Associate of Arts Degree in Geology at Pasadena City College

Information for this profile was provided by David Douglass, Natural Sciences: Geology, Pasadena City College. Information is also available on the program website. Students in this program are pursuing an associate's degree.

Program Design & Assessment


The Associate of Arts Degree in Geology provides a foundation in the physical sciences necessary for continued training at the upper division level for geology majors. It is a starting point for students who are preparing for careers in education, geoscience research, and government, where scientific and technical skills are in great demand.

Strengths of this program

We have a particularly strong field component and focus on rock and mineral identification in hand sample which seems to give our transfer students a leg-up on indigenous 4-year University students.

Types of students served

Our introductory course - Geology 1, serves as a common choice for students obtaining general education credit in the Physical Sciences as well as a gateway course for geology majors. Our campus serves about 34% Asian, 36% Latino, 17% White, 6% African American.

Program Goals

The goals of this program are as follows:

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the physical structure and morphology of the earth and operation of earth systems through the plate tectonic paradigm.
  2. Articulate the general physical and biological history of the Earth through time.
  3. Identify and classify earth materials, and demonstrate an understanding of their chemical make up.

The learning goals were informed by the following resources:

They were faculty generated based on perceived competencies required by 4-year institutions.

How program goals are assessed

Faculty Assess one or more SLO's for each class each semester. This data is used in our Program Review process.

Design features that allow goals to be met

We think the field experience courses are critical as that keeps students engaged in geology while they are taking other core stem courses like calculus, Physics and chemistry. This is often a long row to hoe - especially in math - as 80% of our students come in at developmental math and/or English.

Alumni Careers

Graduation rate

We measure our "majors" by enrollment in Mineralogy... so between 15 and 20 per year. Each semester we enroll about 600 students in the introductory course - Geology 1.

Careers pursued by our alumni

Academia, Engineering / environmental geology.

Courses and Sequencing

Diagram of course sequencing and requirements

Other key features of this program:

In California our new AA-T (Associates of Arts - Transfer) degrees are limited to a total of 60 units including general education requirements. Although students are encouraged to take additional coursework, this severely limits the course offerings in a variety of STEM fields. I have attached the AA-T degree as well.

Supporting Materials

GEOLOGY - AAT degree (Acrobat (PDF) 131kB May8 13)