Geology (BS)

To see more about what you will learn in this program, visit the Learning Outcomes website!

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Geology is offered in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Geological science — or Earth science — is a broad and interdisciplinary field that encompasses other disciplines such as biology, chemistry, math, and physics. Knowledge of Earth processes provides a critical framework for the assessment of resources, geologic hazards, and environmental stewardship. Many geologists work in the petroleum or natural gas exploration industry or in the mineral industry. Many other geoscientists find work related to natural hazards (e.g., earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides), as geologists on some of the world’s largest engineering projects (dams, tunnels, bridges, tall buildings), in the geothermal and alternative energy sectors, in the remediation of hazardous waste and groundwater pollution control, and in the field of environmental rehabilitation (e.g., stream restoration). Geoscientists work across industries — from Fortune 100 companies to small environmental consulting and law firms, state agencies and nonprofit organizations. Many others are employed in the education sector including at universities, community colleges and high schools.

For more information about our geology program, visit our website.


Maggie Puryear
Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs

Plan Requirements

Orientation/Computer Literacy
COS 100Science of Change 12
Computer Science Option3
Writing and Speaking
COM 110Public Speaking3
ENG 101Academic Writing and Research 24
Select one of the following:3
Communication for Engineering and Technology
Communication for Business and Management
Communication for Science and Research
Mathematics and Natural Sciences
MA 131Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A 23-4
or MA 141 Calculus I
MA 231Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B 23-4
or MA 241 Calculus II
CH 101Chemistry - A Molecular Science 23
CH 102General Chemistry Laboratory1
CH 201Chemistry - A Quantitative Science3
CH 202Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory1
Select one of the following: 24
Physics for Engineers and Scientists I
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists I Laboratory
College Physics I
Select one of the following:4
Physics for Engineers and Scientists II
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists II Laboratory
College Physics II
Geology Core Courses
MEA 100Earth System Science: Exploring the Connections4
MEA 101Geology I: Physical 33-4
or MEA 140 Catastrophic Earth
or MEA 150 Environmental Issues in Water Resources
or MEA 200 Introduction to Oceanography
MEA 110Geology I Laboratory1
MEA 202Geology II: Historical3
MEA 211Geology II Laboratory1
MEA 410Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology4
MEA 450Introductory Sedimentology and Stratigraphy4
MEA 451Structural Geology4
MEA 465Geologic Field Camp4
MEA 466Preparatory Course for Field Camp1
MEA 495Junior Seminar in the Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences1
Restricted Electives
Surface Processes Elective (choose one):3
Marine Sediment Transport
Field Investigation of Coastal Processes
Geomorphology: Earth's Dynamic Surface
Applied Earth Science Elective (choose one):3
Environmental Geology
Geochemistry of Natural Waters
Exploration and Engineering Geophysics
Introduction to Hydrogeology
Restricted Earth Science Elective6
Math/Science Option6
Advised Electives
Advised Electives 413
GEP Courses
GEP Humanities6
GEP Social Sciences6
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 52
GEP Additional Breadth (Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts)3
GEP U.S. Diversity (verify requirement)
GEP Global Knowledge (verify requirement)
Foreign Language Proficiency (verify requirement)
Free Electives
Free Electives (12 Hr S/U Lmt) 65
Total Hours120

Computer Science Option

GIS 280Introduction to GIS3
or MA 116 Introduction to Scientific Programming (Math)
or CSC 112 Introduction to Computing-FORTRAN
or CSC 113 Introduction to Computing - MATLAB
or CSC 116 Introduction to Computing - Java
or CSC 200

Restricted Earth Science Electives

MEA 300Environmental Geology4
MEA 323Geochemistry of Natural Waters3
MEA 369Life on Earth: Principles of Paleontology3
MEA 411Marine Sediment Transport3
MEA 415Climate Dynamics3
MEA 440Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology4
MEA 459Field Investigation of Coastal Processes5
MEA 470Introduction to Geophysics3
MEA 471Exploration and Engineering Geophysics3
MEA 481Geomorphology: Earth's Dynamic Surface3
MEA 485Introduction to Hydrogeology3

 Math/Science Option

BIO 181Introductory Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity4
BIO 183Introductory Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology4
BIO 310Quantitative Approaches to Biological Problems3
BIO 315General Parasitology3
BIO 325Paleontological Field Methods4
BIO 330Evolutionary Biology3
BIO 361Developmental Biology3
BIO 370Developmental Anatomy of the Vertebrates3
BIO 375Developmental Anatomy Laboratory2
BIO 405Functional Histology3
BIO 414Cell Biology3
BIO 416Cancer Cell Biology3
BIO 418Cell Biology Research Lab2
BIO 424Endocrinology3
BIO 432Evolutionary Medicine3
BIO 434Hormones and Behavior3
BIO 440The Human Animal: An Evolutionary Perspective3
BIO 444The Biology of Love and Sex3
BIO 481Senior Capstone Project1
BIO 482Capstone Course in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology3
BIO 483Capstone Course in Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology3
BIO 484Capstone Course in Human Biology3
BIO 485Capstone Course in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology3
BIO 488Neurobiology3
BIO 498Honors Project Part I3
BIO 499Honors Project Part 23
BSC 492Professional Experience
BSC 493Research Experience
BSC 495Special Topics in Biological Sciences
CH 220Introductory Organic Chemistry3
CH 221Organic Chemistry I3
CH 222Organic Chemistry I Lab1
CH 315Quantitative Analysis3
CH 316Quantitative Analysis Laboratory1
CH 331Introductory Physical Chemistry4
CH/PSE 335Principles of Green Chemistry4
CH 345Chemistry and War3
CH 401Systematic Inorganic Chemistry I3
CH 403Systematic Inorganic Chemistry II3
CH 415Analytical Chemistry II3
CH 431Physical Chemistry I3
CH 433Physical Chemistry II3
CH 435Introduction to Quantum Chemistry3
CH 437Physical Chemistry for Engineers4
CH 441Forensic Chemistry3
CH 442Advanced Synthetic Techniques4
CH 444Advanced Synthetic Techniques II4
CH 452Advanced Measurement Techniques I4
CH 454Advanced Measurement Techniques II4
CH 463/563Molecular Origins of Life3
CH 495Special Topics in Chemistry1-4
CH 499Undergraduate Research in Chemistry1-3
MA 242Calculus III4
MA 302Numerical Applications to Differential Equations1
MA 303Linear Analysis3
MA 305Introductory Linear Algebra and Matrices3
MA/MEA 315Mathematics Methods in Atmospheric Sciences4
MA 325Introduction to Applied Mathematics3
MA 331Differential Equations for the Life Sciences3
MA/LOG 335Symbolic Logic3
MA 341Applied Differential Equations I3
MA 351Introduction to Discrete Mathematical Models3
MA 401Applied Differential Equations II3
MA 402Mathematics of Scientific Computing3
MA 403Introduction to Modern Algebra3
MA 405Introduction to Linear Algebra3
MA 407Introduction to Modern Algebra for Mathematics Majors3
MA 408Foundations of Euclidean Geometry3
MA 410Theory of Numbers3
MA 412Long-Term Actuarial Models3
MA 413Short-Term Actuarial Models3
MA/CSC 416Introduction to Combinatorics3
MA 421Introduction to Probability3
MA 425Mathematical Analysis I3
MA 426Mathematical Analysis II3
MA/CSC 427Introduction to Numerical Analysis I3
MA/CSC 428Introduction to Numerical Analysis II3
MA 430Mathematical Models in the Physical Sciences3
MA 432Mathematical Models in Life Sciences3
MA 437Applications of Algebra3
MA 440Game Theory3
MA 444Problem Solving Strategies for Competitions1
MA 450Methods of Applied Mathematics I3
MA 451Methods of Applied Mathematics II3
MA 491Reading in Honors Mathematics1-6
MA 493Special Topics in Mathematics1-6
MA 494Major Paper in Math1
MA 499Independent Research in Mathematics1-6
PY 301Introduction to Quantum Mechanics3
PY 328Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics3
PY 341Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology3
PY 401Quantum Physics I3
PY 402Quantum Physics II3
PY 407Introduction to Modern Physics3
PY 411Mechanics I3
PY 412Mechanics II3
PY 413Thermal Physics3
PY 414Electromagnetism I3
PY 415Electromagnetism II3
PY 452Advanced Physics Laboratory3
PY/ECE/MSE 489Solid State Solar and Thermal Energy Harvesting3
PY 495Special Topics in Physics1-4
PY 499Independent Research in Physics1-6
ST 307Introduction to Statistical Programming- SAS1
ST 308Introduction to Statistical Programming - R1
ST 311Introduction to Statistics3
ST 312Introduction to Statistics II3
ST/BUS 350Economics and Business Statistics3
ST 370Probability and Statistics for Engineers3
ST 371Introduction to Probability and Distribution Theory3
ST 372Introduction to Statistical Inference and Regression3
ST 380Probability and Statistics for the Physical Sciences3
ST 401Experiences in Data Analysis4
ST 405Applied Nonparametric Statistics3
ST/GPH 404Epidemiology and Statistics in Global Public Health3
ST 412Long-Term Actuarial Models3
ST 413Short-Term Actuarial Models3
ST 421Introduction to Mathematical Statistics I3
ST 422Introduction to Mathematical Statistics II3
ST 430Introduction to Regression Analysis3
ST 431Introduction to Experimental Design3
ST 432Introduction to Survey Sampling3
ST 433Applied Spatial Statistics 3
ST 434Applied Time Series3
ST 435Statistical Methods for Quality and Productivity Improvement3
ST 437Applied Multivariate and Longitudinal Data Analysis 3
ST 440Applied Bayesian Analysis3
ST/CSC 442Introduction to Data Science3
ST 445Introduction to Statistical Computing and Data Management3
ST 446Intermediate SAS Programming with Applications3
ST 491Statistics in Practice3
ST 495Special Topics in Statistics1-6
ST 497Professional Experience in Statistics1-3
ST 498Independent Study In Statistics1-6
ST 499Research Experience in Statistics1-3

Semester Sequence

This is a sample.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterHours
MEA 100 Earth System Science: Exploring the Connections 2 4
MA 141
Calculus I 2
or Calculus for Life and Management Sciences A
MEA 101 Geology I: Physical 2 3
MEA 110 Geology I Laboratory 2 1
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
COS 100 Science of Change 1 2
Spring Semester
CH 101 Chemistry - A Molecular Science 2 3
CH 102 General Chemistry Laboratory 2 1
ENG 101 Academic Writing and Research 2 4
MA 241
Calculus II 2
or Calculus for Life and Management Sciences B
MEA 202 Geology II: Historical 2 3
MEA 211 Geology II Laboratory 2 1
Second Year
Fall Semester
Math/Science Option 2 3
MEA 410 Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology 2 4
Select one of the following: 2 4
Physics for Engineers and Scientists I
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists I Laboratory 2
College Physics I 2  
CH 201 Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 2 3
CH 202 Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory 2 1
Spring Semester
Computer Science Option 3
MEA 450 Introductory Sedimentology and Stratigraphy 2 4
Select one of the following: 2 4
Physics for Engineers and Scientists II
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists II Laboratory
College Physics II  
GEP Social Sciences 3
Third Year
Fall Semester
Math/Science Option 2 3
MEA 451 Structural Geology 2 4
Restricted Earth Science Elective 2 3
Free Elective 6 2
GEP Social Sciences 3
Spring Semester
Advanced Writing Elective 3
Advised Elective 4 3
COM 110 Public Speaking 3
MEA 466 Preparatory Course for Field Camp 2 1
MEA 495 Junior Seminar in the Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences 2 1
Surface Processes Elective 2 3
MEA 465 Geologic Field Camp 2 4
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
Applied Earth Science Elective 2 3
Advised Elective 4 4
GEP Humanities 3
GEP Additional Breadth (Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts) 3
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 5 1
Spring Semester
Advised Elective 4 3
Advised Elective 4 3
Restricted Earth Science Elective 2 3
GEP Humanities 3
Free Elective 6 3
 Total Hours120

Career Opportunities

MEAS undergraduate degree programs provide talented students with the foundation of scientific knowledge required for careers in government, industry, or academia. Many students pursue graduate degrees and pursue careers in industry, at government agencies and in academia.

Marine Sciences graduates go on to become oceanographers, to manage our coastal resources, model air-sea interaction, and explore global climate change. They conduct basic and applied research, serving as environmental consultants for industry and governmental agencies, policy and management experts for governmental agencies, and environmental science educators. Graduates with a Natural Resources degree are versed in the fundamental processes and interdisciplinary nature of the coastal zone. As scientists, managers, administrators, and regulators, they make decisions regarding use and conservation of coastal and marine resources.

Geology graduates address society’s needs for dealing effectively with earth processes, such as water resources and the stability of land forms. They work for engineering firms, permit-issuing agencies, and industries that rely on geological resources. Historical geologists are familiar with the evolution of earth through time and provide a perspective on potential long-term reactions of the earth systems to change. Those who concentrate in Environmental Geology are trained to assess and monitor geological resources such as ground water. Marine geologists are experts in the complex issues facing industry, municipalities, and residents in the dynamic and ecologically vulnerable coastal zone.

Meteorology graduates enjoy careers in weather forecasting, air quality assessment, development of weather products and services, broadcast communications, and advanced research. Marine meteorologists study ocean-generated weather systems. Their research is yielding practical benefits such as refined prediction of storm surge, which has streamlined evacuation efforts during severe storms along the Carolina coast. Meteorology graduates with an air quality emphasis work for environmental firms, regulatory agencies, and in applied research. Study of air quality and how air pollution is transported and dispersed is a rapidly expanding field in the atmospheric sciences.

MEAS graduates play a key service role for the State of North Carolina, assisting in everything from forecasting severe storms and analyzing the impact of atmospheric pollutants on agriculture and our estuaries, to determining the effects of toxic waste disposal on quality of surface and ground water.