Geoscience and Society


Geoscience and Society Major

“This BA degree was intentionally crafted for the student who has a love of planet Earth but doesn’t necessarily want to be a geologist, in the traditional sense. It is a great option for students who don’t want to take the full slate of math and foundational science that our BS tracks require, and instead take social science classes to begin building a foundation in a potential career area such as law, public policy, or journalism."

- Dr. Jessica Kapp, Associate Professor of Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Geosciences

About the Major

A newly created BA program, this degree focuses on the intersection of humans and earth, building a strong geoscience foundation while concentrating on one of three social science areas: Science Communication, Law, or Public Policy. These tracks combine an appropriate set of required Geoscience and related science courses with a set of required social science classes. It is for students interested in Geoscience in a more broad sense with less math and science requirements than BS tracks. For those interested taking the Law or Policy tracks, the required Geoscience classes cover subject matter that is regularly involved in current legal or policy matters, such as climate change and natural resources. The Geoscience focus of the Science Communication track is slightly different, to also include subjects of considerable public interest, such as paleontology, which are less likely to be of concern to policy makers and the law. Curricular requirements in this degree allow for more flexibility in a student’s pursuit of other interests, with plenty of open elective credits to provide the opportunity for double-majoring, minoring, or simply exploring other course work to enhance one’s educational experience, career training, or preparation for graduate studies. The degree is open to all students, with no minimum GPA or other academic restrictions. 


Jessica Kapp -  Associate Professor of Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Geosciences

Uphaar Dooling -  Sr. Undergraduate Academic Advisor

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: None

Foundation: *NOTE Prerequisites = UA standard math requirements

  • Choose ONE: MATH 163 or MATH 263
  • Choose ONE: GEOS 280; GEOS 285; MATH 107; MATH 108; MATH 112; MATH 113; MATH 121A; MATH 121B; MATH 122A; MATH 122B; or MATH 125
  • Choose ONE: CHEM 130; CHEM 141; CHEM 151; CHEM 161; PHYS102; PHYS 141, PHYS 161H

Geoscience Core: *NOTE Minimal prerequisites and can be taken out of order

  • GEOS 251
  • GEOS 255 or GEOS 260
  • GEOS 300; or GEOS308
  • GEOS 342 or 346
  • GEOS 412A (1 yr science)
  • GEOS 478 (upper division standing plus intro class in bio or phys sci)

Elective CORE Courses: *NOTE Minimal prerequisites and can be taken out of order


Elective TRACK Courses:

  • Law Track
    • Choose FOUR: LAW 303; LAW 407; LAW 411; LAW445; LAW454; LAW459; LAW460; LAW489A; GEOG 462 (=ENVS); RNR 480
  • Science Communication Track
    • Choose FOUR: SCI 401; JOUR305; JOUR 455; JOUR 465; JOUR 472; ENGL 302; ENGL 308; ENGL 313; COMM 325
  • Public Policy Track
    • Choose FOUR: POL 301; POL 373; POL 401; POL 404; POL 409; POL 424A; LAW 454

Geoscience and Society Electives: *NOTE Can double dip ONE Geoscience General Education course (100-200 level) for one of these electives

  • Choose TWO: GEOS 300; GEOS 302; GEOS 304; GEOS 306; GEOS 308; GEOS 342; GEOS 346; GEOS388; GEOS 403; GEOS 411; GEOS 412A; GEOS 415; GEOS 439A (=ANTH, GEOG, WSM); GEOS 453; ANTH 301; ANTH 307; ANTH 332; ANTH 512A; EVS 304 (=GEOG); EVS 461; EVS 468 (=GEOG); GEOG 362 (=ENVS); GEOG 416A; GEOG 530; GEOG (RNR)403; GEOG(RNR) 417; GEOS 330 (=GEOG,ENVS,GEN,GIST,SW,SWES,WSM)


Career Opportunities


  • Municipal Government/Planning
  • Environmental Law
  • Land Use and Water Law
  • Geological Hazard Mitigation
  • Scientific Advisor to Law Firm or Venture Capital Firm


  • Science Education Outreach
  • K-12 Education
  • Press management for Science Institutions and Museums
  • Science Journalism
  • Communication/PR Management


  • Environmental Policy
  • Urban Planning
  • Recreational Consultant
  • Environmental Educator
  • Environmental or Land Use Policy Analyst