Geological Sciences, SUNY Geneseo

Information for this profile was provided by Dori Farthing in 2009. Information is also available on the program website ( This site may be offline. ) . SUNY Geneseo is a public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate. Students in this program are pursuing a BA degree.

Program Design & Assessment


This is the curriculum that defines the Geological Sciences major at SUNY Geneseo. This program is one of 3 tracks students can follow within the Geological Sciences department. The described curriculum is for the Geological Sciences major. The other options earn students a BA degree in Geochemistry or a BA degree in Geophysics.

Strengths of this program

This is quite a traditional curriculum, providing majors with a strong background in the geological sciences as well as the other sciences. The capstone Seminar course is one of the most effective aspects of the program. Students are given the opportunity to see how their courses might apply to actual geological research. This seminar also provides students the opportunity to learn and hone skills that are valuable in the workplace and graduate school environment.

Types of students served

Program Goals

The goals of this program are as follows:

Our department wanted a curriculum that would provide a firm foundation for students who enter graduate school or the workforce (usually in the environmental field) after graduation. The Geological Sciences degree is heavily grounded in the traditional fields of geology because we believe that these areas offer important skill sets to our students. Our course offerings reflect those that are considered central to a comprehensive geology curriculum by the American Geological Institute. Our curriculum also incorporates fieldwork and exposure to analytical equipment in many of the required major courses (including the capstone seminar). One of the benefits of our program is that the curriculum allows freedom for students to concentrate on areas of geology that interest them and also provides ample opportunities for students to pursue self-initiated research projects (through directed studies).

The learning goals were informed by the following resources:

How program goals are assessed

Assessment of this curriculum is done through a variety of methods. At present determining the success of our majors after graduating best assesses our program. ~70% of our graduates enter graduate programs and others enter the work force (often as teachers or in the environmental field). To lesser extents, assessment is based upon the quality of the graduate programs our students enter, the rate of completion of advanced degrees, and by word-of-mouth requests we receive from graduate advisors for more of our students. Within the program, we assess how well students have grasped fundamental concepts through the capstone seminar course.

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

  • Geological Sciences I
  • Our Geologic Environment (with faculty permission)

Core courses

  • Geological Sciences II
  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology (Prerequisite: Mineralogy)
  • Geomorphology (Prerequisite: Geological Sciences II)
  • Principles of Structural Geology (Prerequisite: Geological Sciences II)
  • Stratigraphy (Prerequisite: Geological Sciences II)
  • Invertebrate Paleontology (Prerequisite: Geological Sciences II)
  • + 3 electives and the capstone course (see below)


Students are required to take 3 courses (a total of 9 semester hours - 9 credits) electives, chosen from the following list:
  • Scientific and Technical Writing in the Geosciences (Prerequisite: Petrology)
  • Principles of Geochemistry (Prerequisite: Petrology)
  • Isotope Geology (Prerequisite: Petrology)
  • Glacial Geology (Prerequisite: Geological Sciences II)
  • Geologic Applications of Remote Sensing Imagery (Prerequisite: Geomorphology)
  • Global Climate Change (Prerequisite: Geological Sciences II)
  • Applied Geophysics (Prerequisites: Petrology, Principles of Structural Geology)
  • Tectonics (Prerequisites: Petrology, Principles of Structural Geology)
  • Groundwater Hydrology (Prerequisite: 15 hours of Geological Sciences)
  • Sedimentation (Prerequisites: Geological Sciences II, Petrology)
  • Advanced Mineralogy and Petrology (Prerequisite: Petrology)
  • Directed Study (Prerequisite: Permission of Department Chair Person)

Other required courses

  • Chemistry I & II
  • Physics I & II
  • Calculus I & II
  • Biology I & II

Note: Calc II and one Bio course can be replaced by the following: statistics, an upper level computer science course, or another course in one of the sciences beyond the listed requirements.


  • Geological Sciences Seminar

Other key features of this program:

Supporting Materials