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Geological Sciences (B. S. in Geological Sciences) [offered through Honors Tutorial College]

Program Overview

The HTC program in the Geological Sciences will offer high-achieving students curriculum in which to focus on geology and its allied sciences. After following courses in physical geology, historical geology, stratigraphy/sedimentology, geomorphology, igneous petrology, petrography, and structural geology, HTC students will take capstone courses in geodynamics, earth system science, and field camp in addition to chemistry, physics (or biology), and calculus requirements. Writing courses will enhance the scientific communication skills of the students. Students will work with professors in geology tutorials. This experience will then culminate in a bachelors thesis research project that will be presented at a geological meeting. Students would receive a Bachelor of Science degree from the Honors Tutorial College and be prepared for graduate study in any geologic discipline.


Students will be required to participate in eight tutorials (one for each semester enrolled in the program). In the final year, the tutorials will be dedicated to thesis work. Honors Tutorial students must take a minimum of 15 hours a semester.


Each student will meet with the Director of Studies regularly to assess progress in the program and to identify tutorial professors each semester. Tutorial professors will meet with students each week for a minimum of one hour to read and discuss papers or textbook extracts, covering the particular focus of the tutorial, as decided upon by professor and student. An undergraduate thesis adviser will be identified by the end of the first semester of the third year of study. A thesis committee of three professors, including the thesis advisor, will then be established and a thesis prospectus written and approved by the end of the second semester of the third year of study.


Research within the honors thesis research project will reflect the interests of the student and his/her thesis advisor. The thesis prospectus will be 10 pages long and must include an annotated bibliography with a minimum of 20 entries. It is expected that this research will be presented at a geology meeting venue as a poster or oral presentation. A high-quality publishable study with data collection is expected from an honors tutorial student.


Each honors tutorial student is expected to maintain a GPA of 3.5 or above. Tutorial grades will be evaluated based on assignments and quality of discussion with the tutorial professor. The Director of Studies will discuss progress within the program with the
honors tutorial student every semester.

Admissions Information

Freshman/First-Year Admission

Students will be selected by the Geological Sciences Honors Tutorial Committee, chaired by the Director of Studies, and the Honors Tutorial College on the basis of superior academic ability and the potential for self-motivated study and research. Applicants typically are required to submit additional essays, and an interview with the director of studies is required for admission. More information, including materials and deadlines, is available at Two recommendations from high school science teachers are strongly recommended. Aptitude for scientific investigation will be an important variable to consider for admission to the honors tutorial college program. 

Change of Program Policy

Transfer into this program by non-tutorial geology majors will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Admission into the program will be based on the same criteria for first-year admission.

External Transfer Admission

First-year students at another institution may also apply to transfer into the Geological Sciences Tutorial Program and the Honors Tutorial College. These students must meet the same entrance requirements as entering freshmen. 

Opportunities Upon Graduation

Students who complete the honors tutorial Geological Sciences program of study will be able to apply to top graduate schools for further study, especially PhD programs. Direct employment in industry or government agencies will also be possible, including the oil and gas industry, mining, and geological surveys.

Academic Catalog

The academic catalog provides additional information about curriculum and courses for this major.
Academic Catalog

Program Details

Bachelor of Science


Administrative Contact

Keith Milam, director of studies/contact person