Undergraduate Concentrations

A.B. and Sc.B. Requirements

Geological Sciences
Geology-Biology
Geology-Chemistry
Geology-Physics/Math


Alice Alpert '09 presents her Sr. Thesis researchAlice Alpert '09 presents her Sr. Thesis researchOur four AB and ScB concentration programs stress critical thinking and development of the analytical and communication skills that are so important for personal and career development.

Research opportunities encompass a broad spectrum of basic and applied investigations, linked with environmental sciences, engineering, materials science, archaeology, space science, astronomy, economics, international relations, or meteorology.

Our department is known on campus as being open and friendly. With 20 faculty, 40-50 undergraduate concentrators (>50% women), and 60-65 graduate students, classes are comfortably small, and faculty, graduates and undergraduates interact frequently.

 

Learning to write well is crucial to a career in the sciences.  The Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences offers many courses to develop our concentrators' written communication skills, including writing-designated (WRIT) courses that satisfy Brown's writing requirement.  We advise students to take at least one, and preferably many of these courses.  Concentrations in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences do not allow submissions of written work to be used in place of WRIT courses.  Brown requires all undergraduates to complete at least one WRIT course by the end of their 4th semester, and a second WRIT course during their 5th-7th semesters. A list of WRIT courses is available here.

Geological Sciences Concentration Requirements

Standard Program for the A.B. degree in Geological Science

This program provides a broad introduction to the geological sciences. Recommended for students seeking a liberal education and a general understanding of Earth processes and Earth history. Especially attractive for double concentrations, such as geology and economics as a career path to law or business, or geology and English as a career path to journalism or technical writing.

  1. Four basic supporting science courses:
    • CHEM 0330 (or advanced placement)
    •  Three of the following: mathematics: MATH 0090, 0100 or more advanced; physics: PHYS 0050, 0060 or more advanced; engineering: ENGR 0030, 0040 or more advanced; and biology: BIOL 0200 or more advanced.
  2. Nine concentration courses
    • GEOL 0220, 0230, 0240.
    • Two of GEOL 1410, 1420, 1450.
    • Two of GEOL 0310, 1110, 1240, 1330 1350 1370, or a field course.
    • Two additional courses from upper level geological sciences, mathematics, or supporting sciences with approval from the departmental concentration advisor.

Standard Program for the Sc.B. Degree in Geological Sciences:

This program is recommended for students interested in graduate study and careers in the geosciences and related fields.

  1. Five basic supporting science courses:
    • Two courses in mathematics at the level of MATH 0090, 0100 (or another more advanced math or statistics course.
    • CHEM 0330 (or advanced placement).
    • PHYS 0050, 0060, ENGR 0030, 0040, or more advanced. (Advanced placement may be substituted for the first semester of physics.)
  2. Fourteen (14) concentration courses:
    • GEOL 0220, 0230, 0240, 0310, 1240, 1410, 1420, 1450, and a field course.
    • Four courses from upper level geological sciences, mathematics, or supporting sciences with approval from the departmental concentration advisor.
    • GEOL 1970 (Senior Research Thesis).

Geology/Biology Concentration Requirements

Standard Program for the A.B. Degree in Geo/Bio

This program provides a broad introduction to the integrated geologic and biologic processes that shape the Earth and our environment. It is recommended for students seeking a liberal education and a general understanding of Earth processes including the evolution of climate and the environment, global environmental change, and Earth history. The program prepares students for careers in environmental science, geology, ecology, oceanography, and global change, but is not limited to these. Students with degrees in Geo/Bio have gone on to careers not just in science but in medicine, environmental law, and agriculture.

  1. Four basic supporting science courses:
    • BIOL 0200 or more advanced.
    • CHEM 0330 (or advanced placement).
    • Two courses in mathematics and/or physics at the level of MATH 0090, PHYS 0050, ENGN 0030, or more advanced, or courses in data analysis and statistics.
  2. Ten (10) concentration courses:
    • GEOL 0220, 0230, 0240,1240.
    • Three biology courses from the following: BIOL0390, 0410, 0415, 0420, 0430, 0440, 0480, 1470, 1480, 1880
    • Three geological sciences courses from the following:GEOL0580, 1100, 1110, 1120, 1130 1150, 1330, 1350, 1370, 1380, 1510.

Standard Program for the Sc.B. Degree in Geo/Bio

This program is recommended for students interested in graduate study and careers in the Earth, Environmental, or Biological Sciences. It is particularly relevant for students interested in climate or environmental science, Earth systems science, Earth system history, biogeochemistry, oceanography, or paleobiology.

  1. Five basic supporting science courses:
    • BIOL 0200 or more advanced.
    • CHEM 0330 (or advanced placement).
    • PHYS 0050 or ENGN 0030, or more advanced.
    • Two courses in mathematics at the level of MATH 0090, 0100 or more advanced, or advanced courses in data analysis.
  2. Fourteen (14) concentration courses:
    • GEOL 0220, 0230, 0240, 1240.
    • Three biology courses from the following: BIOL 0390, 0410, 0415, 0420, 0430, 0440, 0480, 1470, 1480, 1500, 1880
    • Three geological sciences courses from the following: GEOL 0580, 1100, 1110, 1120, 1130, 1150, 1330, 1350, 1370, 1380, 1510
    • Three additional courses from upper level geological sciences, mathematics, or supporting sciences with approval from the concentration advisor.
    • GEOL 1970 (Senior Research Thesis).

Typical upper division elective course sequences:

Students interested in environmental science might take: BIOL 0420, 1470, 1480, and 1150, 1330, and 1370, with additional upper level courses in climate, environmental studies, or hydrology.

Students interested in biogeochemistry might take: BIOL 0415, 0420, 1480, and GEOL 1130, 1150, and 1370, with additional electives in chemistry, biochemistry, or geochemistry.

Students interested in paleobiology might take:  BIOL 0390, 0430, and 0480, and GEOL 1120, 1130, and 1150, with additional upper level courses in evolutionary ecology, organismal biology, or genetics.

Students interested in Global Climate Change might take:  BIOL 0420, 1470,1480, and GEOL 1120, 1350, and 1510, with additional upper level courses in oceanography, physics and mathematics.

Students interested in Paleoclimate and Earth System History might take: BIOL 0390, 0420, 0480, and GEOL 1120, 1150, and 1350, with additional upper level courses in the climate sciences, geochemistry, and biogeochemistry.

Geo/Chemistry Concentration Requirements

Standard Program for the A.B. Degree in Geo/Chem

Recommended for students seeking a liberal education and interested in applying physical and chemical principles toward an understanding of Earth history, Earth processes, and environmental and resource issues.

  1. Four basic supporting science courses:
    • Two courses in mathematics at the level of MATH 0090, 0100 or more advanced.
    • CHEM 0330
    • PHYS 0050 or ENGN 0030, or more advanced (or advanced placement).
  2. Nine (9) concentration courses:
    • GEOL 0220, 0230, 0240
    • Three additional chemistry courses.
    • Two geology courses: either GEOL 1410 and GEOL 1420, or GEOL 1130 and 1370.
    • Two additional courses from upper level geological sciences, math, or supporting sciences with approval from the department concentration advisor.

Standard Program for the Sc.B. Degree in Geo/Chem

This program is recommended for students interested in graduate study and careers in geochemistry and related fields.

  1. Five basic supporting science courses:
    • Two courses in mathematics at the level of MATH 0090, 0100 or more advanced.
    • CHEM 0330
    • PHYS 0050, 0060, or ENGR 0030, 0040, or more advanced. (Advanced placement may be substituted for the first semester of physics.)
  2. Fifteen (15) concentration courses: The geochemistry/inorganic option:
    • GEOL 0220, 0230, 0240, 1130 or 1370, 1410, 1420, plus one from GEOL 1240, 1330, 1450.
    • Three from CHEM 0350, 0500, 1060, 1140, 1150.
    • Four additional courses from upper level geological sciences, mathematics, or supporting sciences with approval from the departmental concentration advisor.
    • GEOL 1970 (Senior Research Thesis).

    The geochemistry/organic option:

    • GEOL 0220, 0230, 0240, 1130, 1370, 1410, plus one from 1240, 1330, 1380.
    • CHEM 0350, 0360, plus one additional chemistry course.
    • Four additional courses from upper level geological sciences, mathematics, or supporting sciences with approval from the departmental concentration advisor.
    • GEOL 1970 (Senior Research Thesis).

Geo/Physics/Math Concentration Requirements

Standard Program for the A.B. Degree in Geo-Physics/Math

Recommended for students seeking a liberal education and interested in applying physical and mathematical principles toward an understanding of the processes affecting planets, Earth, and the environment and how they are modeled.  Some course requirements may be flexible based on consultation with concentration advisor.

Fourteen (14) concentration courses:

    • GEOL 0220
    • One of: GEOL 0250, GEOL 0350
    • Either the solid Earth geophysics theme:
  1.  
    •  
      • GEOL 0230 and GEOL 1610
      • Two from: GEOL 1410 or GEOL 1420, GEOL 1450, GEOL 1620

Or the climate science theme:

  1.  
    •  
      • GEOL 0240 and GEOL 1350
      • Two from: GEOL 1130, GEOL 1310, GEOL 1430, GEOL 1510, GEOL 1520
  1.  
    • One of: PHYS 0050, PHYS 0070, ENGN 0040
    • One of**: PHYS 0060, ENGN 0310, ENGN 0810
  1.  
    • One of**: PHYS 0470, PHYS 0500, PHYS 1600, ENGN 0510, ENGN 0810, ENGN 1370, GEOL 1820 (ENGN 0810 or GEOL 1820 recommended for climate science theme)
  1.  
    • Three courses in mathematics, including APMA 0330 or APMA 0340
    • CHEM 0330 (or advanced placement)
    • One additional course from upper level geological sciences, mathematics, or supporting sciences with approval from the departmental concentration advisor

 

Standard Program for the Sc.B. Degree in Geology-Physics/Math

This program is recommended for students interested in graduate study and careers in geophysics, climate science and related fields.  Students will be prepared to understand and use models, make measurements, and use theories of the processes studied in these fields.  Some course requirements may be flexible based on consultation with concentration advisor.

Twenty (20) concentration courses:

  1.  
    • GEOL 0220, GEOL 1430, and GEOL 1610
    • One of: GEOL 0250, GEOL 0350
    • Either the solid Earth geophysics theme:
  1.  
    •  
      • GEOL 0230, GEOL 1450, and GEOL 1620
      • Two from: GEOL 1410, GEOL 1420, GEOL 1560, GEOL 1650, a field course

Or the climate science theme:

  1.  
    •  
      • GEOL 0240
      • One of: GEOL 1510, GEOL 1520
      • Three from**: GEOL 1130, GEOL 1310, GEOL 1330, GEOL 1510, GEOL 1520, a field or sea course
    • One of: PHYS 0050, PHYS 0070, ENGN 0040
    • One of**: PHYS 0060, ENGN 0310, ENGN 0810
  1.  
    • Two of**: PHYS 0470, PHYS 0500, PHYS 1600, ENGN 0510, ENGN 0810, ENGN 1370, GEOL 1820 (ENGN 0810 or GEOL 1820 recommended for climate science theme)
  1.  
    • Three courses in mathematics, including APMA 0330 or APMA 0340
    • CHEM 0330 (or advanced placement)
  1.  
    • Two additional courses from upper level geological sciences, mathematics, or supporting sciences with approval from the departmental concentration advisor*
    • GEOL 1970 (Senior Research Thesis)

 

*In addition to courses listed elsewhere in the Geology-Physics/Math concentrations, these courses are of particular relevance: GEOL 0810, GEOL 1320, GEOL 1370, GEOL 1710, GEOL 1960A.

**One course cannot be used to satisfy two requirements.

 

These concentration guidelines apply to all students in the Class of 2017 and beyond.  For exceptions please consult with the concentration advisor.

page updated March 22, 2016