Marine Sciences (BS): Geology Concentration

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

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Marine Science may be obtained by selecting one of five concentrations: Biological Oceanography, Chemistry, Geology, Meteorology, or Physics.

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources is available with a concentration in Marine and Coastal Resources.

Marine scientists explore all aspects of the seas and coastal regions, seeking to understand how the oceans, their biological communities, the solid earth and the atmosphere interact. As professionals with interdisciplinary training, marine scientists are needed to advise business, industry and governments on the potential impact of human activities and the wise use of marine resources. Marine scientists work for consulting firms; regulatory agencies; the mass media; business and industry; federal, state and local governments; academic laboratories; research and education organizations; and nonprofit environmental watchdog groups.


For more information about our marine science programs, visit our website or contact:

Maggie Puryear
Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs

Plan Requirements

Core Courses/Marine Science
MEA 100Earth System Science: Exploring the Connections4
MEA 200Introduction to Oceanography3
MEA 210Oceanography Lab1
MEA 250Introduction to Coastal Environments3
MEA 459Field Investigation of Coastal Processes5
MEA 460Principles of Physical Oceanography3
MEA 462Observational Methods and Data Analysis in Marine Physics3
MEA 495Junior Seminar in the Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences1
Geology Concentration
MEA 101Geology I: Physical3
MEA 110Geology I Laboratory1
MEA 202Geology II: Historical3
MEA 211Geology II Laboratory1
MEA 251Introduction to Coastal Environments Laboratory1
MEA 410Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology4
MEA 411Marine Sediment Transport3
MEA 450Introductory Sedimentology and Stratigraphy4
MEA 451Structural Geology4
MEA 570Geological Oceanography3
MEA 470Introduction to Geophysics3
or MEA 471 Exploration and Engineering Geophysics
Advised Elective 4
Select one of the following Restricted Electives:3
Principles of Biological Oceanography
Marine Meteorology
Principles of Chemical Oceanography
Principles of Biological Oceanography
Principles of Chemical Oceanography
Basic Math & Sciences
CH 101Chemistry - A Molecular Science 13
CH 102General Chemistry Laboratory1
CH 201Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 13
CH 202Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory1
PY 205
PY 206
Physics for Engineers and Scientists I
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists I Laboratory 1
PY 208
PY 209
Physics for Engineers and Scientists II
and Physics for Engineers and Scientists II Laboratory
MA 141Calculus I 14
MA 241Calculus II 14
MA 242Calculus III4
Statistics Elective3
Select one of the following Computer Science electives:3
Introduction to Computing: Python
Introduction to Computing-FORTRAN
Introduction to Computing - MATLAB
Introduction to Computing - Java
Introduction to GIS
Introduction to Scientific Computing
College Requirements
COS 100Science of Change 32
ENG 101Academic Writing and Research 14
Select one of the following Advanced Writing courses:3
Communication for Engineering and Technology
Communication for Business and Management
Communication for Science and Research
GEP Courses
GEP Humanities6
GEP Social Sciences6
GEP Health and Exercise Studies2
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)
Total Hours120

Advised Elective

AEC 360Ecology4
AEC 380Water Resources: Global Issues in Ecology, Policy, Management, and Advocacy3
AEC 400Applied Ecology3
AEC 419Freshwater Ecology4
AEC 420Introduction to Fisheries Science3
AEC 423Introduction to Fisheries Sciences Laboratory1
AEC 424Marine Fisheries Ecology3
AEC 441Biology of Fishes3
AEC 442Biology of Fishes Laboratory1
AEC 460Field Ecology and Methods4
ANS 330Laboratory Animal Science3
ANS 415Comparative Nutrition3
ANS 454/554Lactation, Milk and Nutrition3
ANT 371Human Variation3
BCH 351General Biochemistry
BCH 452Introductory Biochemistry Laboratory
BCH 453/553Biochemistry of Gene Expression
BCH 454Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory
BCH 455/555Proteins and Molecular Mechanisms
BIO 315General Parasitology
BIO 330Evolutionary Biology
BIO 361Developmental Biology
BIO 370Developmental Anatomy of the Vertebrates
BIO 405Functional Histology
BIO 414Cell Biology
BIO 424Endocrinology
BIO 432Evolutionary Medicine
BIO 434Hormones and Behavior
BIO 440The Human Animal: An Evolutionary Perspective
BIO 444The Biology of Love and Sex
BIO 488/588Neurobiology
BIT 410Manipulation of Recombinant DNA
BIT 462Gene Expression Analysis: Microarrays
BIT 462/562Gene Expression Analysis: Microarrays
BIT 464Protein Purification
BIT 465Real-time PCR Techniques
BIT 466Animal Cell Culture Techniques
BIT 467PCR and DNA Fingerprinting
BIT 468Genome Mapping
BIT 471RNA Interference and Model Organisms
BIT 473Protein Interactions
BIT 474/574Plant Genetic Engineering
BIT 476Applied Bioinformatics
BIT 481Plant Tissue Culture and Transformation
BSC 478Research Fundamentals in Biological Sciences3
COM 436Environmental Communication3
CS 430Advanced Agroecology4
ENT 305Introduction to Forensic Entomology3
ENT 402Forest Entomology3
ENT 425General Entomology3
ES 300Energy and Environment3
ES 400Analysis of Environmental Issues3
FOR 402Forest Entomology3
FS 301Introduction to Human Nutrition3
FS 401/501Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism3
FS 405/505Food Microbiology3
FS 406/506Food Microbiology Lab1
FW 444/544Mammalogy
FW 465/565African Ecology and Conservation
GN 301Genetics in Human Affairs
GN 311Principles of Genetics
GN 312Elementary Genetics Laboratory
GN 421/521Molecular Genetics
GN 423Population, Quantitative and Evolutionary Genetics
GN 425Advanced Genetics Laboratory
GN 427Introductory Bioinformatics
GN 434Genes and Development
GN 441/541Human and Biomedical Genetics
GN 451Genome Science
GN 456Epigenetics, Development, and Disease
GN 461Advanced Bioinformatics
IDS 303Humans and the Environment
MA 331Differential Equations for the Life Sciences
MA 432Mathematical Models in Life Sciences
MB 351General Microbiology
MB 352General Microbiology Laboratory
MB 354Inquiry-Guided Microbiology Lab
MB 405/505Food Microbiology
MB 406/506Food Microbiology Lab
MB 411Medical Microbiology
MB 412Medical Microbiology Laboratory
MB 414Microbial Metabolic Regulation
MB 420/520Fundamentals of Microbial Cell Biotransformations
MB 435/535Bacterial Pathogenesis
MB 441Immunology
MB 451Microbial Diversity
MB 452Microbial Diversity Lab
MB 455Microbial Biotechnology
MB 461Molecular Virology
MB 470Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases
MEA 300Environmental Geology
MEA 369Life on Earth: Principles of Paleontology
NR 303Humans and the Environment
NR 406Conservation of Biological Diversity
NTR 301Introduction to Human Nutrition
NTR 401/501Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism
NTR 410/510Maternal and Infant Nutrition
NTR 415/515Comparative Nutrition
NTR 419Human Nutrition and Chronic Disease
NTR 421/521Life Cycle Nutrition
NTR 454Lactation, Milk and Nutrition
PB 321Introduction to Whole Plant Physiology
PB 360Ecology
PB 403/503Systematic Botany
PB 421Plant Physiology
PB 480/580Introduction to Plant Biotechnology
PB 481Plant Tissue Culture and Transformation
PO 404/404Avian Anatomy and Physiology
PO 415/515Comparative Nutrition
PO 466/566Animal Cell Culture Techniques
PP 315Principles of Plant Pathology4
SSC 332Environmental Soil Microbiology
TOX 401/501Principles of Toxicology
TOX 415Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
ZO 317Primate Ecology and Evolution
ZO 333Captive Animal Biology
ZO 350Animal Phylogeny and Diversity
ZO 402Invertebrate Biology
ZO 410Introduction to Animal Behavior

Statistics Electives

BUS 350Economics and Business Statistics3
EC 351Econometrics I3
ST 305Statistical Methods4
ST 307Introduction to Statistical Programming- SAS1
ST 308Introduction to Statistical Programming - R1
ST 311Introduction to Statistics3
ST 312Introduction to Statistics II3
ST 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

Semester Sequence

Critical Path Courses – Identify using the code (CP) which courses are considered critical path courses which represent specific major requirements that are predictive of student success in a given program/plan. Place the (CP) next to the credit hours for the course.

This is a sample.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterHours
COS 100 Science of Change 2
MA 141 Calculus I (CP) 1 4
MEA 100 Earth System Science: Exploring the Connections 2 4
MEA 101 Geology I: Physical (CP) 2 3
MEA 110 Geology I Laboratory (CP) 2 1
Spring Semester
CH 101 Chemistry - A Molecular Science (CP) 1 3
CH 102 General Chemistry Laboratory 3 1
ENG 101 Academic Writing and Research 1 4
MA 241 Calculus II 1 4
MEA 202 Geology II: Historical 2 3
MEA 211 Geology II Laboratory 2 1
Second Year
Fall Semester
CH 201 Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 1 3
CH 202 Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory 3 1
MA 242 Calculus III 3 4
MEA 200 Introduction to Oceanography (CP) 2 3
MEA 210 Oceanography Lab 2 1
MEA 410 Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology 2 4
Spring Semester
MEA 250 Introduction to Coastal Environments 2 3
MEA 251 Introduction to Coastal Environments Laboratory 2 1
MEA 450 Introductory Sedimentology and Stratigraphy 2 4
PY 205 Physics for Engineers and Scientists I 1 3
PY 206 Physics for Engineers and Scientists I Laboratory 3 1
Third Year
Fall Semester
MEA 460 Principles of Physical Oceanography 2 3
MEA 451 Structural Geology 2 4
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
PY 208 Physics for Engineers and Scientists II 3 3
PY 209 Physics for Engineers and Scientists II Laboratory 3 1
GEP Social Sciences 3
Spring Semester
Advanced Writing Elective 3
Computer Science Option Elective 3 3
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
MEA 462 Observational Methods and Data Analysis in Marine Physics 2 3
Statistical Science Option Elective 3 3
MEA 495 Junior Seminar in the Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences 1
MEA 459 Field Investigation of Coastal Processes 2 5
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
GEP Humanities 3
GEP Additional Breadth (Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts) 3
MEA 411 Marine Sediment Transport 2 3
MEA 570 Geological Oceanography 2 3
MEA Restricted Elective 2 3
Spring Semester
Advised Elective 2 4
MEA 470
Introduction to Geophysics 2
or Exploration and Engineering Geophysics
GEP Humanities 3
GEP Social Sciences 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.