BA Geoscience Option, Winona State University

Information for this profile was provided by Cathy Summa in 2009.

Jump down to Overview and Context * Program Design * Goals and Assessment * Courses and Sequencing

Overview and Context

Illustration of the Winona State geoscience curriculum, constructed by Monica Bruckner, based on information provided by Cathy Summa. Click on the image to see a larger version.

This program option was designed for students who wish to connect their interest in geoscience with interest in another discipline (of their choice). Students must complete the geoscience major program described below and a minor or second major in another discipline (chemistry, biology, music, art, political science, etc.). To explicitly connect the two disciplines, students are required to complete a research project or internship experience that links the two disciplines. The goal is to prepare students for success in an increasingly interdisciplinary world. This is one of four options available to undergraduates interested in the geosciences.

Program Design

This program was designed to attract students who "like science," or who "like being outdoors," but who don't necessarily expect to work in the discipline, although many recent graduates do continue on. It was designed to offer a more stream-lined pathway through the curriculum, in recognition of the numbers of students who "discover" geoscience late in their college careers. It has appealed to students from disciplines as varied as chemistry or dance, and art or mathematics. It has served to attract students to our programs, some of whom switch majors to any of our other B.S. options, and others of whom are somewhat hesitant about their ability to succeed in science despite their interest in the subject.


Like all our Geoscience major options, we expect that students selecting this option will achieve the learning goals we have established for all Geoscience students.

Courses and Sequencing

Entry into the program

Any introductory geoscience course, including:

  • Astronomy or Astronomy with Laboratory
  • Meteorology or Meteorology with Laboratory
  • Oceanography or Oceanography with Laboratory
  • Dynamic Earth or Dynamic Earth with Laboratory
  • Natural Disasters
  • Minnesota's Rocks and Waters
  • Catastrophes and Extinctions
  • Resources of the Earth
  • Geology of the Mississippi River
  • Geology in the National Parks

Core courses

  • Earth and Life Through Time (Prerequisite: Dynamic Earth or equivalent)
  • Minerals and Rocks (Prerequisite: Dynamic Earth or equivalent)
  • Field & Analytical Methods (Co-requisite: Minerals and Rocks)
  • Watershed Science (Prerequisite: Earth & Life Through Time)
  • Geoscience Seminar (Prerequisite: senior standing in the program)


Students are required to take 11-13 credits (usually 3-4 courses, depending on whether they include laboratories) of electives. Elective choices must include at least one laboratory course (4 S.H.) numbered 300 (junior/senior level) or above. Choices may include one additional course from Geoscience offerings at the 100-level (but may not include Dynamic Earth or Earth and Life Through Time). Summer field camp may substitute for up to 6 hrs of elective credit. Possible electives:

  • Structural Geology OR Sedimentology & Stratigraphy (Prerequisite: Minerals and Rocks and Field Methods)
  • Advanced Geomorphology OR Applied Hydrogeology (Prerequisite: Watershed Science)
  • Directed Research OR Internship (our capstone)


  • Directed Research in Geoscience OR Geoscience Internship

Other required courses

This program requires completion of a minor or second major in another discipline. Exact courses vary widely as a result of student choice. Students are advised to take chemistry and mathematics once in the program, and none has graduated without it, but we do not technically require them to do so. We debated about whether to explicitly require mathematics or other science courses in the program. We decided that we would cover the required elements in the core courses.