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Associate of Applied Science in Geoscience Technology at Northern Virginia Community College

Information for this profile was provided by Shelley Jaye, Geology, Northern Virginia Community College. Students in this program are pursuing a associates degree.

Program Design & Assessment


The Associate of Applied Science in Geoscience Technology program is specifically designed to prepare students for entry-level positions at governmental agencies, such as the US Geological Survey, or at geotechnical and environmental companies and laboratories. Students prepare for this STEM technology degree by concentrating on introductory level, cross-curriculum science and geoscience courses.

Strengths of this program

This program is one concentration in an over-arching Associate of Applied Science in STEM Technology currently in development at the college. Our close association with secondary schools in the area as well as scientific government agencies and private corporations indicate a desire and a need for well-trained entry-level technicians with a strong STEM background. Our program fills a niche for students that are interested in pursuing a STEM career without necessarily attaining an advanced degree. It also provides employers with STEM skilled technicians that can readily support laboratory and field geoscientists.

Types of students served

We envision our program to attract students seeking specific professional geoscience skills and options for internships, employment or transfer to a four-year school to pursue an advanced degree.

Program Goals

The goals of this program are as follows:

The student learning outcomes are in development as we continue to meet with faculty, professional groups and prospective employers

Specific Outcomes for the Geoscience Technician:


The learning goals were informed by the following resources:

Resources used to compile the learning outcomes include those found at similar departments and discussion with the US Geological Survey.

How program goals are assessed

The Geoscience Technician program, though very much in the developmental stages, has already placed seven students at the US Geological Survey in summer internship positions during 2012; three of the students remain at the Survey in part-time employment status as they continue their education. The USGS internship program has gone through a revision in 2013 and summer intern positions have yet to be finalized.

Design features that allow goals to be met

The college supports nine regional campuses plus an Extended (Online) Learning Institute. There are eight full-time geology faculty across four campuses. We teach a variety of geoscience courses that offer non-majors a choice in fulfilling their lab science credit. Our curriculum includes several non-traditional (for a community college) geoscience courses for majors that transfer as undergraduate core curriculum courses in mineralogy and paleontology.

Courses and Sequencing

Diagram of course sequencing and requirements

Geoscience Technology Curriculum Plan (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 18kB May7 13)

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