Jul 20, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 

Earth and Environmental Science Major (BS)

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Please see the UNLV College of Sciences, Geoscience department web page at http://www.unlv.edu/degree/bs-geology for information about department programs, faculty and facilities. Degree worksheets and 4/5 year plan for the major are available at https://www.unlv.edu/degree/bs-geology

Please see advising information at the UNLV College of Science Advising at www.unlv.edu/sciences/advising.


Institution - Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities www.nwccu.org

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Geology program students will be:

  1. Identify common rock-forming minerals in hand specimen and thin section, major rock types and will be able to describe the conditions under which each of them formed. This will include being able to describe the chemical characteristics of various types of rocks, geologic influences on environmental pollutants, and the use of stable and radiogenic isotopes as environmental tracers and tools in dating rocks and water.
  2. Identify the common types of invertebrate and vertebrate fossils, their approximate age, and the environments in which they lived, and have a grounding in the historical development of the field of geology.
  3. Recognize, in the field, various types of geologic structures, and be able to use these to reconstruct the structural history of a region.
  4. Describe the major processes that determine the characteristics of the earth’s surface, and be able to examine a landscape and interpret its geomorphic history.
  5. Describe the plate-tectonic history of the earth (when various supercontinents assembled and fragmented), the relationship between plate tectonic processes and mountain building, and the types of data that are used to reconstruct the position of a particular plate in the geologic past.
  6. Describe the regional stratigraphic framework of the Southern Nevada region; they will also be able to go into a new region that has a well-exposed stratigraphic record, and reconstruct the sedimentological history of the region.
  7. Be facile in computer applications in geology including spatial and imagery analysis applications, quantitative skills, and express themselves well in oral and written reports.
  8. Apply the techniques of at least two specializations within the field of geology (e.g., geophysics, hydrogeology, GIS, geochronology, petroleum geology) to the solution of appropriate research or applied problems.
  9. Able to demonstrate the ability to function independently, collaboratively, and ethically with others in the profession as colleagues and supervisors.
  10. Demonstrate the ability to enter a new field area, construct a geologic map on a topographic base, interpret the geologic history of the area, and write a professional quality report on the geology of the area. This learning objective comprises the Capstone experience for this degree program and is fulfilled through the summer field geology course. It also includes the ability to recognize, formulate, employ, and interpret the scientific methodology, and employ critical thinking skills. Many other learning outcomes for this degree program are also reinforced through this capstone experience (For instance, outcomes 1-5, and 9).

University Graduation Requirements

Transfer Policy

Biology, chemistry, physics and math transfer courses will be accepted to fill specific degree requirements only with a grade of C or better.

Earth and Environmental Science Degree Requirements - Total: 120 Credits

General Education Requirements - Subtotal: 33-36 Credits

First-Year Seminar - Credits: 2-3

 (see note 1 below)

English Composition - Credits: 6

Second-Year Seminar - Credits: 3

Constitutions - Credits: 4-6

Mathematics - Credits: (Fulfilled by Major Requirements)

Distribution Requirement: 18 Credits

Please see Distribution Requirements  for more information.

  • Humanities and Fine Arts: 9 Credits
    • Two courses 3 credits each from two different humanities areas - 6 credits
    • One course in fine arts- 3 credits
  • Social Science: 9 Credits
    • One course each from three different fields.
  • Life and Physical Sciences and Analytical Thinking:
    • Automatically satisfied by Major requirement

Multicultural and International

Multicultural, one 3 credit course required
International, one 3 credit course required

These courses may overlap with general education and major requirements. A single course may not meet the multicultural and international requirements simultaneously. For the list of approved multicultural and international courses, go to: http://facultysenate.unlv.edu/students

Major Requirements - BS in Earth and Environmental Science - Subtotal: 87-90

Total Credits: 120


  1. It is strongly recommended that students take SCI 101 to satisfy the First Year Seminar requirement.
  2. Students must complete 40 upper-division credits (satisfied by the degree requirements in the major).


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