Geology-Biology involves study of the interactions of the Earth and its hydrosphere and atmosphere with the great diversity of life forms, and how they have evolved and influenced one another over the entire history of the Earth. Many courses emphasize climate and biogeochemistry; this concentration is a good one for students interested in quantitative approaches to environmental science. Students take a basic suite of geoscience courses and at least 4 bio courses of their choosing, plus some supporting math and science courses; the AB degree requires a total of 14 courses and the ScB degree requires a total of 19, including one semester of research. There is a strong emphasis on active and collaborative learning, and on practice in communication. 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 determining the history of climate change during the recent ice age, investigating the causes of major extinctions, and using paleoenvironmental records to determine the vulnerability of different regions of the globe to droughts and other processes that strongly affect society.
Students in this concentration will:
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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 (who can be in Bio or Envir. Sci. or in Geo) 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 a complete description of admission procedures and requirements.
This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:
Geology-Biology concentrators can find a variety of employment opportunities with their undergrad degree, including the private sector (eg environmental consulting firms), government (research positions at state and US Geological Surveys, EPA, national labs), academic (research internships at universities; teaching at private schools, museums, outdoor education centers, TFA), and non-profits (community and national organizations). 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.
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