Geological Sciences


Geological science involves the study of the Earth (and other planetary bodies), including their compositions and histories and the physical chemical and biological processes that shape them. The geosciences are highly interdisciplinary, thus students must take some supporting math and science courses. Geoscience courses emphasize a process-oriented approach, with hands-on experiences in labs and on field trips. There is a strong emphasis on active and collaborative learning, and on practice in communication. Students may choose an AB (total of 13 courses) or an ScB (19 total courses, including one semester of research). There are many opportunities for students to do research work (typically in paid positions) during the academic year or in the summer, in areas such as deformation and properties of geological materials, deciphering the geologic history of some local rocks, or analysis of planetary images.

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Understand the history of the earth and its development across geological time
  • Comprehend interrelations of biological, chemical, physical, and geological processes
  • Learn to formulate a scientific problem
  • Develop the ability to analyze geological data
  • Acquire advanced skills in speaking and writing
  • Produce an original research project


Click here for a list of the Geological Sciences concentration requirements.

Honors and Capstones

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Almost all students undertake a capstone experience, which may include a summer field course, a senior seminar course, or an independent research course. ScB students are required to complete at least one semester of research; AB students do not have this requirement, but many undertake a research course as an elective. Honors may be awarded to candidates for either an AB or an ScB degree, if they have a GPA of 3.4 or higher in concentration courses and complete honors work in independent research (GEOL 1970). Honors research is supervised by one faculty member and the resulting thesis is read by two additional faculty. An oral presentation and a final paper, revised at least once, are required. Please consult the department’s website for procedures and for a list of recent thesis titles and faculty sponsors.

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Collaborate fully
  • Engage with your community
  • Develop a facility with symbolic languages
  • Learn what it means to study the past
  • Experience scientific inquiry
  • Work on your speaking and writing

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors

Alumni Pathways

Geological Sciences concentrators can find a variety of employment opportunities with their undergrad degree, including the private sector (eg environmental and energy consulting firms), government (state and US Geological Surveys, EPA), academic (research internships at universities, teaching at private schools, museums, outdoor education centers, TFA), and non-profits (community and national organizations). Visit the Geological Sciences Alumni blog and see recent online alumni/ae newsletters. About half of all concentrators eventually go on for a professional or advanced degree, either in basic science or in one of the increasing number of interdisciplinary programs.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Visit this DUG's website to learn more.

Student Leaders:

  • Michael Demanche
  • Hunter Quintal

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.