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Geological and Environmental Sciences

Disciplines within the geological and environmental sciences are directed toward understanding the terrestrial system from the core of the earth to beyond our solar system and conducting applied and basic research in an effort to understand physical processes on and within the earth and human influences that affect the environment.

Environmental science is the study of interactions within the earth’s biosphere, concentrating on natural and man-made perturbations such as pollution. Geology is the study of processes occurring in or on the earth.

The BS in Environmental Science prepares students for careers in areas such as pollution remediation, resource conservation, or environmental management, as well as providing a firm foundation for graduate studies. The B.S. in Geology prepares students for careers or graduate education in fields such as resource exploration, hydrogeology, or environmental geology.

Students who pursue a BS in Geosciences must choose an option. All options have fifteen core units in common. The science education option prepares students who are considering teaching science in secondary school. The option in hydrology provides a strong background in water processes, and is recommended for students interested in careers or graduate education in watershed management or restoration, or water contamination.

The MS in Geosciences or Environmental Science provides a framework for advanced study and research. A thesis is required, and students in the program may pursue any topic approved by a thesis committee. Some support for graduate students is available in the form of teaching or research assistantships.

Faculty and Facilities

In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the department, the faculty represent diverse academic areas, complemented by industrial experience. All have a strong commitment to excellence in teaching and engage in professional development.

Department equipment and facilities are extensive and include equipment for field and laboratory work in environmental science, geology, and hydrology/hydrogeology.

Academic Activities

Lecture courses are accompanied by laboratories and field trips. Internships and work experience are also available to supplement course work.

The Chico Geoscience Students (CGS) is an active organization open to all students. CGS typically hosts several field trips off campus each semester. Many majors are also members of national organizations such as the American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, and the Geological Society of America.

Career Outlook

Employment opportunities are very good. Our graduates work for agencies such as the California Department of Water Resources, the United States Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency, and many state agencies. Graduates are also employed by private companies specializing in such things as mineral and petroleum exploration, engineering or environmental consulting, and pollution remediation.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree find entry-level positions which require a working knowledge of the geological and environmental sciences and involve gathering and interpreting scientific data. Management and field-oriented research positions generally require a master’s degree. Students interested in basic research or a position at a community college or university are advised to plan on working toward a graduate degree. The career outlook for science teachers is excellent. Geosciences majors may enter the single subject creden-tial teaching program upon completion of their degree.

Department majors interested in maximizing their potential for graduate school or employment should discuss with their advisers suitable minors.