Mar 29, 2023  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geology B.S.


The Bachelor of Science degree program provides the student with a hands-on foundation in the fundamentals of the geosciences. As a result of faculty interests and geographic locations, several geologic sub-disciplines are emphasized, including applied geophysics, coastal geology, geochemistry, geomorphology, geoscience education, hydrogeology, paleobiology, petrology, and volcanology. However, the wide variety of courses and electives offered by the Geology, Environmental Sciences, and Geography programs within the School of Geosciences provides students with programs of study that can be tailored to fit individual needs while maintaining a sound background in all general aspects of geology.

University Admissions

Admission to the University is based on the University’s Undergraduate Admission Requirements that may be found by clicking on the following urls:

For Admission information specific to the College of Arts & Sciences, see the information at College of Arts and Sciences .

State Mandated Common Course Prerequisites

Students wishing to transfer to USF should complete an A.A. degree at a Florida College System institution. Some courses required for the major may also meet General Education requirements thereby transferring maximum hours to the university.

If a student wishes to transfer without an A.A. degree and has fewer than 60 semester hours of acceptable credit, the student must meet the university’s entering freshman requirements including ACT or SAT test scores, GPA, and course requirements.

Transfer students are also required to comply with the immunization, foreign language, and continuous enrollment policies of the university.

Students should complete the following prerequisite courses at the lower level prior to entering the university. If these courses are not taken at a Florida College System institution, they must be completed before the degree is granted.

Unless stated otherwise, a grade of C is the minimum acceptable grade in prerequisite courses.

  • CHM X045/X045L General Chemistry I (with lab) or CHM X045C or CHM X040/X041
  • CHM X046/X046L General Chemistry II (with lab) or CHM X046C
  • MAC X311 Calculus I or MAC X281
  • GLY X010C Introduction to Physical Geology or GLY X010/X010L
  • (PHY X048C General Physics and Laboratory I and PHY X049C)* or (PHY X048/X048L and PHY X049/X049L) or (PHY X053C and PHY X054C)*

FOR ALL MAJORS: Students are strongly encouraged to select required lower division electives that will enhance their general education coursework and that will support their intended baccalaureate degree program. Students should consult with an academic advisor in their major degree area.

* The choice of Physics sequence depends on the area of Geology specialization.

Historical Geology STRONGLY recommended.

Required Supporting Courses for the Major (25-27 Credit Hours)

The following courses are prerequisite and supporting courses for this major. They are required for the major, but are not counted in the total hours for this major. The degree will not be awarded if these courses have not been taken by the end of the student’s final semester.

Total Major Hours: 47

Major Core (33 Credit Hours)

The Geology B.S. degree requires 47 total credit hours of degree applicable Geology coursework comprising three introductory courses (8 credit hours), six core courses (19 credit hours), the summer field capstone sequence (6 credit hours), and four upper-level electives (14 credit hours). To complete their elective requirements for Geology, students are encouraged to consider courses offered in Geography and Environmental Science and Policy.

Introductory Sequence* (8 Credit Hours)

*Transfer students who have taken GLY 2010C or the equivalent will be deemed to have met the introductory sequence requirements. However, ALL students are strongly encouraged to take GLY 2000L  , as this course will greatly facilitate success in the upper-level offerings

One course, chosen from:

Core Courses (19 Credit Hours)


  • In the event GEO 3280  is not offered in a calendar year, the Undergraduate Advisor may approve GLY 4822C - Hydrogeology  to count in its place.
  • GLY 2010  is a pre-requisite for the required Core Courses.  Students must complete this course prior to beginning the Core Courses sequence as a part of the Introductory sequence.

Capstone Sequence (6 Credit Hours)

The Geology major’s culminating experience capstone is six (6) credit hours of summer field camp broken into three courses of GLY 4948  and GLY 4949 , each taught in two-week increments.

Note: The Geology Major capstone courses do not meet the University’s Capstone Experience requirement.

Field Mapping Requirement

Within the major capstone sequence, at least two (2) hours must be drawn from courses identified by the School of Geosciences as including a substantial field mapping content. Courses that meet this requirement include: Field Geologic Mapping and Field Volcanology. Other field courses may be approved for the filed mapping requirement by the Undergraduate Advisor.

Major Electives (14 Credit Hours)

Students will take 14 credit hours from the following list of courses:

Quantitative Requirement

Of these upper-level electives, at least three (3) hours must be drawn from courses identified by the department as including high-quantitative content. Courses that meet this requirement are indicated with *. Other comparable quantitative offerings in Geology may be approved by the undergraduate advisor.

Optional Geophysics Emphasis

Requirements for the Geology B.S. Major with the optional Geophysics emphasis - The Geophysics Track in Geology indicates advanced mathematics training and requires the following courses.

Note: These course may count towards no more than four (4) credit hours of the 14 elective credit hours required for the B.S. in Geology.

GPA Requirements

Major GPA (All USF courses which are applied to major requirements):  2.0 
General Education GPA (All USF courses which are applied to General Education requirements):   2.0
USF GPA:  2.0
Overall GPA 2.0

Grading Requirements

A C- or better to meet major course requirements unless specified elsewhere. Will vary by area.

Note:  Some USF courses have higher grade criteria to meet prerequisite knowledge necessary for progression into higher level courses.

Residency Requirements

Department and College of Arts & Sciences Major Academic Residency Requirement - 50% of major must be completed at USF.

USF Academic Residency Requirement - 30 of the last 60 hours earned must be from USF.

Optional Honors Program

The purpose of the Honors Program is to provide a select group of undergraduate Geology majors an opportunity to undertake an intensive, individualized research experience. The culmination of the program is the completion and presentation of an honors thesis. To apply, interested students should contact the Geology undergraduate advisor during the second semester of the student’s junior year. Admission to the program requires a GPA of 3.50 in the major and an overall GPA of 3.2.

Research Opportunities

Undergraduate students in any degree program are able to participate in undergraduate research. Several options exist to show mentored undergraduate research activity on a student’s official transcript. Those who wish to enroll in an undergraduate research course should consult with their academic advisor to understand how the credit will apply towards the degree requirements. If no credit is needed, students may be eligible to enroll in the 0-credit IDS 4914 course. This course will not impact degree credits or GPA but will show on an official transcript and document the experience. The Office of Undergraduate Research is able to assist with further inquiries.

Advising Information

USF students schedule advising appointments online through USF Archivum Platform.   Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor each semester to discuss courses planning, degree progression, and career preparation. 

For questions, email

4 Year Plan of Study - Geology B.S.


Potential Entry Level Job Titles:

  • Petroleum and Mining Industries
  • Geologist
  • Environmental Geologist
  • State and Federal Government
  • Environmental Consulting
  • National Laboratories

Potential Entry Level Salary Range:

$45,000 - $55,000

Year 1

Semester 1 (Fall)

Total Credit Hours: 14

Semester 2 (Spring)

Total Credit Hours: 13

Semester 3 (Summer)

Total Credit Hours: 3

Year 2

Semester 4 (Fall)

Total Credit Hours: 14

Semester 6 (Summer)

Please consider pursing High Impact Practice opportunities this semester such as Education Abroad, Internship Opportunities, Community Engagement, or Research Opportunities.

Questions about opportunities? Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor.

Year 3

Year 4

Semester 10 (Fall)

Total Credit Hours: 16

Semester 11 (Spring)

  • Major Elective Credit(s): 4
  • Apply for Graduation
  • Major Elective Credit(s): 4
  • General Elective Credit(s): 4
  • General Elective Credit(s): 3

Total Credit Hours: 15

2 Year Plan of Study - Geology B.S.


Year 1

Semester 1 (Fall)

Total Credit Hours: 13

Semester 2 (Spring)

Total Credit Hours: 14

Year 2

Semester 4 (Fall)

Total Credit Hours: 14

Semester 5 (Spring)

Total Credit Hours: 13