This information is part of the Colgate University catalog, 2023–24.

Geology majors explore Earth systems and the environment, from the planet's rocky surface and interior, to water in the hydrosphere, climate and the atmosphere, and the interplay between the biosphere and abiotic systems. Geology is the scientific study of  Earth materials (such as minerals, rocks, and fossils) and planet-scale processes uncovered through Earth-observing data derived from satellites, geophysical instruments, and models. Geology coursework explains how past and present-day ecosystems and environments have been and continue to be shaped by plate tectonics, volcanism, mountain building, climate change, evolution, and human activity through time.

Major Requirements

The geology major typically starts with any  courses, which typically counts towards the major as one of the five (5) additional full-credit GEOL courses below.

All majors must complete the following set of requirements:

All of the Following

300-level Geology Electives

At least two courses from the following:

400-level Geology Electives

At least two courses from the following:

Two Additional Courses

Two full-credit courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics. , may be taken in place of one of the required biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics courses.  

Capstone Experience

The two required 400-level courses provide a capstone experience for the geology major, as all such courses involve a significant project that integrates hypothesis testing, data collection and/or analysis of existing data, literature review, and a final project that synthesizes this work. A senior thesis conducted with an Earth and Environmental Geosciences faculty member as an adviser through  may count as one of the required 400–level courses and is required for all geology honors candidates. Students can initiate a senior research project of interest by speaking directly to a faculty member about ideas for a research project or by consulting with a faculty member about a project that might arise from a summer internship, a summer employment experience, or be based on research initiated in a departmental course.  may not count towards the 400–level course requirement.

GPA Requirement

A GPA of 2.00 in the major is necessary for graduation. The ten full-credit courses that carry the highest grade are used to compute this average. A passing grade must be received in all courses counted toward the major.

Honors and High Honors

Students interested in pursuing honors can find the additional requirements on the  department page.

Earth and Environmental Geosciences Department

For more information about the department, including faculty, transfer credit, awards, etc., please visit the  department catalog page.