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College of Arts & Sciences

Geological Sciences

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Courses with field trips

60,000

Median salary

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Geological Sciences encompass a variety of types of studies of the Earth, including composition, structure, prehistoric life, internal and surfical processes, and geological history. These studies have applications in the discovery and use of mineral resources, fuels, and water; in protection of the environment; and in planning for natural limitations (earthquakes, landslides, resources, etc.) on societal development.

Careers

Grow Your Future

The median pay for geoscientists in the US in 2012 was $90,890. Jobs in geoscience are expected to grow at the rate of 16% through 2022. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics) Jobs in the geosciences accepted by students with bachelor’s degrees include those in Oil & Gas (36%), Environmental Services (21%), Mining (11%), Government (11%), and K-12 Education (4%).(Source: Status of Recent Geoscience Graduates, 2013. American Geosciences Institute)

Career opportunities in Geological Sciences

  • petroleum geologist
  • hydrogeologist
  • engineering geologist
  • environmental geologist
  • geophysicist
  • economic geologist
  • geomorphologist
  • paleoclimatologist
  • volcanologist
  • seismologist
  • geochemist
  • glaciologist
  • mineralogist
  • sedimentologist
  • cartographer
  • paleontologist
  • petrologist
  • stratigrapher
  • planetary geologist
  • land-use technician
  • surveyor
  • government
  • consulting firms
  • museums

Current Curriculum Information

Access Major Template

source: myUK: GPS

  • Geological Sciences (BA) 120 hours

Click to toggle each Academic Year. Click each course for more information.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester
  • EES 220 - PRINCIPLES OF PHYSICAL GEOLOGY4

    How the Earth Works: an integrated course in physical geology, covering the physical, chemical and biological processes that combine to produce geological processes. Attention is focused on plate tectonics, earth surface processes, and properties and formation of earth materials. Lab exercises emphasize identification and interpretation of geologic materials and maps. Lecture/Discussion, three hours per week; laboratory, three hours per week.

  • Foreign Language 1014
  • UK Core - Comp. & Comm. I3
  • UK Core - Community, Culture and Citizen3
    • Total14
Spring Semester
  • EES 295 - GEOSCIENCE ORIENTATION1

    Survey of geoscience disciplines and post- baccalaureate career options for Geology majors. Introduction to the range of geoscience research approaches and means of dissemination of geoscience information. Guest speakers from industry, government, and academia will discuss career issues specific to geology, including consideration of appropriate educational preparation for potential career paths. Pass/Fail only.

  • Foreign Language 1024
  • UK Core - Comp. & Comm. II3
  • Geological Sci Premajor Math Courses3
  • UK Core - Global Dynamics3
    • Total16
    • Total Freshman Hours30

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester
  • EES 230 - FUNDAMENTALS OF GEOLOGY I3

    Field and laboratory methods for identification and description of rocks and minerals with emphasis on sedimentary rocks and rock-forming minerals. Field study of geologic structures. Interpretation of geologic maps. Laboratory, three hours per week. Eight days in the field.

  • CHE 105 - GENERAL COLLEGE CHEMISTRY I4

    A study of the principles of chemistry and their application to the more important elements and their compounds. Not open to students who have already completed both CHE 104 and 106 or CHE 104 and CHE 108, but open to students who have completed just CHE 104.

  • CHE 111 - LABORATORY TO ACCOMPANY GENERAL CHEMISTRY I1

    A laboratory course, to accompany CHE 105, dealing with the properties of chemical substances and providing an introduction to quantitative chemical analysis.1

  • Foreign Language 2013
  • UK Core - Arts and Creativity3
  • UK Core - Humanities3
    • Total17
Spring Semester
  • EES 235 - FUNDAMENTALS OF GEOLOGY II3

    Laboratory and field methods for identification and description of rocks and minerals with emphasis on igneous and metamorphic rocks and rock- forming minerals. Field study of geologic structures. Interpretation of geologic maps. Laboratory, four hours per week. Four days in the field. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

  • EES 360 - MINERALOGY4

    The study of mineral structure and composition, and mineral classification through crystallographic and crystal chemical techniques. Laboratory work includes study of minerals via crystallography, X-ray diffraction, mineral chemical analysis, and optical petrographic techniques. Lecture, three hours per week; laboratory, three hours per week.

  • Foreign Language 2023
  • UK Core - Statistical Inferential Reason3
  • UK Core - Social Sciences3
    • Total16
    • Total Sophomore Hours33

Junior Year

Fall Semester
  • EES 450G - SEDIMENTARY GEOLOGY4

    Basic principles and concepts of stratigraphy and sedimentation. Lithologic correlation and the interpretation of geologic history and paleogeography. Field and laboratory analysis of sedimentary rocks including megascopic and microscopic methods. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, three hours per week.

  • EES 461 - IGNEOUS AND METAMORPHIC PETROLOGY4

    Classification and origins of the common igneous and metamorphic rocks. Lecture material will emphasize the mineralogical, chemical, and physical equilibria within the earth. Laboratory topics will stress hand-specimen and microscopic petrography. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, three hours per week. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

  • PHY 211 - GENERAL PHYSICS5

    First part of a two-semester survey of classical and modern physics, focusing on the motion of solids and fluids as governed by Newton's Laws and by the conservation laws of energy, momentum, and angular momentum. Lecture, two hours; recitation, two hours; laboratory, two hours. Credit is not given to students who already have credit for PHY 231 and 241.

  • EES/Related Field Elective (300+)3
    • Total16
Spring Semester
  • EES 350 - REGIONAL HISTORICAL GEOLOGY3

    Integration of basic rock types, geologic structures, geomorphology, and natural resources in the context of geologic history of the major regions of North America. Global plate tectonics as a framework for evolution of the North American continent.

  • EES 420G - STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY4

    An introduction to earth structures. Advanced geologic map interpretation. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, two hours.

  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
  • EES/Related Field Elective (300+)3
    • Total14
    • Total Junior Hours30

Senior Year

Fall Semester
  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
  • A&S Social Sciences (100+ level)3
  • EES/Related Field Elective (300+)3
  • EES Elective (400+)3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • A&S Social Sciences (100+ level)3
  • EES/Related Field Elective (300+)3
  • EES Elective (400+)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Senior Hours30
  • Geological Sciences (BS) 120 hours

Click to toggle each Academic Year. Click each course for more information.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester
  • EES 220 - PRINCIPLES OF PHYSICAL GEOLOGY4

    How the Earth Works: an integrated course in physical geology, covering the physical, chemical and biological processes that combine to produce geological processes. Attention is focused on plate tectonics, earth surface processes, and properties and formation of earth materials. Lab exercises emphasize identification and interpretation of geologic materials and maps. Lecture/Discussion, three hours per week; laboratory, three hours per week.

  • CHE 105 - GENERAL COLLEGE CHEMISTRY I4

    A study of the principles of chemistry and their application to the more important elements and their compounds. Not open to students who have already completed both CHE 104 and 106 or CHE 104 and CHE 108, but open to students who have completed just CHE 104.

  • CHE 111 - LABORATORY TO ACCOMPANY GENERAL CHEMISTRY I1

    A laboratory course, to accompany CHE 105, dealing with the properties of chemical substances and providing an introduction to quantitative chemical analysis.1

  • UK Core - Comp. & Comm. I3
  • UK Core - Arts and Creativity3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • CHE 107 - GENERAL COLLEGE CHEMISTRY II3

    A continuation of CHE 105. A study of the principles of chemistry and their application to the more important elements and compounds.

  • CHE 113 - LABORATORY TO ACCOMPANY GENERAL CHEMISTRY II2

    A laboratory course, to accompany CHE 107, emphasizing qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis.

  • PHY 211 - GENERAL PHYSICS5

    First part of a two-semester survey of classical and modern physics, focusing on the motion of solids and fluids as governed by Newton's Laws and by the conservation laws of energy, momentum, and angular momentum. Lecture, two hours; recitation, two hours; laboratory, two hours. Credit is not given to students who already have credit for PHY 231 and 241.

  • UK Core - Comp. & Comm. II3
  • UK Core - Humanities3
    • Total16
    • Total Freshman Hours31

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester
  • EES 230 - FUNDAMENTALS OF GEOLOGY I3

    Field and laboratory methods for identification and description of rocks and minerals with emphasis on sedimentary rocks and rock-forming minerals. Field study of geologic structures. Interpretation of geologic maps. Laboratory, three hours per week. Eight days in the field.

  • PHY 213 - GENERAL PHYSICS5

    Continuation of PHY 211, covering electrostatics, de circuits, magnetism, Maxwell’s Equations, electromagnetic radiation, light and some modern physics. Lecture, two hours; recitation, two hours; laboratory, two hours. Credit is not given to students who already have credit for PHY 232 and 242.

  • Geological Sci Premajor Math Courses5
  • A&S Humanities (100+ level)3
    • Total16
Spring Semester
  • EES 235 - FUNDAMENTALS OF GEOLOGY II3

    Laboratory and field methods for identification and description of rocks and minerals with emphasis on igneous and metamorphic rocks and rock- forming minerals. Field study of geologic structures. Interpretation of geologic maps. Laboratory, four hours per week. Four days in the field. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

  • EES 295 - GEOSCIENCE ORIENTATION1

    Survey of geoscience disciplines and post- baccalaureate career options for Geology majors. Introduction to the range of geoscience research approaches and means of dissemination of geoscience information. Guest speakers from industry, government, and academia will discuss career issues specific to geology, including consideration of appropriate educational preparation for potential career paths. Pass/Fail only.

  • EES 360 - MINERALOGY4

    The study of mineral structure and composition, and mineral classification through crystallographic and crystal chemical techniques. Laboratory work includes study of minerals via crystallography, X-ray diffraction, mineral chemical analysis, and optical petrographic techniques. Lecture, three hours per week; laboratory, three hours per week.

  • Geological Sci Premajor Math Courses5
  • UK Core - Social Sciences3
    • Total16
    • Total Sophomore Hours32

Junior Year

Fall Semester
  • EES 450G - SEDIMENTARY GEOLOGY4

    Basic principles and concepts of stratigraphy and sedimentation. Lithologic correlation and the interpretation of geologic history and paleogeography. Field and laboratory analysis of sedimentary rocks including megascopic and microscopic methods. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, three hours per week.

  • EES 461 - IGNEOUS AND METAMORPHIC PETROLOGY4

    Classification and origins of the common igneous and metamorphic rocks. Lecture material will emphasize the mineralogical, chemical, and physical equilibria within the earth. Laboratory topics will stress hand-specimen and microscopic petrography. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, three hours per week. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

  • Foreign Language 1014
  • UK Core - Statistical Inferential Reason3
    • Total15
Spring Semester
  • EES 420G - STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY4

    An introduction to earth structures. Advanced geologic map interpretation. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, two hours.

  • Foreign Language 1024
  • UK Core - Community, Culture and Citizen3
  • UK Core - Global Dynamics3
    • Total14
    • Total Junior Hours35

Junior Year

Summer Semester
  • EES 323 - FIELD WORK IN REGIONAL GEOLOGY6

    Geologic mapping in the field for a six-week period. Description, measurement, and mapping of a wide variety of rocks and structures, and analysis of geologic events in mountainous regions of the Rockies or Appalachians. Includes practice in writing geologic field reports. Offered only during the summer session. At least 40 hours of field-related work per week. Special fee.

    • Total06
Fall Semester
  • Foreign Language 2013
  • EES/Related Field Elective (300+)3
  • EES Elective (400+)3
  • A&S Social Sciences (100+ level)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
    • Total Senior Hours36

Senior Year

Spring Semester
  • EES 490 - EARTH DYNAMICS3

    Basic planetary changes through geological time, including continental drift, formation of supercontinents, paleoclimate, and the growth of the earth's crust. Students will be required to take the Fundamentals component of the ASBOG professional geologist certification exam (fee required).

  • Foreign Language 2023
  • EES/Related Field Elective (300+)3
  • EES Elective (400+)3
  • A&S Approved Elective (100+ level)3
    • Total15
Summer Semester
  • EES 323 - FIELD WORK IN REGIONAL GEOLOGY6

    Geologic mapping in the field for a six-week period. Description, measurement, and mapping of a wide variety of rocks and structures, and analysis of geologic events in mountainous regions of the Rockies or Appalachians. Includes practice in writing geologic field reports. Offered only during the summer session. At least 40 hours of field-related work per week. Special fee.

    • Total06
    • Total Senior Hours36

Classes & Requirements

What You'll Study

Geological Science majors begin by taking EES 220: Principles of Physical Geology. This course offers an introduction to every aspect of the discipline. Students engage in hands-on laboratory activities such as modeling the flow of contaminants in groundwater, identifying rocks and minerals, and using geologic maps to understand the geologic evolution of Earth’s surface.

If a student took EES 220 in the Fall semester of their first year in the major, the Spring semester might be a good time to take a 300-level elective, such as EES 310: Exploring the Solar System or EES 345: Paleoclimatology: The Science.

The second year of study begins with EES 230: Fundamentals of Geology 1 during the Fall semester, followed by EES 235: Fundamentals of Geology 2 in the Spring. Both of these classes introduce students to skills necessary to being a geologist, such as mapping, describing rocks, field work, and geographic information systems (GIS). Students also take other 300 level required courses and electives.

After the 230/235 sequence and 300 level required courses are completed, students move on to 400 and 500 level classes that give students more detailed backgrounds in various sub-disciplines in geology, such as structural geology, sedimentary geology, and igneous and metamorphic geology.

Geological Sciences B.S. students usually finish their studies in geology with a rigorous 6-week field camp (EES 323) in southwestern Colorado. They undertake several mapping exercises that allow integration of all of the skills and knowledge gained during previous studies. Many of our B.A. students opt to take this course as an elective as well.

 
EES B.A. Four Year Plan EES B.S. Four Year Plan

Graduation Requirements

Any student earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree must complete a minimum of 39 hours at the 300+ level. These hours are generally completed by the major requirements. However, keep this hour requirement in mind as you choose your course work for the requirements in the major. Students interested in earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree must complete a minimum of 60 hours in biological, physical, mathematical and/or computer sciences. See the complete description of College requirements for a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences degrees in the Arts and Sciences section of the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin.

UK Core Requirements

  • The Nature of Inquiry in Arts and Creativity (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Humanities (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Social Sciences (3 hours)
  • The nature of Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication I (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication II (3 hours)
  • Quantitative Foundations (3 hours)
  • Statistical and Inferential Reasoning (3 hours)
  • Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA (3 hours)
  • Global Dynamics (3 hours)

Total Credit Hours - 30


Premajor Requirements 

  • CHE 105 - General Chemistry I [4 hours]
  • CHE 111 - Laboratory to Accompany General Chemistry I [1 hours]
  • EES 220 - Principles of Physical Geology [4 hours]
  • EES 295 - Geoscience Orientation [1 hour]
  • MA 123 - Elementary Calculus and its Applications or MA 113 [4 hours]
  • PHY 211 - General Physics or PHY 231/241 - General University Physics/Lab [5 hours]

Total Hours - 19

Major Requirements 

Core Requirements

  • EES 230 - Fundamentals of Geology I [3 hours]
  • EES 235 - Fundamentals of Geology II [3 hours]
  • EES 350 - Regional Historical Geology [3 hours]
  • EES 360 - Minerology [4 hours]
  • EES 420G - Structural Geology [4 hours]
  • EES 450G - Sedimentary Geology [4 hours]
  • EES 461 - Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology [4 hours]

Other Course Work Required for the Major

  • Choose 6 hours of EES courses at the 400+ level, not to include EES 495 or 496 [6 hours]
  • Choose 6 additional hours of 300+ EES or related courses. (Note that 14 hours at the 200 level or higher must be completed outside Geological Sciences [3-14 hours]

Total Hours - 41


Featured Career

Geological and Petroleum Technicians

Geological and petroleum technicians provide support to scientists and engineers in exploring and extracting natural resources, such as minerals, oil, and natural gas.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$54,810

per year in 2014

Number of Jobs

16,500

in 2014

10 Year Job Outlook

1,900

new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Geological and petroleum technicians work in offices, laboratories, and the field. Most geological and petroleum technicians work full time.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

Featured Career

Geoscientists

Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth, such as its composition, structure, and processes, to learn about its past, present, and future.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$89,910

per year in 2014

Number of Jobs

36,400

in 2014

10 Year Job Outlook

3,800

new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Most geoscientists split their time between working in offices and laboratories, and working outdoors. Doing research and investigations outdoors is commonly called fieldwork and can require irregular working hours and extensive travel to remote locations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

Similar Occupations

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Agricultural and Food Scientists
  • Anthropologists and Archeologists
  • Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists
  • Civil Engineers
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Environmental Scientists and Specialists
  • Geological and Petroleum Technicians
  • Hydrologists
  • Petroleum Engineers
  • Postsecondary Teachers
  • Chemists and Materials Scientists
  • Mining and Geological Engineers
  • Natural Sciences Managers
  • Physicists and Astronomers

A&S Undecided/Exploratory Studies

Understanding that over 70 percent of university students will change their declared major at least once during their college careers, the College of Arts and Sciences has developed an Exploratory Studies program for students who have yet to decide the specific field of study that most closely aligns both their personal interests and their professional career goals and objectives. The Exploratory Studies Program provides students with an extraordinarily diverse educational environment that includes coursework spanning Math and Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and provides students with the unique opportunity to explore multiple areas of interest during their first several semesters on campus. For more information please contact a recruiting representative at asrecruting@uky.edu. 


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