case western reserve university

Department of Geological Sciences

Undergraduate Programs
Major Program
Spring Break Field TripStudents in the geological sciences obtain a solid background in basic science and mathematics as well as intensive training in the major. In addition, because of the wide variety of ways in which geologic knowledge can be applied, all students are encouraged to take electives in subjects appropriate to their personal objectives, which may be as diverse as the engineering applications of geology or the socioeconomic and legal systems bearing on environmental issues. The undergraduate programs stress practical experience and field work as well as classroom study. The environmental geology major combines courses in geological sciences with courses in basic and applied sciences to provide students with an understanding of environmental problems, with employable skills, and with a background for graduate study or professional school. All students participate in a three-semester Senior Project sequence in which they propose a research project, conduct the research, write a thesis, and present it to the Department.
Geological Sciences Major
The minimum requirements set by the department include 8 hours each of chemistry, physics, and calculus, plus any one of GEOL 101, 110, and 115, plus GEOL 119, 210, 301, 315, 317, 341, 344, 360, 390, 391, and 392. GEOL 360 provides comprehensive field training in the summer between the junior and senior years (this course necessitates transfer credit, which must be approved by the department).
Environmental Geology Major
The minimum requirements set by the department include 8 hours each of chemistry and calculus, plus BIOL 110, ESTD 101, PHYS 115, and STAT 201, plus GEOL 110, 119, 210, 220, 303, 305, 317, 321, 390, 391, and 392
In the above majors, the student and his or her advisor will design the remainder of the curriculum based on individual interests, consonant with departmental and college requirements. An integrated undergraduate-graduate program leading to a master's degree in five years is available. Special programs, such as interdisciplinary majors, also may be arranged.
Minor in Geological Sciences
Students may complete a minor in geological sciences by taking up to three of GEOL 101, 110, 115, and 117, plus GEOL 119 and sufficient upper level GEOL courses to total 15 hours.
Major in Environmental Studies
The Department also houses Environmental Studies, which is offered only as a second major. Environmental Studies is a multidisciplinary program that introduces students to the societal determinants and implications of environmental problems. Emphasis is given to the moral, cultural and political dimensions of environmental problems and solutions. It brings to bear the issues and methods of the humanities and social sciences as well as the sciences and professions on environmental questions. The program is designed to serve the needs of students seeking a liberal education as well as those who desire a broad intellectual base for more technical training in environmental sciences. Students in Environmental Studies can pursue a major, a minor, or Case Core sequence. The Environmental Studies program offers a major (30 credit hours) leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. However, it may be elected only as a second major. The double major is required so that the multidisciplinary perspective offered by the program may be complemented by a concentrated disciplinary major. To declare the major, students should have declared a first major and have sophomore or junior standing. Up to six credits in required and elective courses taken by students for their first major may be applied to their environmental studies major. None of the required courses may be taken pass/no pass.
The required courses are:
  • ESTD 101. Introduction to Environmental Thinking
  • ESTD 398. Environmental Seminar

and one course from each of the three following areas of emphasis:

  • HSTY 327. Comparative Environmental History
  • HSTY 378. History of the American Environment
  • PHIL 314. Animal Cognition and Consciousness
Social Policy
  • ECON 368. Environmental Economics
  • GEOL 303 (POSC 303). Environmental Law
Science and Engineering
  • BIOL 351. Principles of Ecology
  • GEOL 220. Environmental Geology
  • EECS 342. Introduction to Global Issues

At least 15 credit hours must be taken from a list of approved electives. This list will change from time to time as departmental offerings change. An approved Washington Semester internship may be used to satisfy part or all of the elective requirement. Students should consult with the program director (Prof. Peter McCall) for current information. All student programs must be approved by the director.


The minor in the College of Arts and Sciences (15 credit hours) consists of ESTD 101, one course from two of the three disciplinary groups above, and two of the approved electives, which may include courses from the third unselected disciplinary grouping.


The sequence in environmental studies in the Case School of Engineering consists of 9 credit hours comprising ESTD 101 and two courses from the above disciplinary list.

Degree Program Documents

Comparison of Geology Major Programs

Geological Sciences BS Sample Program of Study - Even-Year - Odd-Year

Geological Sciences BA Sample Program of Study - Even-Year - Odd-Year

Environmental Geology BA Sample Program of Study - Even-Year - Odd-Year