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Salisbury University BW
A Maryland University of National Distinction
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Department of Geography & Geosciences
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BS in Earth Science

Why specialize in Earth Science?

Earth Scientists (or geoscientists) gather and interpret data about the Earth. They use their knowledge to increase our understanding of Earth processes and to improve the quality of human life. Their work and career paths vary widely because geoscience disciplines are broad and diverse. The National Science Foundation considers geology, geophysics, hydrology, oceanography, marine science, environmental science, and soil science as the major geoscience disciplines.

The major applications of the geosciences are: exploration and responsible development of natural resources (oil, gas, coal, minerals, construction aggregate, water, soil), preservation of the natural environment, restoration from environmental damage, and the mitigation of geohazards such as earthquakes and landslides.

By addressing these issues and developing solutions to problems affecting the Earth, geoscientists act as stewards of the Earth. Though much has been learned about the Earth through earth science, much more is yet to be discovered, especially as new problems face society, such as global climate change, advances in technology, and exhaustion of energy and raw material supplies.

The outlook for jobs in the geosciences is very good and the 2014 American Geosciences Institute (AGI) projections indicate a 14% increase in geoscience jobs over the next decade, particularly in environmental services, hydrology and petroleum (particularly natural gas). The report also notes that the majority of the geoscience workforce is in their 50s, so turnover is expected to be high in the next couple decades. Although the overall growth for government geoscience jobs is expected to decline, the report indicated that high turnover is expected in the government workforce within the next decade with “no clear signs of future replacements.”

The department also offers a track in earth science secondary education for those who are considering teaching careers at the middle and high school levels. Right now the demand for qualified earth science teachers is very high.

What is the Program of Study?

Our program focuses on giving students a broad background in the geosciences and its application to solving environmental problems and mitigating natural hazards. Thus, students complete core courses in geology, weather and climate, map interpretation, geographic information science, statistics, chemistry and physics. Students then follow one of the three Earth Science tracks and complete the additional requirements. One key feature of our coursework in the Earth Science degree is our commitment to field work and experiential studies. Many of the core and elective courses in the Earth Science program include class field trips and intensive, hands-on lab activities. The coursework required for this degree provides a solid undergraduate knowledge which serves as a strong foundation for students continuing on to graduate studies or onto a career in the geosciences.

The Earth Science General Track is designed for those students who wish to have maximum flexible in choosing their elective courses. Students in the General Track are require to complete three elective courses from the list of approved courses. According to the 2014 American Geosciences Institute (AGI) State of Geosciences report, a majority of geoscience majors go into oil and gas (36%), environmental services (21%) and mining (11%). The courses prescribed by the Geoenvironmental Science Track prepare our majors for jobs in these three subfields (as well as others). In addition, many states require that professional geologists acquire a license in order to work in their state. The Geoenvironmental Science track is specifically designed to give students the necessary background knowledge needed to successfully complete state licensure exams. For students interested in teaching, the Secondary Education Track gives students the education coursework and internship experience necessary to become licensed to teach science at the middle school and high school levels. Secondary education majors have an additional advisor in the Seidel School of Education. Potential majors who have questions about the education courses required for this track should contact Starlin Weaver ( in the Department of Education Specialties.

Earth Science Core Requirements:

All Earth Science majors must complete the following courses (14 courses/45 hours):

GEOL 103 Intro to Physical Geology 4 hours
GEOL 206 Historical Geology 4 hours
GEOL 211 Sediment Analysis 1 hour
GEOL 313 Mineralogy and Optical Petrology 4 hours
GEOL 336 Stratigraphy and Sedimentology 3 hours
GEOL 465 Earth Science Seminar 1 hour
GEOG 201 Physical Geography: Weather & Climate 4 hours
GEOG 204 Spatial Analysis 4 hours
GEOG 219 Map Interpretation & Analysis 3 hours
GEOG 319 Geographic Information Science 4 hours
GEOG 414 Research & Writing 3 hours
CHEM 121 General Chemistry I 3 hours
MATH 155 Modern Statistics 3 hours
PHYS 121
PHYS 221
General Physics I

Physics I
4 hours

All courses taken to satisfy requirements for the major must be completed with "C" or better.

Transfer students must complete a minimum of fifteen hours of "C" or better in geography at Salisbury University, at least twelve semester hours of which must be at the upper-division (300-400) level.

All students must complete a minimum of thirty hours at the upper division (300-400) level with a grade of "C" or better).

Must have a total of 120 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better to graduate.

General Track Requirements (3 courses):

Complete at least 3 from the following:

 Geoenvironmental Science Track Requirements (5 courses):

Complete one additional course from the following:

Secondary Education Track Requirements

Elective Courses (3 courses)

Complete at least 3 courses from the following:

Additional Science Requirements (3 courses)

Pre-Professional Education Requirements (2 courses)

  • EDUC 210 - School in a Diverse Society
  • SCED 300 - Development, Learning and Assessment

Competency Tests

Show satisfactory results on Praxis I, SAT or ACT examinations as defined by the Maryland State Department of Education (see education advisor regarding passing scores).


In order to enroll in professional education program courses, students must meet the following requirements:

1. Complete an application for formal admission to the professional program. Obtain written approval of the application from both content and education advisors.

2. Complete a minimum of 56 college credits with a minimum of 2.50 GPA, including transfer credits.

3. Have a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.75 in the major, including transfer credits.

4. Complete all pre-professional requirements.

5. Complete four courses in the major field.

 Professional Education Requirements (5 courses)

  • SCED318 - Computers in Education


  • SCED319 - Technology in Education
  • SCED367 - Inclusive Instruction for Secondary Teachers
  • SCED374 - Science and Reading Methods in the Middle and High School Part I
  • SCED434 - Classroom Management
  • SCED474 - Science and Reading Methods in the Middle and High School Part II

 Internship And Seminar (3 courses)

Candidates must meet the following requirements for internship:

1. Complete the written application for internship.

2. Complete a minimum of 90 credits including methods and at least 8 courses of the academic major.

3. Have an overall GPA of at least 2.50 including transfer credit.

4. Have a minimum GPA of at least 2.75 in the academic major courses, including transfer credit, as defined by the academic department.

5. Have a minimum GPA of 2.75 in professional education courses with no grade below C. Students may repeat education courses only once.

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