Initial Publication Date: June 11, 2015

Geosciences, SUNY at Buffalo

Information for this profile was provided by Tracy K.P. Gregg in 2009. Information is also available on the department's undergraduate programs web page. SUNY at Buffalo is a University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs. Students in this program are pursuing a BS degree.

Program Design & Assessment


Our standard B.S. degree is intended for students who wish to pursue graduate studies in geoscience. We grant the following degrees:
  • B.A. (intended primarily for those interested in education, or in a general liberal arts degree)
  • B.S. (intended for those interested in pursuing Geology as a carreer)
  • B.A./M.A. (combined degree, intended for those interested in going into geological industrial careers or teaching)
  • M.A. (originally intended to attract teachers)
  • M.S.
  • Ph.D.

Most of our undergraduates are in the B.S. program; most of our graduate students are in the M.S. program.

Strengths of this program

This program was designed to meet the standard needs of a general geology program, and was consciously designed for the student who intends to pursue geology after graduation. The B.S. degree program was created first, and for many years, was the only undergraduate degree offered by the department. The B.A. was designed as a conscious effort to attract more undergraduate majors, as was the combined B.A./M.A. degree program.

Types of students served

Program Goals

The goals of this program are as follows:

  1. Prepare students for graduate programs in Geology;
  2. Prepare students for careers in the Geological industries;
  3. Provide a series of courses that can be taught at both graduate and undergraduate levels

The learning goals were informed by the following resources:

How program goals are assessed

Primarily, we rely on informal exit interviews with students, and in their reactions and continued communications with us after they have graduated.

Design features that allow goals to be met

Alumni Careers

Graduation rate

Careers pursued by our alumni

Courses and Sequencing

Diagram of course sequencing and requirements

Entry into the program

  • Global Environmental Science 1 & 2
  • Evolution of Earth and the Solar System 1 & 2

Core courses

  • Geological Mapping Techniques
  • Soft Rock: Sedimentology/Paleontology/Stratigraphy (2 semesters)
  • Mineralogy/Petrology (2 semesters)
  • Surface Processes and Hydrology (2 semesters)
  • Structure/Geophysics/Tectonics (2 semesters)
  • Geological Field Training (Prerequisite: Structure/Geophysics/Tectonics)


Students are required to take 6 credits (usually 2 courses) of electives, selected from the following list:
  • Comparative Paleobiology
  • Advanced Ecology (Prerequisite: Ecology)
  • Marine Ecology (Prerequisite: Ecology)
  • Field Course in Tropical Marine Ecology (Prerequisite: Sed/Paleo/Strat or Ecology)
  • Hydrogeology (Prerequisite: Hydrology)
  • Clay Mineralogy (Prerequisite: Mineralogy)
  • Stable Isotopes and the Environment (Prerequisite: Geochemistry)
  • Environmental Geophysics (Prerequisite: Structure/Tectonics/Geophysics)
  • The Hidden Planet: Volcanic Plumbing (Prerequisite: Petrology)
  • Extraterrestrial Volcanism (Prerequisite: Petrology)
  • Modeling of Geologic Data
  • Geological Disaster Prevention
  • Analysis of Geologic Data
  • Volcanology (Prerequisite: Petrology)
  • Colonial Paleobiology
  • Pyroclastic Rocks (Prerequisite: Volcanology)
  • Methods in Volcanology
  • Geophysics (Prerequisite: Structure/Tectonics/Geophysics)
  • Marine Geology (Prerequisite: Sed/Paleo/Strat and Petrology)
  • Surfaces of Geomaterials (Prerequisite: Mineralogy)
  • Glacial Geology
  • Quaternary Dating and Paleoclimate (Prerequisite: Surface Processes & Hydrology)
  • Topics in Planetary Geology (Prerequisite: Surface Processes or Petrology)
  • Macroevolution
  • Advanced Geochemistry
  • Environmental Fluid Transport
  • Advanced Field Methods
  • Pegrum Colloquium
  • Departmental Honors Senior Thesis
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Independent Study

Other required courses

  • General Chemistry (2 semesters)
  • Survey of Calculus and its Applications (2 semesters)
  • College Physics (2 semesters)
  • Adv. College Physics (2 semesters)

Other key features of this program:

Most of our elective courses are cross-listed with graduate-level courses. Not all elective courses are taught each year, but most are taught over the course of 2 years.

Supporting Materials

Undergraduate Student Handbook (Acrobat (PDF) 45kB May9 09)

UB Graduate Student Handbook (Acrobat (PDF) 238kB May9 09)