Skip to Navigation
    Cal Poly Pomona
  Dec 14, 2017
2017-2018 University Catalog

Geological Sciences

Return to College of Science Return to: College of Science

Jonathan A. Nourse, Chair

Jeffrey S. Marshall
Bryan Murray
Stephen Osborn
Jascha Polet
Nicholas Van Buer

The Geological Sciences Department offers diverse and modern BS and MS degree programs to produce graduates who understand the science behind active Earth processes and bring quantitative problem-solving skills to the table in an interdisciplinary work environment. The curriculum balances classroom theory, modern technology and laboratory application with field experiences that incorporate industry-standard equipment, and offers opportunities for faculty-mentored research. Our applied approach to learning and career training is directed by faculty who can provide personal guidance specific to each student. Future geoscientists will confront a rapidly changing world with regional, national, and global issues related to strained water resources, natural hazards mitigation, shortages of mineral and energy resources, and site evaluations of infrastructure or housing projects. Their endeavors must interface with the environmental challenge of maintaining quality of life while managing development in an increasingly populated world. Graduates of the Geology program have broad capabilities and are ready to confront these new challenges as professional geologists or in post-graduate educational settings.

Students entering the Geological Sciences Department are offered a choice between three emphases leading to a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology. Each emphasis presents a comprehensive curriculum in the Geosciences with support courses in mathematical, physical, chemical and biological sciences. Each has a different focus, enabling students to direct their own curriculum towards their main Geoscience interests. The Geology emphasis is strongly field-oriented and offers a hands-on, traditional, program focused on mineral resources and developing excellent field and mapping skills. The Geophysics/Earth Exploration emphasis takes a more global and quantitative approach to the Earth and Planetary Sciences, producing graduates who use modern technology to address another growth area in the Geosciences: natural hazard analysis and mitigation. The Environmental Resources emphasis, through its interdisciplinary coursework, addresses the important contemporary need for geoscientists able to tackle the challenges posed by the world's demand for mineral, energy and water resources in the context of environmental change.

Students majoring in other disciplines can minor in Geology through appropriately directed GSC course work. The Geology Minor promotes student exposure to a broad range of GSC courses. This allows students from other disciplines to pursue interests in Geology or in-depth studies that complement the student's major. The Geology Minor program serves to enhance a student's employment opportunities in a chosen profession or simply to provide formal recognition of an interest in the physical world. Students may obtain from the Geological Sciences Department office and/or website lists of suggested GSC classes to qualify for the Minor. Three specific course packages are particularly appropriate for students with an interest in "Geotechnical Engineering", "Earth and Planetary Sciences" and "Hydrogeology and Water Resources". The Minor is especially advantageous to students majoring in such fields as civil and aeronautical engineering, environmental biology, geography and science education, as well as students in the College of Environmental Design.

For those planning a career as a secondary school science teacher (either middle school or high school), a Single Subject Credential in science is required. Before entering into a single subject credential program, students must demonstrate subject matter competency by either passing the appropriate state-approved examination (CSET) or completing a state approved subject matter preparation program in Geology. Subject matter preparation courses are listed within the Geology B.S. Program section (link below) following the Geology Curriculum Requirements.  Prospective teachers are encouraged to contact the Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (CEMaST) early in their academic programs at or 909-869-4063.

A new Master of Science degree program in Geology, inaugurated in September 2012, greatly enhances the job opportunities and career advancement for Earth scientists with BS degrees. We target both working professionals and traditional graduate students (i.e., those finishing B.S. degrees and perhaps seeking a stepping stone to a Ph.D. program). Both cohorts would benefit equally from our thesis-based Master's program with an affordable fee structure. Course scheduling will accommodate both groups; e.g., afternoon and evening classes with many laboratories and field trips offered on weekends.

Department Facilities

In addition to standard classroom, laboratory and office space, our facilities include a wide spectrum of modern equipment and instrumentation to facilitate the Geology teaching and research mission. This includes a variety of geological mapping and sample preparation equipment (Brunton compasses, laser rangefinders, GPS receivers, I-pads, digital cameras, jaw crushers, shatter box, sieve shaker), as well as equipment to facilitate Earth exploration and sampling endeavors (6-passenger Ford F-250 pickup with camper shell, 12-passenger Ford van, two Nikon Total Stations for precise surveying,  separate Philips X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence instrumentation with upgraded software, Franz magnetic separator, 15 petrographic microscopes, fluid inclusion heating/freezing stage, Seistronix 24-channel seismic refraction instrument with 3-dimensional mapping software, GSSI ground-penetrating radar with two antennas capable of imaging to depths of 10 meters, La Coste-Romberg gravity meter, Gem Systems magnetometer, eleven field-deployable digital seismometers).  Recent acquisitions include a Gemini gravity separation shaker table and Bico disc mill. The  hydrogeochemical laboratory is equipped with Dionex Ion chromatograph, Milli-Q ultra water purifier, water sampling equipment and water quality meters, six digital velocity flow probes, and a 14-station student computer lab with large format printer.  Mineral and rock specimen collections include a comprehensive suite of thin sections and polished sections from classic localities and the endowed Bernard Lane Paleontology Laboratory houses a wide variety of fossil specimens.




      Geological Sciences

      NOTE: For all courses which have both a lecture component and a laboratory component (e.g., GSC 215/215L ), both components are corequisites; that is, they must be taken concurrently.

      F, W, Sp and Su notations indicate the quarter(s) each course is normally offered. Unless otherwise specified, the course is offered each year during the indicated quarter(s).

      Field Trip Fee is required for various courses to cover transportation costs and varies according to type of transportation used. 

      Return to College of Science Return to: College of Science