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Geology Associate in Science

Geology is the scientific study of the planet earth. Geologists study the origin and evolution of the earth and various life forms, the composition of the earth, its structures, and the many processes which modify the earth’s crust. Geology is an interdisciplinary science with many applied aspects including: the study of natural resources such as water, petroleum, and minerals; the mitigation of earth’s hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes; and land use planning. Students who are curious about our planet and its environment, and want to meet the challenges presented by the interaction of humans with the earth should consider geology as a major.

The curriculum leads to the Associate in Science degree in Geology and will prepare students for upper division coursework at a baccalaureate institution. However, it is recommended that students consult the catalog of the transfer institution for specific course requirements.

Career Opportunities

Engineering Geologist1
Environmental Geologist1
Geology Assistant
Marine Geologist1
Paleobotanist / Paleontologist1
Petroleum Geologist1
Soils Technician
Teacher / Professor1
Waste Management Geologist1


Bachelor’s Degree or higher required.

The Program-level Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs) below are outcomes that students will achieve after completing specific degree / certificate requirements in this program. Students will:

  1. Recognize and explain the role of fundamental geologic principles, such as plate tectonic theory and deep time, in the interpretation of observed geologic phenomena.
  2. Research, evaluate, and cite scientific information in order to formulate coherent summaries of earth processes.
  3. Define the scientific method and apply it to observed geologic phenomena.
  4. Interpret geologic processes using underlying chemical properties and physical laws.
  5. Measure, manipulate, and interpret scientific data.

Associate Degree Major Requirements

CHEM-141General Chemistry I5
CHEM-142General Chemistry II5
GEOL-110Planet Earth3
GEOL-111Planet Earth Laboratory1
GEOL-121Earth History4
MATH-180Analytic Geometry and Calculus I5
Select two of the following:8-10
Principles of Biology
Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
Mechanics and Waves
Electricity, Magnetism, and Heat
Select a minimum of six units from the following:6
Introduction to Geographic Information Science
Descriptive Astronomy
Physical Geography: Earth Systems
Meteorology: Weather and Climate
Field Study of the Natural History of the Greater San Diego Region
Geologic Field Studies: Southern California Mountain Areas
Geologic Field Studies: Mojave Desert and Adjacent Areas
Geologic Field Studies: Southern California Coastal Areas
Geologic Field Studies: Colorado Desert/Salton Trough Area
Field Exploration: Colorado Plateau
Field Exploration: Cascade Range/Modoc Plateau
Field Exploration: Basin and Range Province
Field Exploration: California Coastal Mountains
Field Exploration: Sierra Nevada
Geology of California
Geology of the National Parks
Natural Disasters
Introduction to Oceanography
Oceanography Laboratory
Total Units37-39

Plus General Education and Elective Requirements