqueous Geochemistry 6
    • SSC 102 Environmental Soil Chemistry 3

                  CHE 110C & EMS 134 cannot both be counted toward the minor.

Geology Minor | Paleobiology

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.

Students majoring in Geology may elect to complete a minor in Geophysics, Environmental Geology, and Oceanography. They may not complete a minor in Geology. Students majoring in Marine and Coastal Science may elect to complete any of these minors except for Oceanography.

Geology Minor | Paleobiology Emphasis | Courses 20 total units

  • Geology 11
    • GEL 107 Earth History: Paleobiology 3
    • GEL 107L Earth History: Paleobiology Laboratory 2
    • GEL 108 Earth History: Paleoclimates 3
    • Choose one: 3
      • GEL 141 Evolutionary History of Vertebrates 3
      •  GEL 144 Historical Ecology 3
    • Choose at least nine units: 9
      • ANT 151 Primate Evolution 4
      •  ANT 152 Human Evolution 5
      • EVE 100 Introduction to Evolution 4
      • EVE 101 Introduction to Ecology 4
      • EVE 102 Population & 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 & Strata 3
      • GEL 150C Biological Oceanography

Geophysics Minor

The requirements posted here are provided for your convenience; classes are subject to change. Official Minor requirements are available in the online UC Davis General Catalog prepared by the Office of the University Registrar. Disclaimer Notice.

Students majoring in Geology may elect to complete a minor in Geophysics, Environmental Geology, and Oceanography. They may not complete a minor in Geology. Students majoring in Marine and Coastal Science may elect to complete any of these minors except for Oceanography.

Geophysics is the study of the physical properties and processes within and surrounding the Earth and other planets. Many problems in the Earth and Planetary Sciences require geophysical techniques for study. The minor in geophysics is designed for those Geology majors and non-Geology majors, who are interested in pursuing a graduate or professional career in geophysics, and/or those who desire a career in petroleum or civil engineering or environmental industries. The minor in geophysics may be particularly useful to those in related technical fields such as mathematics, physics, material science and engineering, who wish to apply their skills to problems in Earth science. The geophysics minor is available to Geology majors.

Geophysics Minor | Courses 18-20 total units
These Geophysics minor requirements go into effect Fall 2021

Choose 4 courses (12 units)

  • GEL 131 Risk: Natural Hazards & Related Phenomena (3 units)
  • GEL 160 Geological Data Analysis (3 units)
  • GEL 161 Geophysical Field Methods (3 units)
  • GEL 162 Geophysics of the Solid Earth (3 units)
  • GEL 163 Planetary Geology and Geophysics (3 units)

Choose additional courses from above and/or from the following list to reach at
least 18 total units for the minor.

  • GEL 101 Structural Geology (3 units)
  • GEL 116N Oceanography (3)
  • GEL 130 Non-Renewable Natural Resources (3 units)
  • GEL 134 Environmental Geology & Land Use Planning (3 units)
  • GEL 142 Basin Analysis (3 units)
  • GEL 147 Geology of Ore Deposits (4 units)
  • GEL 149 Geothermal Systems (3 units)
  • GEL 150A Physical & Chemical Oceanography (4 units)
  • GEL 150B Geological Oceanography (3)
  • GEL 156 Hydrogeology & Contaminant Transport (5 units)
  • HYD 144 Groundwater Hydrology (4 units)
  • ESM 100 Principles of Hydrologic Sciences (4 units)
  • ECI 175 Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (4 units)

Interdisciplinary Minor | Environmental Geology

The requirements posted here are provided for your convenience; classes are subject to change. Official Minor requirements are available in the online UC Davis General Catalog prepared by the Office of the University Registrar. Disclaimer Notice.

Students majoring in Geology may elect to complete a minor in Geophysics, Environmental Geology, and Oceanography. They may not complete a minor in Geology. Students majoring in Marine and Coastal Science may elect to complete any of these minors except for Oceanography.

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

Environmental Geology Minor | Courses 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)
  • Choose one: 4
    • HYD 141 Physical Hydrology 4 
    • ECI 142 Engineering Hydrology 4
  • Choose two: 8-9 
    • 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

Interdisciplinary Minor | Oceanography

The requirements posted here are provided for your convenience; classes are subject to change. Official Minor requirements are available in the online UC Davis General Catalog prepared by the Office of the University Registrar. Disclaimer Notice.

Students majoring in Geology may elect to complete a minor in Geophysics, Environmental Geology, and Oceanography. They may not complete a minor in Geology. Students majoring in Marine and Coastal Science may elect to complete any of these minors except for Oceanography.

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.

Oceanography Minor | Courses 22-24 total units

  • GEL/ESP 150A Physical and Chemical Oceanography 4
  • GEL/ESP 150B Geological Oceanography 3
  • GEL/ESP 150C Biological Oceanography 4*
  • ESP 152 Coastal Oceanography (3)*
  • Choose at least eight units from the electives sequence; one course from group (a) and one-two courses from either groups (a) or (b): 8-10

    • (a)

      • GEL 116N Oceanography 3
      • 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)
      •  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
      • ESP 124 Marine and Coastal Field Ecology 3*
      • ETX 127 Environmental Stress and Development in Marine Organisms 10*
      • EVE 106 Mechanical Design in Organisms 3*
      • EVE 114 Experimental Invertebrate Biology 3*

*Taught at Bodega Marine Laboratory.