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Geology BS - Option A, Central Michigan University

Information for this profile was provided by Patrick Kinnicutt in 2009.

Central Michigan University is a public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate .

Overview and Context

Illustration of the Central Michigan geology curriculum, constructed by Monica Bruckner, based on information provided by Patrick Kinnicutt. Click on the image to see a larger version.
This is a classical geology curriculum, with the option given to students to take non-classical upper level technical electives.
This is one of four geology curricular programs. Option A requires an undergraduate research thesis and defense. Option B is the classical non-thesis program, while we also have a concentration in Hyrdrogeology/Environmental Geology with thesis and non-thesis options.

Program Design

This program was designed to be a classical geology curriculum with a path to graduate school. 100% of students in the past 5 years in this program have gone to graduate school or to industry in the geosciences.

Goals and Assessment

This curriculum provides undergraduate students with a classical geology education and prepares them for graduate school in the geosciences. This program requires undergraduate research, which the department considers very important.

We evaluate grades of exams, term projects and papers for various courses, as well as grades from external field camps which students are required to attend. The faculty also evaluate the students' thesis and thesis defense, using a rubric which all faculty fill out and submit after the defense.

Courses and Sequencing

Entry into the program

  • Physical Geology AND Physical Geology Laboratory
  • Dangerous Planet AND Physical Geology Laboratory
  • Introduction to Earth Systems
  • Earth Processes

Core courses

  • Earth History
  • Introduction to Geologic Investigation
  • Introductory Mineralogy
  • Petrology (Prerequisites: Introduction to Geologic Investigation, Introductory Mineralogy)
  • Structural Geology (Prerequisite: Earth History)
  • Stratigraphy and Sedimentology (Prerequisites: Earth History, Introduction to Geologic Investigation, Introductory Mineralogy)
  • Invertebrate Paleontology (Prerequisite: Earth History)
  • Introduction to Geophysics OR Hydrogeology OR Geochemistry


Students are required to take 3 credits (usually 1 course) of electives, selected from:

  • Oceanography: Marine Geology
  • Engineering Geology (Prerequisite: Earth History)
  • Glacial Morphology and Landforms (Prerequisite: Introduction to Geologic Investigation)
  • Field Petrology (Prerequisite: Petrology)
  • Introductory Petroleum Geology (Prerequisite: Earth History)
  • Environmental Geochemistry (Prerequisite: Hydrogeology)
  • Geomorphology (Prerequisite: Petrology)
  • Applied Geostatistics (Prerequisite: Introduction to Geologic Investigation)

Other required courses

  • Calculus 1
  • Calculus 2
  • Introduction to Chemistry 1 and 2 OR Principles of Chemistry
  • College Physics 1 and 2 OR University Physics 1 and 2 with Lab


  • Geology Field Camp
  • Senior Thesis

Additional comments

This option provides the least flexible option we offer (only 1 elective and some options in required courses) but the most popular path for students seeking to go to graduate school.

Additional Materials

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