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Please note – our course coding changed in Fall 2020 from GEOL to ERTH in the class schedule and catalog – if you are partway through the program, your ‘GEOL’ coded classes will still apply to your degree.

Major Requirements

Earth science is an unusually broad subject. It addresses everything from the chemical processes that make rocks and minerals to the physics behind plate tectonics and the travel of earthquake shock waves through the planet. It explores the history of the evolution of life revealed in fossils, and it probes the earth processes that affect how humans can survive on the surface of the planet. To address this breadth, the department offers four curricular tracks for a major in geological sciences: geology, geophysics, environmental geoscience, and paleontology.

All of the tracks require a common core of general chemistry, calculus, general geology, and physics, except that paleontology-option students may take biology in place of physics.

Every track includes an introductory geology sequence. See Introductory Sequences above. The courses in each track are divided into three categories: core, additional requirements, electives.

Introductory Sequences

The department offers two introductory sequences. The recommended sequence for majors is Dynamic Planet Earth (ERTH 201), Earth’s Surface and Environment (ERTH 202), History of Life (ERTH 203). The 100-level sequence—Exploring Planet Earth (ERTH 101), Exploring Earth’s Environment (ERTH 102), Exploring Earth History (ERTH 103)—may be substituted if the three courses are passed with grades of mid-B or better.

Minor Requirements

Students with majors in other departments who want a minor in geological sciences must begin with either of the introductory sequences: ERTH 201–203 or ERTH 101–103. In addition, a minimum of 15 credits must be earned in other geological science courses numbered 300–499. Any such geological science courses listed in the UO Catalog may be used to meet this requirement, except that no more than 8 credits in ERTH 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, or 310 may be applied to the minor. Undergraduate minors must take all required courses for letter grades and complete them with grades of C– or better.

Group Requirements

Fourteen geological sciences courses satisfy university science group requirements. See the Core Education Courses section of the Catalog here.

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