Initial Publication Date: February 10, 2014

BS Geology, California State University, Bakersfield

Information for this profile was provided by Dirk Baron, California State University, Bakersfield. Information is also available on the program website. Students in this program are pursuing a bachelors degree.

Program Design & Assessment


The BS Geology is a traditional undergraduate degree in Geology preparing students to work as professional geologists or pursue graduate studies. The department also offers a BA Geology that does not require calculus and field camp and prepares students for careers such as teaching and a MS Geology

Strengths of this program

Focus on the applied areas of petroleum geology and hydrogeology which offer excellent employment opportunities in the region.

Research participation and internship opportunities for students.

Multiple scholarship opportunities.

Types of students served
Students are primarily from the region and reflect its demographics. This is a rapidly growing area of California, generally characterized by low educational attainment and low income. It has a large and fast-growing minority population from groups underrepresented in the sciences and a low college-going rate, many students are first-generation college students. Of the 8,520 students matriculated at CSUB in fall 2012, 53% were from groups underrepresented in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics, with Hispanics at 45% the largest group, and African Americans and Native Indians making up another 8%.

Most Geology majors are from four groups: 1) Students entering directly from high school as geology majors. This group has been growing significantly in recent years. In fall 2013, there were 33 new freshmen geology majors. 2) Students who become interested in geology through an introductory geology class that they take for the general education program. We teach a class for the freshmen in the university's honors program which inspires a number of top students to become geology majors. 3) Students who change majors after a number of years at the university, sometimes even with a degree in another field already. 4) Community college transfers. We are working with our local community colleges to improve advising so students enter our program with the appropriate math, chemistry and physics background.

About 40 percent of geology majors are from underrepresented groups, close to the percentage in the university overall.

Program Goals

The goals of this program are as follows:
To provide an outstanding education for our majors in preparation for the diverse career opportunities available to them and to provide the local community with a substantive expertise to help solve problems critical to the future development of our service region.

The learning goals were informed by the following resources:
Input from the community. The program was originally a more broad-based BS in Earth Science. In the mid 1980s the program was changed to a more focused traditional Geology degree to better serve the needs of employers in the community.

How program goals are assessed
We keep track of employment and graduate school acceptance of graduates.

Design features that allow goals to be met:
One useful feature is the required capstone field camp course. We are too small to offer our own field camp. Therefore, our students attend field camps from other universities. They are evaluated by faculty from other universities and compared to their peers from other programs. We feel that our students' performance in field camp is a meaningful indicator of the quality of our program.

Alumni Careers

Graduation rate
The number of majors has increased dramatically in recent years. It increased from 27 undergraduates in 2007 to over 100 majors at present. We believe this increase is due to a number of factors including increased K-12 outreach efforts and excellent employment opportunities for graduates.

Careers pursued by our alumni
Most of our graduates work in the petroleum industry, others in in the environmental/water resources field or pursue graduate studies.

Courses and Sequencing

Diagram of course sequencing and requirements

Entry into the degree
General Education courses
Geol 100 How the Earth Works
Geol 110 Our Oceans
Geol 120 Dangerous Earth (also offered as an Honors class)

Introductory Classes for majors
Geol 201 Physical Geology
Geol 204 Historical Geology
Geol 205 Environmental Geology

Core Courses
Physical Geology
Historical Geology
Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
Structural Geology
Geochemistry or Geophysics
Senior Field Seminar
Field Camp

Elective courses and Requirements
Petroleum Geology
Environmental Geochemistry
Research Participation
15 units, 3 quarter classes

Field Camp

Supporting Science and Math Courses
Calculus I and II
Physics I and II
Chemistry I and II

Other key features of this program:

Supporting Materials

Enrollment Growth in CSUB Geology Programs 2006 - 2013 (Acrobat (PDF) 52kB Feb10 14)
Fall 2012 Department Newsletter (Acrobat (PDF) 3.6MB Feb10 14)
Fall 2013 Department Newsletter (Acrobat (PDF) 1.4MB Feb10 14)