Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Shannon Dalton
Webb Hall 1006

Questions? Need an appointment?
Phone: (805) 893-4831
Fax: (805) 893-2314

Advising Hours
Monday - Friday
9am - 12pm & 1pm - 4pm

Appointments Strongly Recommended


Undergraduate Program Faculty Advisor: Phil Gans

Advisors by Emphasis:
Geology: Phil Gans, Matt Rioux, and Alex Simms

Climate and Environment: David Lea and Syee Weldeab
Paleobiology: Andy Wyss and Susannah Porter
Geophysics: Zach Eilon and  Chen Ji
Geohydrology: Jordan Clark and Alex Simms
Creative studies: Bruce Tiffney




FAQs about the Major


Our Philosophy

We like to think that our department is different in its approach to undergraduate students. We lavish extraordinary attention on each and every undergrad, and love to involve promising undergraduate students in our cutting-edge research, be it in our labs, in Antarctica, or on the shores of Fiji in the South Pacific.

At the heart of our undergraduate program is a strong commitment to personal, comprehensive advising and monitoring of our students. The advising team consists of the undergraduate program assistant and five faculty members (two involved in general advising and one for each emphasis).

Earth 18 field trip to Death Valley Fall 2012 
Earth 18 field trip to Death Valley Fall 2012
(photo credit: Andy Wyss)

After an initial consultation with an advisor, all students are given personal mailboxes in the department office and an account on the department server. The department is strongly committed to one-on-one student/faculty/staff interaction and feel that this "hands on" approach to education makes our Earth Science Undergraduate experience quite unique.

Earth Science sits at the intersection of the physical, chemical and life sciences. As a result, the Departmental goal is to produce graduates with a broad undergraduate education in the sciences, a firm grasp of geological principles and ideas, and an arsenal of intellectual and communication skills. Departmental requirements are organized toward the acquisition of basic knowledge, skills of observation, techniques of data collection and analysis, and training in objective reasoning, writing, and computer literacy.

The majority of our faculty (top researchers in their field) are deeply engaged in this process, personally teaching lectures, labs, and field trips, and mentoring research. The success of this approach is demonstrated when, armed with the broad range of skills learned in geology, our undergraduates find employment in a variety of fields. The vehicle for this training has been a strong emphasis on field experience; most of our majors complete at least three field courses as well as numerous trips attached to other courses.

Earth 18 field trip to Death Valley Fall 2012

Earth 18 field trip to Death Valley Fall 2012
(photo credit: Andy Wyss)

Majoring in Earth Science

Earth Science is the study of the earth — the study of its rocks, minerals, and records of ancient life, and of the physical, chemical, and biological processes, past and present, at work in the earth's interior, on its surface, and within its envelope of water and air. The methods of geology are applicable to the study of the moon and the planets.

The undergraduate program in Earth Science provides the background in elementary geology, basic sciences, and mathematics necessary for graduate work in geology or closely related fields such as geophysics, geochemistry, paleobiology, or oceanography. In addition, the program retains the flexibility to permit preparation for eventual specialization in related fields. In consultation with an undergraduate advisor, students may develop individual programs tailored to their interests and career goals.

There are numerous career opportunities in the geological sciences in educational, governmental, and industrial organizations. Students with a Bachelors degree in earth science who are interested in pursuing a California Teaching Credential should contact the credential advisor in the Graduate School of Education as soon as possible.

Prospective students are required to confer with a department advisor before beginning a program in earth science. Students may correspond with advisors before they enter the university. The department offers a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science degree, which is the primary degree offered by the department, and a Bachelor of Arts in Earth Science (which requires more General Education and fewer Earth Science elective courses than the Bachelor of Science) and a Minor in Earth Science.


Muckers Coterie, the undergraduate club

At the heart of our undergraduate program is a strong commitment to personal, comprehensive advising and monitoring of our students.

Degree Requirements

The Earth Science undergraduate program offers a B.A., five B.S. degrees (five major emphases), a minor, and a five-year Bachelor/Masters degree.

Major Requirements

Major requirement sheets are available via the UCSB Registrar's Office. Students who declare the major are responsible for satisfying the major requirements in effect at the time of their declaration.

Pre-Earth Science Major

To be admitted to full major status, students must fulfill the pre-Earth Science course and grade-point average requirements as described in the General Catalog. At minimum, they must complete 5 designated courses from the pre-Earth Science major with a 2.3 or higher grade-point average.

(Requirements - PDF)

Bachelor of Science in Earth Science with Geology Emphasis
This is our primary major, it focuses on general geology and has an optional concentration in Engineering Geology.
(Requirements - PDF)

Bachelor of Science in Earth Science with Climate and Environment Emphasis
This major employs an integrated view of the earth as a dynamically linked system. Students take traditional geology courses while pursuing coursework in related disciplines, such as ocean, atmospheric, and earth-surface processes.
(Requirements - PDF)

Bachelor of Science in Earth Science with Geohydrology Emphasis
Study of the movement of water through geologic material and the resulting interactions with a focus on earth surface processes.
(Requirements - PDF)

Bachelor of Science in Earth Science with Paleobiology Emphasis
Paleobiology is the study of fossils as evidence for the patterns and processes of evolution over geological time. The paleobiologist seeks to understand the geological context in which a fossil is found and to interpret the biology of the fossil from a sound knowledge of living organisms.
(Requirements - PDF)

Bachelor of Science in Earth Science with Geophysics Emphasis
This major focuses on a quantitative and physical interpretation of Earth processes. Students in Geophysics take more courses in math and physics and fewer courses in earth materials and geologic field methods than do students in Geological Sciences.
(Requirements - PDF)

Bachelor of Arts in Earth Science
The B.A. degree requires more general education courses and fewer upper-division Geology courses than does the B.S. This major is appropriate for students pursuing a double major.
(Requirements - PDF)

Minor in Earth Science
The requirements for the minor are flexible, and we strongly suggest that students meet with the undergraduate assistant before planning their courses. This minor responds to a growing interest in geoscience, and the increasing importance of geoscience to political and social issues.
(Requirements - PDF)

Combined BS/MS Program in Earth Science
The Department of Earth Science at UCSB offers a Combined BS/MS degree program in Earth Science. The programs enable excellent undergraduates to obtain a Masters degree in a time-efficient manner.  Additional information is available on Graduate Division's  Combined Degree Programs website.  If you are interested or would like to inquire about the Combined Bachelors/Masters Program, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator