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The Major Program

Major Programs. See Geology, Marine and Coastal Science, and Natural Sciences.

Courses. See courses listed under Geology.

Geology Major Programs

"Civilization exists by geological consent—subject to change without notice."—Will Durant

Geology is the study of the Earth, and in particular its history, structure, and the processes that have molded our planet and its biosphere. Geology involves the origin of continents and ocean basins, earthquakes and volcanoes, variations in global climate, and how these physical changes impact the evolution of life. All of these planetary processes are viewed through the prism of "deep time," a perspective unique to geologists and one that distinguishes geology from most of the other physical sciences.

A significant component of geology is oriented toward the interaction between humans and the Earth. This aspect includes the study of resources such as minerals, oil, and water; identification and mitigation of Earth hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, and volcanic eruptions; identification and mitigation of polluted ground water; land use planning; and the study of ancient and modern climate change.

The Program. Students interested in becoming professional geologists or continuing their geological studies at the graduate level should choose the Bachelor of Science degree program. The Bachelor of Arts program is for students interested in an interdisciplinary program of study, or who plan to go into pre-college teaching. Both programs allow students to emphasize an aspect of the field of particular interest to them. The upper division electives are not restricted to geology courses but must be chosen to provide a relevant, coherent, and in-depth program of study. Transfer students should have completed as much as possible of the preparatory subject matter listed below.

Internships and Career Alternatives. In recent years in California, the largest employers of geologists have been environmental and geotechnical consulting firms, with oil companies, research laboratories and government agencies also providing opportunities. Students graduating with a Bachelor's degree may get entry-level positions in the private sector or they may go on to attain their teaching credential to fill the growing need for science teachers at all pre-college levels. A Master's degree is the most versatile professional level degree, and a Ph.D. is generally required for research and academic positions. Internships are strongly encouraged for undergraduates and are a means of exploring potential career opportunities that can lead to positions after graduation. UC Davis students have interned at the California Division of Mines and Geology, the State Department of Water Resources, CAL-EPA, and various consulting firms.

Education Abroad Options. The department strongly encourages interested students to pursue a portion of their studies abroad. Within the constraints of the campus and College residence requirements, it is possible for students to complete significant portions of the Geology major at an international institution provided that the student consults with one of the undergraduate advisers and carefully plans a course of study abroad that will complement their coursework at Davis. In recent years, UC Davis Geology majors have spent their junior or senior years completing upper division coursework at EAP partner institutions in New Zealand, Ghana, Chile, and the United Kingdom.

Natural Sciences Major Program

Committee in Charge

Tessa Hill, Ph.D. (Earth and Planetary Sciences)
Susan Keen, Ph.D. (Evolution and Ecology)
J. Richard Pomeroy, Ph.D. (Education)
Neil Schore, Ph.D. (Chemistry)
David Webb, Ph.D. (Physics)

The Major Program

Natural Sciences is an interdisciplinary major that provides significant breadth in biology, chemistry, earth sciences, physics and mathematics while offering additional depth in two of the natural sciences. It is especially designed to meet the needs of prospective science teachers, but will also serve students who wish to acquire training in more than one science. The major is sponsored by the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

The Program. The Natural Sciences curriculum offers an unusually broad training in science and mathematics. All students must complete a one year sequence in calculus, a course in statistics and one year sequences in chemistry, earth science, life science and physics. Each student will complete depth courses in two of these sciences. Prospective teachers may use these depth courses as preparation for primary and supplementary teaching credentials in science. Students who might wish to prepare for a teaching credential program should consult an advisor at their first opportunity in order to combine the prerequisites with General Education requirements.

Career Alternatives. Students whose goals include business, journalism, law, or medicine may acquire a broad background in science through this curriculum. The study of natural sciences also prepares a student to meet the subject matter requirements for primary and supplementary science teaching credentials in California. Students who might wish to become a teacher should consult an advisor in the CalTeach/Mathematics and Science Teaching Program (CalTeach/MAST, http://mast.ucdavis.edu) at their first opportunity. CalTeach/MAST advisors can help students combine the prerequisites for a credential program with General Education requirements. The program also offers seminars that give participants experience in elementary, middle school, and high school classrooms.

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Updated: March 22, 2017 10:38 AM