Geosciences  {SF State Bulletin 2011 - 2012}

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Geosciences

College of Science and Engineering

Dean: Sheldon Axler

 

Department of Geosciences

509 Thornton Hall
Phone: 415-338-2061
Fax: 415-338-7705

Chair: Karen Grove
Graduate Coordinator: Caskey: Graduate Degree Content Advisors: Caskey (Geology), Monteverdi (Meteorology) and Dekens (Oceanography)
Credential Adviser: Caskey

 

Faculty

Professors: Dempsey, Garcia, Garfield, Grove, Monteverdi, Mustart, Pestrong, White
Associate Professors: Caskey, Leech, Sklar
Assistant Professors: Dekens, Gurdak
Adjunct Faculty: Nanus, Wingfield

 

Programs

B.A. in Earth Sciences

B.S. in Geology

B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Concentrations in:

Minor in Earth Sciences

Certificate in Weather Study

M.S. in Geosciences

 


 

Affiliations

The Department of Geosciences is a University Corporation for Atmospheric Research affiliate.

 

Program Scope

The Department of Geosciences offers three undergraduate degree programs and a minor program spanning the geosciences (that is, earth sciences), including geology, atmospheric sciences (including meteorology), and oceanography. It also offers a graduate program leading to a Master of Science in geosciences.

 

The Bachelor of Science in Geology provides rigorous professional education and training in geology with a strong emphasis on investigations in the field (that is, outdoors). It also provides excellent preparation for graduate work in geology. The Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences includes a concentration in meteorology that provides modern professional education and training in meteorology, including weather forecasting, and preparation for graduate work in atmospheric sciences. A concentration in oceanography provides analogous preparation in oceanography. The Bachelor of Arts in Earth Sciences provides a broad, flexible, integrated background in the earth sciences. The Minor in Earth Sciences does the same on a smaller scale and can complement a variety of other majors. The Certificate in Weather Study (formerly titled "Certificate Program in Meteorology For Broadcasters") as a program appropriate for the person who is interested in learning about meteorology and companion disciplines in considerable depth, but not at the majors level. The Master of Science in geosciences provides education and training in research in the geosciences in close collaboration with a faculty adviser, with emphasis on applied problems in the San Francisco Bay region.

 

Career Outlook

Geoscience investigations lead to new discoveries of useful earth materials, solutions to environmental problems, and insights into earth processes that affect people’s lives. Geoscientists contribute basic information to society for analyzing and solving problems and establishing policy for managing resources, protecting the environment, and assessing natural hazards. Dwindling energy, mineral, and water resources, and increasing environmental concern about issues such as global warming and its impacts, present challenges that create a demand for geoscientific expertise.

 

Graduates in geology, meteorology, and oceanography may pursue a wide range of careers in the earth sciences and related fields. Geologists currently find the greatest opportunities in the broad areas of environmental/engineering geology, including such specializations as surface and groundwater hydrogeology, geotechnical studies aimed at locating and remediating toxic sites, earthquake and landslide hazard assessment, and site evaluation for urban planning or construction. There also continue to be positions available in petroleum geology and minerals exploration. A shortage of certified high school and middle school science teachers has placed qualified teachers in high demand. Meteorologists will find opportunities in short- and long-range weather forecasting, air pollution assessment, wind energy assessment, global climate change research, and broadcast meteorology. For most types of jobs, the strongest candidates will have a master's degree, several years of field experience, and an interdisciplinary background with strong chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer skills. Geologists and meteorologists are employed by a large number of government agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, National Weather Service, Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California Division of Mines and Geology, Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Forest Service. Many geologists and some meteorologists in the San Francisco Bay Area work for environmental consulting firms, and some meteorologists become broadcast meteorologists working for local television and radio stations. In addition to preparing students for advanced work as professional geologists, meteorologists, and oceanographers, the M.S. in geosciences qualifies students to teach at community colleges and prepares others to continue their graduate education in doctoral programs leading to careers in university teaching and research.

 

Undergraduate Programs in Geosciences

The B.A. in earth sciences, B.S. in geology, B.S. in atmospheric and oceanic Sciences, and the minor in earth sciences are described and their requirements summarized below.

 

Advising The department of geosciences requires that declared majors consult with an adviser every semester, and prospective majors should consult with an adviser as early as possible, particularly about selecting courses in the General Education program that best fit the major program. Students will also be advised about completing basic science requirements before taking upper division courses in geosciences, and about the order in which required courses should best be taken. Students interested in preparing to teach high school or middle school earth sciences and integrated science should consult the credential adviser in the department of geosciences.

 

Every course counted toward major requirements must be completed with a letter grade (CR/NC is not acceptable.) No more than one course counted toward major requirements may be completed with a grade less than a C-. Course work used to satisfy major requirements must be completed with an overall point average of 2.0 or higher.

 

Bachelor of Arts in Earth Sciences

The Bachelor of Arts in earth sciences builds a solid conceptual foundation of basic physical sciences, mathematics, and earth sciences (that is, geology, meteorology, and oceanography). It then helps students to integrate knowledge of these separate disciplines in ways needed to understand and help solve important interdisciplinary problems, such as slowing and adapting to climate change and managing conflicting demands that humans make on the natural environment. It also helps prepare students to advise and educate others about issues requiring knowledge of how the earth works.

 

Beyond the basic foundation, students have great flexibility to adapt the program to satisfy many possible interests in the earth sciences and prepare for any of a variety of careers where a background in the earth sciences would be beneficial. Some career possibilities include:

  • high school and middle school science teaching;
  • technical support for firms engaged in environmental engineering, environmental monitoring and protection, natural resource analysis and management, hazardous materials and ecological remediation, computer mapping, etc.;
  • technical support to city, county, state, and other governmental agencies charged with land use and other planning;
  • preparation for graduate education in such fields as resource management, environmental public policy, and environmental law;
  • science writing, editing, and librarianship;
  • interpretation for park systems, nature centers, museums, and other areas requiring natural science field skills and natural history communication skills;
  • business and entrepreneurism.

 

Prospective majors are encouraged to consult with a departmental adviser to learn about graduation requirements and to plan a program adapted to their particular interests.

 

Students interested in preparing to teach high school or middle school earth sciences and integrated science should consult the geosciences single-subject subject-matter adviser.

 

On-line course descriptions are available. Courses are 3 units unless indicated otherwise.

 

Basic Science and Math Foundation

Course Title
GEOL 125
    or
MATH 226
Quantitative Geology (4)
 
Calculus I (4)
PHYS 111/
PHYS 112 

    or
PHYS 220/
PHYS 222 
General Physics I/Laboratory (3/1)
 
 
General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1)
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry (5)

Chemistry, physics, or mathematics elective: (3 units)
(may not be a course intended primarily to satisfy a General Education requirement)

Basic Science and Math Foundation Total: 16

 

Earth Sciences Foundation

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
GEOL 115 Earth and Life through Time (4)
GEOL 120 Introduction to Geologic Techniques (2)
OCN 200 Physical Processes in the Ocean
METR 201 Physical Processes in the Atmosphere
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)

Earth Sciences Foundation Total: 20

 

Earth Sciences Electives

  1. Select at least 16 units of geology, meteorology, and/or oceanography courses numbered 400 or higher
  2. Selected courses must be organized around a coherent theme approved by an adviser
  3. One course must satisfy the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

 

Earth Sciences Electives Total: 16

Total for the Major: 52

 

Bachelor of Science in Geology

The Bachelor of Science in geology is designed for students intending to prepare for graduate school in geology or for direct entry into a career as a professional geologist in industry or government. The geology major provides students with a fundamental background in the physical sciences and many areas of geology necessary for an in-depth comprehension of the subject. Entry to the major presupposes prior course work comprising the high school equivalents of two years of algebra, one year of plane geometry, one-half year of trigonometry, and one year of physics and/or chemistry.

 

On-line course descriptions are available. Courses are 3 units unless indicated otherwise.

 

Basic Science and Mathematics

Course Title
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry (5)
CHEM 215/
CHEM 216 
General Chemistry II: Quantitative Applications of Chemistry Concepts/Laboratory (3/2)
MATH 226 Calculus I (4)
GEOL 125
    or
MATH 227
Quantitative Geology (4)
 
Calculus II (4)
PHYS 111/
PHYS 112 
    or
PHYS 220/
PHYS 222
General Physics I/Laboratory (3/1)
 
 
General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1)
PHYS 121/
PHYS 122

or
PHYS 240/
PHYS 242
General Physics II/ Laboratory (3/1)
 
 
General Physics with Calculus III/Laboratory (3/1)

Total basic science and mathematics requirements: 26

 

Basic Geology Core

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
GEOL 115 Earth and Life through Time (4)
GEOL 120 Introduction to Geologic Techniques (2)
GEOL 420 Mineralogy and Petrology I (4)
GEOL 430 Structural Geology (4)
GEOL 460 GW Sedimentology and Stratigraphy - GWAR (4)
GEOL 695 Field Methods in Geology (2)

Total basic geology core requirements: 24

 

Advanced Geology Core

  1. Complete at least 7 units
  2. Select at least one quantitative course**
Course Title
GEOL 426 Mineralogy and Petrology II (4)
GEOL 450 Geomorphology** (4)
OCN 410 Coastal Processes**
GEOL 475 Hydrogeology** (4)
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
GEOL 480 Geochemistry** (4)

Total advanced geology core requirements: 7

 

Capstone

(complete at least 4 units from the courses below)
A field geology course from another university (4-6 units)
(see http://tornado.sfsu.edu/Geosciences/fieldgeology.html for examples

Course Title
GEOL 697 Undergraduate Research (2)
GEOL 698 Senior Research and Thesis (2)

Total capstone requirement: 4

 

Electives

(On advisement, complete at least 8 units of courses numbered 400 or higher in geology [or a closely related field], such as courses listed below or not already selected from the advanced geology core or capstone.)

Course Title
GEOL 400 Physical Geology in the Field (1)
GEOL 402 Coastal Geology in the Field (1)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
GEOL 410 Volcanology
GEOL 454 Quaternary Climate and Soils
GEOL 470 Neotectonics
GEOL 473 Surface Water Hydrology
GEOL 474 Engineering Geology
GEOL 476 Groundwater Contamination
GEOL 485 Ore Deposits (4)
GEOL 590 Seminar in Geosciences (2)
GEOL 642 Watershed Assessment and Restoration (4)
GEOL 699 Special Study (1-3)
OCN 420 Physical Oceanography
METR 415 Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Ocean

Total advanced geology core requirements: 8

Total for the major: 69

 

Recommended Emphases

(Students who elect to complete an emphasis should select courses upon advisement from the advanced geology core and from electives to create a coherent emphasis. We recommend one of the examples below.)

 

Sedimentary and Coastal Processes

Course Title
GEOL 426 Mineralogy and Petrology II (4)
GEOL 450 Geomorphology (4)
OCN 410 Coastal Processes
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
GEOL 475 Hydrogeology (4)
GEOL 480 Geochemistry (4)
OCN 420 Physical Oceanography

 

Petrology and Tectonics

Course Title
GEOL 410 Volcanology
GEOL 426 Mineralogy and Petrology II (4)
GEOL 470 Neotectonics
GEOL 480 Geochemistry (4)
GEOL 485 Ore Deposits (4)

 

Surficial and Environmental Geology

Course Title
GEOL 450 Geomorphology (4)
GEOL 454 Quaternary Climate and Soils
GEOL 470 Neotectonics
GEOL 473 Surface Water Hydrology
GEOL 474 Engineering Geology
GEOL 475 Hydrogeology (4)
GEOL 476 Groundwater Contamination
GEOL 480 Geochemistry (4)

 

Climate Change

Course Title
GEOL 405 Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
GEOL 450 Geomorphology (4)
OCN 410 Coastal Processes
GEOL 454 Quaternary Climate and Soils
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
GEOL 480 Geochemistry (4)

 

Energy and Natural Resources

Course Title
GEOL 426 Mineralogy and Petrology II (4)
GEOL 462 Geology of Hydrocarbons
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
GEOL 480 Geochemistry (4)
GEOL 485 Ore Deposits (4)

 

Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

The Bachelor of Science in atmospheric and oceanic sciences includes a concentration in meteorology and a concentration in oceanography. Both share a common, interdisciplinary core built on principles of mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, as well as fundamental concepts in meteorology and oceanography. The meteorology concentration adheres to guidelines for B.S. programs in meteorology issued by the American Meteorological Society. It prepares students for graduate education in meteorology and for a variety of careers, including weather forecasting for the National Weather Service or private industry, broadcast meteorology, and environmental analysis and consulting across a broad range of applications such as air quality, wind power, forensic meteorology, natural hazards, and climate change. Similarly, the oceanography concentration prepares students for graduate education in oceanography and for a variety of careers in oceanography.

 

For students interested in becoming a broadcast meteorologist, the B.S. in atmospheric and oceanic sciences, concentration in meteorology satisfies one requirement of the American Meteorological Society’s Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) program. (See http://www.ametsoc.org/amscert/ for more information about the CBM program.)

 

The concentration in meteorology covers core topics including the thermodynamics of air, cloud physics, atmospheric radiation, dynamic meteorology, the analysis and forecasting of weather, climate change, and weather instruments, as well as elective topics such as forecasting weather for the public, severe storms, numerical weather prediction, air-sea interactions such as the El Niño phenomenon, and advanced analysis and forecasting of weather, particularly on the West Coast. The concentration in oceanography covers core topics including physical oceanography, air-sea interactions, marine geology, and chemical oceanography, as well as elective topics in biological oceanography, meteorology, coastal processes, etc.

 

We encourage students to seek internship opportunities, for which credit is granted through METR 694 (“Cooperative Education in Meteorology”). We also recommend that students interested in preparing for graduate school complete 1-3 units of METR/OCN 697 (“Senior Project”) or METR/OCN 699 (“Special Study”) during the senior year, under the direction of a faculty adviser. (METR 694, METR/OCN 697 and METR/OCN 699 do not count toward degree requirements.)

 

Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Science and Mathematics Foundation

Chemistry

Course Title
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry (5)

 

Computer Science

Course Title
METR 460/
OCN 460
Use of Computers in Meteorology and Oceanography (2)

 

Mathematics

Course Title
MATH 226 Calculus I (4)
MATH 227 Calculus II (4)
MATH 228 Calculus III (4)
MATH 245 Elementary Differential Equations and Linear Algebra
MATH 324 Probability and Statistics with Computing

 

Physics

Course Title
PHYS 220/
PHYS 222 
General Physics with Calculus I/Laboratory (3/1)
PHYS 230/
PHYS 232 

    or
PHYS 240/
PHYS 242 
General Physics with Calculus II/Laboratory (3/1)
 
 
General Physics with Calculus III/Laboratory (3/1)

Total science and mathematics foundation requirements: 33

 

Meteorology and Oceanography Core

Course Title
OCN 200 Physical Processes in the Ocean
METR 201 Physical Processes in the Atmosphere
METR 470/
OCN 470 
Meteorological and Oceanographic Observing Techniques and Systems (2)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405 
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
METR 465/
OCN 465 
Computer Programming with Applications in Meteorology and Oceanography
METR 415/
METR 715 
Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Ocean

Total meteorology and oceanography core requirements: 18

 

Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences:
Concentration in Meteorology

 

Meteorology Required Courses

Course Title
METR 400 Weather Chart Analysis and Discussion (1)
METR 410 Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Cloud Physics (4)
METR 420 Atmospheric Dynamics I (4)
METR 430 GW Weather Analysis and Forecasting I - GWAR (4)
METR 520 Atmospheric Dynamics II (2)

Total meteorology requirements: 15

 

Meteorology Electives

(select at least 3 units)

Course Title
METR 450/
OCN 450 
Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions
OCN 420 Physical Oceanography
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
METR 590 Consulting Meteorology and Oceanography (2)
METR 530 Weather Analysis and Forecasting II (2)
METR 540 Numerical Weather Prediction (2)
METR 535 Analysis and Prediction of Severe Storms
METR 698 Public Weather Forecasting (1-3)

Total meteorology electives: 3

Total for Meteorology Concentration: 18

Total for Science and Mathematics Foundation (from above): 33

Total for Meteorology and Oceanography Core (from above): 18

Total for major: 69

 

Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences:
Concentration in Oceanography

 

Oceanography Required Courses

Course Title
METR 450/
OCN 450 
Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions
OCN 420 Physical Oceanography

 

Select one of the following two options:

Option 1:

Course Title Units
CHEM 680 Chemical Oceanography 3

 

Option 2:

Course Title Units
GEOL 110
  and
GEOL 458 GW
Physical Geology (4)
and 
Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
7

Total oceanography requirements: 9-13

 

Oceanography Electives

(Select from the course(s) not selected from the options above and/or from the list below, upon advisement, so that elective and required oceanography courses total at least 18 units. If Option 1 above is pursued, one elective course must satisfy the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement [GWAR].)

Course Title
BIOL 230 Introductory Biology I (5)
BIOL 240 Introductory Biology II (5)
BIOL 582 Biological Oceanography (4)
BIOL 535 Remote Sensing of Wetlands and Coastal Zones (4)
ENVS 450 Environmental Law and Policy
OCN 410 Coastal Processes
GEOL 402 Coastal Geology in the Field (1)
METR 410 Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Cloud Physics (4)
METR 420 Atmospheric Dynamics I (4)
METR 540 Numerical Weather Prediction (2)
PHYS 495 Introduction to Apparatus Fabrication (1)

Total oceanography electives: 5 - 9

Total Oceanography Concentration: 18

Total for Science and Mathematics Foundation (from above): 33

Total for Meteorology and Oceanography Core (from above): 18

Total for major: 69

 

Minor in Earth Sciences

The minor in earth sciences is comprised of 20 units, including GEOL 110 (Physical Geology), GEOL/METR/OCN 405 (Planetary Climate Change), and 12 units of geosciences electives. (See program requirements below for restrictions.) Students may complete one of the recommended focus areas listed below or create a coherent alternative designed to complement their major program (such as anthropology, art, biology, chemistry, civil engineering, environmental studies, geography, or physics). All students must meet with a departmental adviser to plan a course sequence and subsequently meet with an adviser each semester.

 

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Geosciences Requirements (8 units)

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405 
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)

 

Geosciences Electives (12 units)

  1. Complete 12 units of selected geology, meteorology, and/or oceanography courses in consultation with a department of geosciences faculty adviser.
  2. At least 6 of the 12 units must be upper division, and no more than 3 of the 6 upper division units may be courses designed primarily for General Education.
  3. At least 3 of the 12 units must be for courses numbered 400 or higher.

 

Total units required for the minor: 20

 

Recommended Focus Areas: Geology Focus

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
GEOL 115 Earth and Life Through Time (4)
GEOL 120 Introduction to Geologic Techniques (2)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405 
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)

 

Electives (6 units)

Upper division geosciences courses (minimum 3 units at 400 level or higher; no more than 3 units may be courses designed primarily for General Education.)

Total units Geology Focus: 20

 

Environmental Geology Focus

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
GEOL 270 Environmental Geology (4)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
GEOL 450 Geomorphology (4)
GEOL 475 Hydrogeology (4)

Total units Environmental Geology Focus: 20

 

Ocean Science Focus

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
OCN 104 Our Dynamic Ocean (4)
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
OCN 410 Coastal Processes
GEOL 458 GW Earth’s Climate History - GWAR
Electives: Upper division geosciences coursework (2)

Total units Ocean Science Focus: 20

 

Weather and Climate Focus

Course Title
GEOL 110 Physical Geology (4)
OCN 200 Physical Processes in the Ocean
METR 201 Physical Processes in the Atmosphere
METR 356 California Weather Events
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405 
Planetary Climate Change/ (4)
GEOL 454 Quaternary Climate and Soils

Total units Weather and Climate Focus: 20

 

Certificate in Weather Study

General Information

The certificate program in weather study (formerly titled "Certificate Program in Meteorology for Broadcasters") is offered for those interested in learning about meteorology and companion disciplines in some depth, but not at the majors' level. Students completing the certificate will be able to read and interpret basic weather maps and make basic weather forecasts for themselves, and they will be conversant on many weather- and climate-related topics of ongoing interest and importance, such as global climate change.

 

For advice about completing the certificate, consult with the certificate adviser, Dr. John Monteverdi. For information about applying to receive the certificate once the program requirements are met, see http://tornado.sfsu.edu/Programs/MetrProgram.htm#Anchor-Certificate-49575.

 

Meteorology Core Requirement

Course Title
OCN 200 Physical Processes in the Ocean
METR 201 Physical Processes in the Atmosphere
METR 400 Weather Chart Analysis and Discussion
GEOL 405/
METR 405/
OCN 405 
Planetary Climate Change (4)
METR 698 Public Weather Forecasting

Total Meteorology Core Requirement: 14

Electives

On advisement, select at least 10 units from among those listed below. The two courses marked with an asterisk (*) count toward the requirements for the General Education Segment III cluster, "Our Violent Planet".

Course Title
GEOL 302* Our Violent Earth
METR 302* Our Violent Atmosphere and Ocean
METR 356 California Weather Events

Any meteorology (METR) course numbered 410 or higher [for example, METR 460 (2), "Use of Computers in Meteorology and Oceanography", or METR 590 (2), "Consulting Meteorology and Oceanography"].

Total electives: 10

Total for Certificate: 24

 

Master of Science in Geosciences

The master of science in geosciences is an advanced, postgraduate degree that prepares students for careers in private industry, government, or teaching in community colleges, or for continuing postgraduate studies leading to a doctoral degree at another university. The graduate program also provides an opportunity for practicing geoscientists to update and upgrade their disciplinary knowledge and skills. There are no formal concentrations within the program, but students choose an area of research from within the fields of the geologic, atmospheric, or oceanographic sciences. During the application process, students must select a course of study, in consultation with the graduate coordinator.

 

The geosciences department includes faculty with expertise in geology, meteorology, and oceanography—fields that are critical to understanding many environmental problems, such as air and water contamination, coastal erosion, and climate change. A major focus of the graduate program is study of the environment of the San Francisco Bay area. Courses are offered in sedimentology and stratigraphy, landscape evolution, active tectonics, quaternary geology, hydrogeology, groundwater contamination, engineering geology, coastal oceanography, and applied meteorology with a coastal emphasis. The program requires that all students complete three core courses: GEOL/METR 700, GEOL/METR 710 and 702. GEOL/METR 700 is a multidisciplinary seminar that exposes students to current geoscientific research and literature. GEOL/METR 701 and 702 provide students with skills for thesis research and writing. The program emphasizes a rigorous grounding in the sciences and, particularly in geology, extensive laboratory and field work.

 

Admission to the Program

To be considered for admission to the master's program as a classified graduate student, applicants must:

  • Satisfy the university admission requirements.
  • Have a bachelor's degree in one of the geosciences (geology, meteorology, or oceanography).
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in geosciences and related science and mathematics courses.
  • Satisfactorily complete the Graduate Record Examination general test.
  • Provide letters of recommendation from at least two people familiar with the applicant’s previous academic work and/or professional accomplishments.
  • Submit a statement of purpose.

 

Letters of recommendation and statement of purpose should be submitted directly to the appropriate graduate coordinator in the geosciences department. Other materials should be submitted to the un iversities graduate studies division. Materials should be submitted by March 1 for admission the following fall semester and by October 1 for the following spring semester.

 

Applicants lacking the appropriate background (i.e., a degree in one of the geosciences) may be admitted as conditionally classified graduate students. These students must complete additional course work that will not be counted toward the graduate requirements. Conditionally admitted students may take courses but cannot file an Advancement to Candidacy until any deficiencies have been satisfied.

 

Written English Proficiency Requirement

All students in graduate programs at SF State must demonstrate Level I (entry) and Level II (exit) writing proficiency in accordance with university, departmental and or programmatic guidelines.

 

Level One: is satisfied by obtaining a minimum score of 4.0 on the analytical writing component (AWA) of the GRE. If the score is below 4.0 applicants will be required to take SCI 614 (Graduate Writing Skills) during their first semester of graduate studies.

Level Two: is satisfied by the successful completion of a written thesis (GEOL or METR 898).

 

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must:

  • Satisfy level one of the written English proficiency requirement.
  • Satisfy all course deficiencies stipulated upon entrance into the master's program.
  • Choose a faculty adviser and complete a research proposal that has been approved by the student's thesis committee.
  • File the ATC.

 

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Course Title
GEOL 700/
METR 700/
OCN 700 
Seminar in Geosciences (2)
GEOL 701/
METR 701/
OCN 701
Research Methods in Geosciences
GEOL 702/
METR 702/
OCN 702
Quantitative Methods in Geosciences
GEOL 897
METR 897
    or
OCN 897
Research Project (6)
GEOL 898
METR 898
    or
OCN 898
Master's Thesis

Upper division or graduate elective courses on advisement: 13

Minimum total: 30

All students must present an oral thesis defense

 

Elective units are chosen from courses offered by geosciences ,or other university departments, and must be selected in consultation with the student’s faculty adviser. At least 6 of these units must be courses numbered 700 or higher, and at least 6 must be courses offered in the geosciences department.

 

Some students may choose, with their thesis advisers’ approval, to complete thesis research under the auspices of a local governmental agency, or geoscientific or environmental firm. Those who choose this option must still complete all the requirements for a thesis, but do so in the context of an internship relationship with an outside agency.

 

Students can receive their graduate degree when they complete all course requirements and the thesis committee approves the written thesis and oral thesis defense.

 

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