Geology 101 and 108 students on a field trip to Johnston Ridge Observatory, Mount St. Helen'sGeology

Geology is the science that studies the Earth’s physical structure and substances, the history of rocks, the processes that act on them and the most economic way to use the world’s resources. Geology involves methods and knowledge from biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.

A strong core of comprehensive geology courses prepares you for further study in a variety of earth sciences, including geosciences, geophysics, and oceanography.

Potential employers include:

  • Environmental agencies and consultancies
  • Oil, gas, petroleum, groundwater, civil engineering and construction companies
  • Waste management agencies
  • Government organizations
  • Museums.

Geology Education Plan

Degree: Associate in Science
Geology, Environmental Geosciences, Geophysics, Oceanography 

First Year  
Fall Quarter
  • CHEM& 161 General Chemistry w/Lab I - 6 credits
  • ENGL& 101 English Composition I - 5 credits
  • GEOL& 101 Introduction to Physical Geology
Winter Quarter
  • CHEM& 162 General Chemistry w/Lab II - 6 credits
  • CMST& 220 Public Speaking* - 5 credits
  • MATH& 151 Calculus I - 5 credits
Spring Quarter
  • CHEM& 163 General Chemistry w/Lab III - 6 credits
  • MATH& 152 Calculus II - 5 credits
  • Health and Fitness Distribution - 3 credits

* Some four-year institutions require physics with calculus.

Second Year  
Fall Quarter
  • GEOL& 102 Physical Geology II OCEA& 101 Introduction to Oceanography - 5 credits
  • PHYS& 221 Engineering Physics I** - 5 credits
  • Humanities OR Social Science Distribution - 5 credits
Winter Quarter
  • GEOL& 103 Historical Geology w/Lab - 5 credits
  • MATH& 146 Introduction to Statistics OR MATH& 163 Calculus III - 5 credits
  • PHYS& 222 Engineering Physics II** - 5 credits
Spring Quarter
  • PHYS& 223 Engineering Physics III** - 5 credits
  • GEOL 108 Natural Hazards & Catastrophes OR GEOL& 208 Geology of the Pacific Northwest - 5 credits
  • Social Science Distribution - 5 credits

** Although the Biology (for majors) sequence can be substituted to complete your AS degree, most baccalaureate institutions require physics with calculus sequence.

GEOL 100 - Geology for Engineering & Environmental Studies

Explore minerals and rocks, geological processes, and geological investigation techniques that relate to geotechnical and environmental concerns.

GEOL& 101 - Intro Physical Geology

Explore and recognize earth materials, processes and structures within a plate tectonics framework; origin and structure of the Earth, rocks and minerals, geologic time, earthquakes and volcanoes, ocean basins, formation of landscapes, special topics.

GEOL 102 - Physical Geology II

Introduces the processes that shape the landscape. Includes the study of mass wasting, river dynamics, groundwater sources, glacial landforms, deserts, and coastal processes. One or more field trips may be required. Includes lab. Prerequisite: MATH 098

GEOL& 103 - Historical Geology w/Lab

Evolution of Earth and life as interpreted through the fossil and rock record. Includes fossils, relative and numerical-age dating, stratigraphic principles, global change, and the geologic history of the North American continent. Includes lab.

GEOL 108 - Natural Hazards and Catastrophes

An examination of earth materials and processes through the study of earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and meteorite impacts. Examination of causes and effects on human populations and the environment; preparedness, prediction and forecasting; mitigation of risks, and case studies.

GEOL 180 - Cascade and Plateau Geology

Students will explore the geology of a selected area of interest, for example, Hawaii, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, Cascades, Yellowstone, Tetons, Southwest Deserts, etc.

GEOL& 208 - Geology of Pacific NW

Examines the geology and geologic history of the Pacific Northwest and geologic processes important to its evolution. Topics include volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics, rock and minerals, faults and folds, mountain building, landforms, glaciation, and surface processes.

GEOL 270 - Research in Geology

Design a research project, set up experiments, collect data in the lab or in the field, and/or analyze data. Each credit hour requires 33 hours of activity per quarter. Prerequisite: instructor permission.

There are many transfer possiblities for geology, including environmental geology and geoscience, pollution control, glacial geology, geological surveying, water supplies, engineering geology, ground investigation, geochemistry, volcanology, field seismology, and geotechnical engineering. 


Michelle Harris (she/her/hers)
Assistant Professor of Geosciences
Office: WSC 318-F
Email Michelle Harris