Geosciences (BS)

Students examine the aftermath of Ridgecrest earthquake. Photo by Andrew Jorgensen.
Students examine the aftermath of Ridgecrest earthquake. Photo by Andrew Jorgensen.

**New Fall 2021**

Beginning Fall 2021, the Earth Sciences major has been renamed to Geosciences and the major's curriculum has undergone some revisions. Students already in the Earth Sciences major may choose to continue following the old curriculum and will receive a degree in Earth Sciences, or they may switch into the new curriculum and receive a degree in Geosciences. Current students are encouraged to meet with an advisor to discuss how to evaluate this decision. All new students interested in pursuing this field will only be able to choose the new Geosciences major and curriculum.

 

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) offers a rigorous and interdisciplinary curricula in the geosciences. Students can do a major in geosciences or specialize in Earth Sciences within another major (i.e. Physics, Environmental Systems).

Geosciences encompass broad scientific study of the origin and evolution of the earth system and its life forms. The geosciences major embraces a wide range of topics, including the physical and chemical evolution of the planet, the evolution of life, the causes of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, earth-surface processes, the origin and behavior of oceans and atmosphere, and the impact of humans on the environment. Geoscience investigations are increasingly quantitative and experimental, and thus most upper-division courses require a strong foundation in chemistry, physics, and mathematics.

The geosciences curriculum takes advantage of the unique opportunities offered by Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Classes beyond introductory level are usually small, permitting personalized instruction. Field trips are an important part of the instructional program.

A degree in geosciences is an appropriate start for a broad range of career and graduate school opportunities in various areas, including research, government, state and federal survey jobs, environmental management, the petroleum and mining industries, consulting, ocean sciences, industrial institutions, elementary or secondary education, environmental policy, or environmental law. Program advisors and faculty can provide additional information on career and graduate school opportunities. This flexibility in the major is afforded by a wide array of restricted electives that allow students a degree of autonomy to design much of their program. Areas of concentration with restricted electives and faculty advising are provided to assist students in their optimal career-development track within the flexible curriculum.

For information on applying to UC San Diego and SIO Transfer Major Preparation see our How to Apply page. Exceptional students in the geosciences major with an interest in research are encouraged to consider the Scripps Undergraduate Honors Program. Please note that all academic advising questions (for current students) are handled via the Virtual Advisor.

GEOSciences (BS) Degree Requirements

All geoscience majors take a series of introductory courses, SIO 50, SIO 65, and SIO 75, and lower-division requirements in mathematics, physics, and chemistry that are essential in modern quantitative earth science disciplines, before moving on to five upper-division courses introducing basic concepts in the earth sciences, SIO 100, SIO 102, SIO 103, SIO 113, and SIO 120. Ideally lower-division course requirements and SIO 100 and SIO 102 should be taken before the junior year to provide the appropriate background for other upper-division courses.

It is strongly recommended that all geoscience majors meet regularly with the Scripps department advising staff and a faculty adviser to discuss and update curriculum choices.

Lower Division Requirements

Upper Division Requirements

Upper-Division Core Requirements (all courses are required):

  • SIO 100. Introduction to Field Methods
  • SIO 102. Introduction to Geochemistry
  • SIO 103. Introduction to Geophysics
  • SIO 113. Introduction to Computational Earth Science
  • SIO 120. Introduction to Mineralogy

Upper-Division Electives: Areas of Concentration

Students must choose a total of seven courses from the areas of concentration detailed below. A minimum of four of the seven courses must be taken from a single area of concentration.

GEOLOGY
  • SIO 104. Paleobiology and History of Life
  • SIO 105. Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
  • SIO 106. Introduction to Hydrogeology
  • SIO 110. Introduction to GIS and GPS for Scientists
  • SIO 144. Introduction to Isotope Geochemistry
  • SIO 152. Petrology and Petrography
  • SIO 153. Geomorphology
  • SIO 155. Petrology and Geochemistry of the Solid Earth
  • SIO 160. Introduction to Tectonics
  • SIO 162. Structural Geology
  • SIO 170. Introduction to Volcanology
  • SIO 199. Independent Study
GEOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY
  • SIO 101. California Coastal Oceanography
  • SIO 111. Introduction to Waves and Tides
  • SIO 117. The Physical Basis of Global Warming
  • SIO 119. Physics and Chemistry of the Oceans
  • SIO 135. Satellite Remote Sensing
  • SIO 138. The Coral Reef Environment
  • SIO 141. Chemical Principles of Marine Systems
  • SIO 143. Ocean Acidification
  • SIO 144. Introduction to Isotope Geochemistry
  • SIO 160. Introduction to Tectonics
  • SIO 171. Introduction to Physical Oceanography
  • SIO 199. Independent Study
ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY
  • SIO 106. Introduction to Hydrogeology
  • SIO 107. Water Pollution
  • SIO 108. Introduction to Paleoclimatology
  • SIO 110. Introduction to GIS and GPS for Scientists
  • SIO 115. Ice and the Climate System
  • SIO 135. Satellite Remote Sensing
  • SIO 144. Introduction to Isotope Geochemistry
  • SIO 153. Geomorphology
  • SIO 162. Structural Geology
  • SIO 166. Introduction to Environmental Archaeology
  • SIO 167. Geoarchaeology in Theory and Practice
  • SIO 182. Environmental and Exploration Geophysics
  • SIO 199. Independent Study
GEOPHYSICS
  • SIO 110. Introduction to GIS and GPS for Scientists
  • SIO 115. Ice and the Climate System
  • SIO 135. Satellite Remote Sensing
  • SIO 152. Petrology and Petrography
  • SIO 155. Petrology and Geochemistry of the Solid Earth
  • SIO 160. Introduction to Tectonics
  • SIO 162. Structural Geology
  • SIO 170. Introduction to Volcanology
  • SIO 182. Environmental and Exploration Geophysics
  • SIO 199. Independent Study

Geosciences students are encouraged to consult with their instructors about incorporating appropriate courses and research opportunities at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography into their undergraduate curriculum.