Courses

  • GEOL 105Lg Planet Earth (4, FaSpSm) Geologic structure and evolution of planet earth. Principles of plate tectonics, rocks and minerals, processes of mountain building, continent and ocean formation, earthquakes, volcanism, development of landforms by running water and glaciers. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 2 hours. One all-day or two-day field trip required.
  • GEOL 107Lxg Oceanography (4, FaSp) Physical, chemical, and geological character of the oceans and ocean basins. Origin of the oceans. Ocean processes and agents. Economic value of the oceans. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 2 hours. One all-day field trip required. Not available for major credit to earth or geological sciences majors.
  • GEOL 108Lg Crises of a Planet (4, FaSpSm) Impact of civilization on planet earth, and impact of Earth's natural evolution on society: earthquakes, volcanism, landslides, floods, global warming, acid rain, groundwater depletion and pollution; mineral and fossil fuel depletion, formation of the ozone hole. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 2 hours.
  • GEOL 125Lxg Earth History: A Planet and Its Evolution (4, FaSpSm) Basic principles of physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics used in evaluating clues written in the rock record, and the processes that have shaped our planet. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 2 hours. At least one field trip required. Not available for major credit to earth or geological sciences majors.
  • GEOL 130Lxg The Nature of Scientific Inquiry (4, FaSp) Examination of the scientific process: what constitutes science; evolution of ideas about the nature of space, time, matter, and complexity; paradigm shifts in the biological and earth sciences. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 2 hours. Not available for major credit to earth or geological sciences majors.
  • GEOL 150Lxg Climate Change (4, FaSp) Climate systems from the beginning of Earth history to the present; tools and techniques used to reconstruct prehistoric climate records; effects of climate variations on development of life forms on Earth. Not available for major credit to earth or geological sciences majors.
  • GEOL 160L Introduction to Geosystems (4, Sp) Survey of natural geological/environmental processes (systems) and variability active near Earth's surface in the region that houses most life (the Biosphere). Corequisite: ENST-100
  • GEOL 240Lxg Earthquakes (4, FaSpSm) Causes of earthquakes and nature of large faults; earthquake hazard and risk; world's great earthquakes; understanding the Richter scale. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 2 hours; one field trip required. Not available for major credit to earth or geological sciences majors. Concurrent enrollment: MDA 140.
  • GEOL 305Lx Introduction to Engineering Geology (4, Sp) Principles of geology with emphasis on stratigraphy, structural geology and degradational processes; basic geologic considerations in civil engineering practice; introduction to mineralogy and petrology. Field trip required. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 3 hours. Not available for major credit to earth or geological sciences majors.
  • GEOL 315L Minerals and Earth Systems (4, Fa) Minerals and their formation in Earth geosystems; includes discussions of mineral properties, crystal structures, uses and biogeochemical importance. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 6 hours; required field trips. (Duplicates credit in former GEOL 215aL). Corequisite: CHEM 105aL or CHEM 115aL; recommended preparation: any introductory GEOL course.
  • GEOL 316L Petrologic Systems (4, Sp) Formation and identification of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks; interpretation of tectonic and environmental settings based on rock type and chemistry. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 6 hours; required field trips. (Duplicates credit in former GEOL 215bL). Prerequisite: GEOL 315L.
  • GEOL 320L Surficial Processes and Stratigraphic Systems (4, Fa) Processes of erosion, sediment transport, and deposition that shape the land surface; landscape response to tectonism; recognition and interpretation of depositional environments in the stratigraphic record. (Duplicates credit in former GEOL 334L, GEOL 451L.) Corequisite: GEOL 315L.
  • GEOL 321L Structural Geology and Tectonics (4, Sp) Field and theoretical aspects of rock deformation, analysis of structural systems, and stress and strain; orogenic belts and plate tectonics; introduction to field techniques and construction of geologic maps. Recommended preparation: GEOL 320L.
  • GEOL 385 Research Methods in the Earth Sciences (2, Fa) Nature of scientific inquiry and history of physical sciences; strategies and methodologies for research in earth sciences; introduction to science writing and quantitative methods. Lecture, 1.5 hours; attend one seminar per week. (Duplicates credit in former GEOL 485ab). Recommended preparation: any introductory GEOL course.
  • GEOL 390 Special Problems (1-4) Supervised individual studies. No more than one registration permitted. Enrollment by petition only.
  • GEOL 412 Oceans, Climate, and the Environment (4, Sp) Survey of physical, chemical, and geological oceanography emphasizing the role of the oceans in modulation of climate, atmospheric composition and biogeochemical cycles; paleoceanography and paleoclimate. Corequisite: CHEM 105bL, MATH 126; recommended preparation: PHYS 151L or PHYS 135abL.
  • GEOL 425L Data Analysis in the Earth and Environmental Sciences (4 units) Introduction to mathematical methods giving insight into Earth and Environmental data. Topics include: probability and statistics, timeseries analysis, spectral analysis, inverse theory, interpolation. Recommended Preparation: MATH 126, familiarity with matrix algebra.
  • GEOL 427 The Global Environment (4, Sp) (Enroll in BISC 427) Earth's development as a habitable planet, from origin to human impacts on global biogeochemical cycles in the ocean, land, atmosphere. Discussion of environmental alternatives. Prerequisite: BISC 120L or BISC 121L; CHEM 105bL or CHEM 115bL.
  • GEOL 433L Paleontology and Evolution in Deep Time (4, Fa) Origin and evolution of life; Precambrian life; evolutionary history of major groups during the Phanerozoic; mass extinctions; deep time and evolutionary processes. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 3 hours; required field trips. (Duplicates credit in former GEOL 333L.) Recommended preparation: any introductory GEOL course.
  • GEOL 440L Geophysics and Geoengineering (4, Sp) Plate tectonics, magnetic and gravity fields, earthquakes, seismic waves, reflection and refraction seismics, heat transport, mantle convection, deep Earth structure, data analysis. Includes field trip. Prerequisite: MATH 126; corequisite: PHYS 135bL or PHYS 152L.
  • GEOL 441 Seismic Exploration Geophysics (4, FaSp) Seismic wave theory, ray theory, reflection, refraction, data processing, signal enhancement, field instrumentation and techniques on land and at sea; geological interpretation of seismic data. One field trip.
  • GEOL 450L Geosystems (4, Sp) Geosystems, such as mantle convection, active faults, climate, and the carbon cycle, will be studied using numerical models and concepts such as chaos, universality, emergence, and intermittency. Lecture, 3 hours, laboratory, 2 hours. Prerequisite: MATH 125; recommended preparation: MATH 126.
  • GEOL 460L Geochemistry and Hydrogeology (4, Fa) Composition and origin of Earth; principles of physical chemistry applied to aqueous systems; reaction-diffusion modeling; principles of hydrology; environmental problems. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory/discussion, 2 hours. Prerequisite: CHEM 105bL or CHEM 115bL and MATH 126.
  • GEOL 465 Summer Field Geology (4, Sm) (SS only) Four weeks of geological field mapping from a centrally located camp in the California Coast Ranges or Great Basin. Recommended preparation: GEOL 321L.
  • GEOL 470 Environmental Hydrogeology (4, Irregular) Concepts in hydrogeology and their application to environmental problems. Topics include groundwater chemistry and hydrology, contaminants and their behavior. Guest lectures on regulations and remediation techniques. Recommended preparation: GEOL 460L.
  • GEOL 474 Ecosystem Function and Earth Systems (4) (Enroll in BISC 474L) General principles of ecosystem function, energy flow and materials cycling in marine systems at various scales and the importance of microbial processes in these systems. Taught on Catalina Island. Prerequisite: 1 from (BISC-120 or BISC-121)
  • GEOL 483 Geobiology and Astrobiology (4) (Enroll in BISC 483)
  • GEOL 490x Directed Research (2-8 units, max 8) Individual research and readings. Not available for graduate credit.
  • GEOL 494x Senior Thesis (2 units) Writing of a thesis under individual faculty supervision. Not available for graduate credit.
  • GEOL 499 Special Topics (2-4, max 8) Special topics in the earth sciences. Field trip required when appropriate to the topic.
Undergraduate Program
For starters
2012 Median Pay: $90,890 per year ($43.70 per hour)
Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation: None
On-the-job Training: None
Number of Jobs, 2012: 38200
Job Outlook, 2012-22: 16% (Faster than average)

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dept. Labor, US.Gov

  • Zumberge Hall of Science (ZHS)
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0740
  • Phone: (213) 740-6106
  • Email: earthsci@usc.edu