Geology Program, Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi
Program Design & Assessment
The Geology Program at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi offers a B.S. in Geology as well as a minor in Geology. The program is embedded in the department of Physical and Environmental Sciences (PENS), which is embedded in the College of Science and Engineering. Currently about one quarter of the majors in PENS are geology majors(80+ students).
The Geology Program also serves the broader campus community by offering three introductory level geology core courses. Over 500 non-science majors enroll in these courses every year.
Strengths of this program
The geoscience faculty at our institution are dedicated to providing our majors with a broad overview of geologic processes while at the same time offering the opportunity to pursue specialized knowledge in selected areas of geoscience. With a large number of local geoscience-oriented industries, our students have ample opportunities for internships to supplement their academic studies and to grow their resumes.
Types of students served
TAMUCC is a Hispanic-serving Institution. Of the 10,500 enrolled students (Fall 2012) at TAMUCC, nearly 4,550 were self-declared Hispanics. Within the Geology Program, 24 of the 79 declared majors (2012) were Hispanics, so about 30% of the students. A majority of the students served by our program are from Texas (95% in 2012), similar to the University's overall numbers (93% in 2012).
A large number of geology majors transfer to TAMUCC from other schools, in particular community colleges (e.g. our local Del Mar College). No percentage numbers are available at this time. In 2012, over 20% of the geology majors were enrolled on a part-time basis. Both, high transfer rates as well as part-time status of several students, may reflect the economic challenges many of our students face.
The goals of this program are as follows:
The goals of our Geology Program are produce graduates that will:
- show competence in scientific inquiry, writing, and oral presentation;
- demonstrate a broad understanding of major concepts central to the geological sciences;
- demonstrate competency and be able to apply field and laboratory methods, perform data analysis, and utilize computer applications relevant to the geological sciences;
- be employable in geology-related fields, or able to continue their education in graduate programs;
- be able to evaluate and critically discuss issues related to geology that impact society.
The learning goals were informed by the following resources:
A major critique from employers, not only in the geosciences but in general, is that graduates lack writing and often also critical thinking skills. Our program therefor emphasis writing and scientific inquiry in many of our courses.
As many of our undergraduates seek internship opportunities in the petroleum industry, we also seek to prepare them for tasks they may be given while working in this area of geology.
How program goals are assessed
As all programs at TAMUCC, the Geology Program is assessed yearly using WEAVE online an assessment and planning management system. As part of this assessment, faculty provide data about their courses and their students (e.g. how many students they served, how many letters of recommendation they sent out, how many students performed research with them etc.).
Design features that allow goals to be met:
Performing regular assessment has allowed the program to make changes to the program which ultimately benefit our students. For example, four years ago, based on assessment result, the introductory level course Physical Geology was split into a course section serving science majors only and as second one which now serves over 500 non-science majors every year.
The geology program at TAMUCC (Texas A&M University Corpus Christi) currently serves 85 declared geology majors. This represents an increase in enrollment of about 40% over the past 6 years. Part of the growth may reflect a regional increase in interest in the geosciences because of the Eagle Ford Shale "boom". 30 % of the majors declared themselves as "Hispanic".
Our program currently offers a Bachelor degree in Geology. Over the past 13 years, a total of 113 students graduated with a B.S. in Geology from our program. We had our lowest graduation rates in the years 2001-2006. Our peak graduation year was 2009 with 17 degrees awarded.
Careers pursued by our alumni
Alumni-tracking has only recently been made a priority within our college. Any tracking of geology graduates up to this point has been based on personal communication. Therefore no official data or percentage numbers can be presented here. Overall, a large number of our graduates pursue a working career upon graduation to pay off bills prior to considering graduate school. In 2013, 15 students requested letters of recommendation from faculty for graduate schools. This reflects a slight increase to previous years.
Many of our graduates seek jobs in the local petroleum industry, e.g. as geo-technicians. Several of our graduates have moved to Houston, which offers an even larger market for geology graduates seeking a career in the petroleum industry. Only few of our graduates have pursued a career in the environmental geology field.
Our degree program's goal aligns with this reality. It is our goal to prepare students for a career in the geosciences as well as graduate school by offering a broad exposure to all critical components of the geosciences as well as internships and research opportunities.
Courses and Sequencing
Diagram of course sequencing and requirements
Entry into the degree
GEOL 1403 - Physical Geology
GEOL 1404 - Historical Geology
GEOL 1403 - Physical Geology 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 1404 - Historical Geology 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 2102 - Undergraduate Seminar in Geology 1 sem. hrs.
GEOL 3326 - Introduction to Geological Field Methods 3 sem. hrs.
GEOL 3411 - Mineralogy 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 3414 - Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 3441 - Invertebrate Paleontology 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 3442 - Geomorphology 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4411 - Sedimentation and Stratigraphy 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4421 - Structural Geology 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4650 - Field Geology 6 sem. hrs.
Elective courses and Requirements
Students must complete 15 hours of electives (usually 5 courses). They may choose from the courses listed below.
GEOL 2101 - Geological Field Explorations 1 sem. hrs.
GEOL 3315 - Geochemistry 3 sem. hrs.
GEOL 3329 - Geology of National Parks 3 sem. hrs.
GEOL 3443 - Environmental Geology 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4316 - Marine Geoscience 3 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4322 - Geophysics 3 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4326 - Field Seminar in Geology 3 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4415 - Economic Geology 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4430 - Internship in Geology 1‑4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4436 - Introduction to Petroleum Geology 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4444 - Hydrogeology 4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4490 - Selected Topics 1‑4 sem. hrs.
GEOL 4650 - Field Geology 6 sem. hrs.
is considered to be the capstone experience/course for our degree. At this time we do not have enough faculty nor other required support (equipment, staff etc.) to run our own field camp. Students take their capstone course with other universities. This allows them to choose a field camp that best serves their interests (e.g. focus on hydrogeology, geomorphology, paleontology) and to travel the world if they choose to.
Supporting Science and Math Courses
CHEM 1311 - General Chemistry I ** 3 sem. hrs.
CHEM 1111 - General Chemistry Lab I ** 1 sem. hrs.
CHEM 1312 - General Chemistry II ** 3 sem. hrs.
CHEM 1112 - General Chemistry Lab II 1 sem. hrs.
PHYS 1401 - General Physics I ** 4 sem. hrs.
PHYS 1402 - General Physics II ** 4 sem. hrs.
PHYS 2425 - University Physics I ** 4 sem. hrs.
PHYS 2426 - University Physics II ** 4 sem. hrs.
MATH 2413 - Calculus I ** 4 sem. hrs.
MATH 3342 - Applied Probability and Statistics 3 sem. hrs.