Majors & Minors

These requirements are from the 2019-20 Bulletin.

Geology Major

Geologists use a variety of observational and analytical tools to investigate the composition and structure of the Earth, with the objective of understanding how its features evolved over time. Planetary geologists may apply the same set of tools and principles to explore other objects in the solar system. Many geologists are employed by corporations or government agencies tasked with assessing natural hazards, natural resources, and the environment.

Required Courses

Core courses:

EPSc 201 Earth and the Environment
EPSc 352 Earth Materials
EPSc 353 Earth Forces
EPSc 437 Introduction to Petrology

Additional required coursework:

Chemistry 105 & 106 or Chemistry 111A & 112A
Physics 191 & 192
Math 131, 132, & 233

Capstone experience:

All majors are required to complete a capstone experience during their junior or senior year.

Field camp:

Students must complete an approved geology field camp worth at least 6 units of credit. The field camp must be attended during the summer, after either the junior or senior year. Students must take appropriate courses (usually listed by the camp) before attending the field camp. Summer field camp may count as Capstone.

Electives

Choose three of the following:

EPSc 361 Structural Geology
EPSc 385 Earth History
EPSc 409 Surface Processes
EPSc 413 Introduction to Soil Science
EPSc 422 Sedimentary Geology
EPSc 473 Planetary Geology
EPSc 496 Undergraduate Field Geology (may not also serve as capstone)

Choose one of the following:

EPSc 319 Physical Oceanography
EPSc 323 Biogeochemistry
EPSc 386 Earth's Climate System
EPSc 401 Earth Systems Science
EPSc 407 Remote Sensing
EPSc 408 Earth’s Atmosphere and Global Climate
EPSc 410 Remote Sensing Methods and Instrumentation
EPSc 428 Hydrology
EPSc 441 Introduction to Geochemistry
EPSc 444 Environmental Geochemistry
EPSc 446 Stable Isotope Geochemistry
EPSc 452 Introduction to Seismology
EPSc 453 Interior of the Earth
EPSc 454 Exploration and Environmental Geophysics
EPSc 459 Geodynamics
EPSc 474 Planetary Geochemistry
EPSc 486 Paleoclimatology

Geochemistry Major

Geochemistry applies knowledge of chemical systems to understand the Earth, the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Geochemists analyze elemental and isotopic abundances to understand physical chemical and biological processes occurring within the Earth system. Many geochemists are employed as consultants or in government agencies tasked with environmental assessment of soil, water, and air quality, as well as work in identifying and managing natural resources.

Required Courses

Core courses:

EPSc 201 Earth and the Environment
EPSc 352 Earth Materials
EPSc 353 Earth Forces
EPSc 441 Introduction to Geochemistry

Additional required coursework:

Chemistry 105 & 106 or Chemistry 111A & 112A
Physics 191 & 192
Math 131, 132, & 233
Math 217 or Math 309 or Math 2200 or Math 3200

Capstone experience:

All majors are required to complete a capstone experience during their junior or senior year.

Electives

Choose three of the following:

EPSc 323 Biogeochemistry
EPSc 401 Earth Systems Science
EPSc 444 Environmental Geochemistry
EPSc 445 Organic Geochemistry
EPSc 446 Stable Isotope Geochemistry
EPSc 474 Planetary Geochemistry
EPSc 486 Paleoclimatology
EPSc 511 Minerals in Aqueous Environments
EPSc 545 Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry
EPSc 569 Thermodynamics & Phase Equilibria
EPSc 571 Meteorites

Choose one of the following:

EPSc 319 Physical Oceanography
EPSc 361 Structural Geology
EPSc 385 Earth History
EPSc 386 Earth's Climate System
EPSc 407 Remote Sensing
EPSc 408 Earth’s Atmosphere and Global Climate
EPSc 409 Surface Processes
EPSc 410 Remote Sensing Methods and Instrumentation
EPSc 413 Introduction to Soil Science
EPSc 422 Sedimentary Geology
EPSc 428 Hydrology
EPSc 437 Introduction to Petrology
EPSc 452 Introduction to Seismology
EPSc 453 Interior of the Earth
EPSc 454 Exploration and Environmental Geophysics
EPSc 459 Geodynamics
EPSc 473 Planetary Geology
EPSc 496 Undergraduate Field Geology (may not also serve as capstone)

Geophysics Major

Geophysics is a subset of Earth and planetary science that uses quantitative tools from physics and math to understand the processes that control the evolution of the interior or the surface of a planet. A geophysicist might analyze seismic or satellite data, conduct laboratory experiments, or construct numerical models of complex systems. Many geophysicists are employed by exploration companies, by academic institutions, and by the government.

Required Courses

Core courses:

EPSc 201 Earth and the Environment
EPSc 352 Earth Materials
EPSc 353 Earth Forces

Additional required coursework:

Chemistry 105 & 106 or Chemistry 111A & 112A
Physics 191 & 192
Math 131, 132, & 233
Math 217
Math 309

Capstone experience:

All majors are required to complete a capstone experience during their junior or senior year.

Electives

Choose three of the following:

EPSc 319 Physical Oceanography
EPSc 386 Earth's Climate System
EPSc 407 Remote Sensing
EPSc 408 Earth’s Atmosphere and Global Climate
EPSc 410 Remote Sensing Methods and Instrumentation
EPSc 428 Hydrology
EPSc 452 Introduction to Seismology
EPSc 453 Interior of the Earth
EPSc 454 Exploration and Environmental Geophysics
EPSc 459 Geodynamics
EPSc 553 Geophysical Data Analysis
EPSc 558 Advanced Geodynamics
EPSc 561 Advanced Seismology
EPSc 570 Planetary Geophysics & Dynamics

Choose one of the following:

EPSc 323 Biogeochemistry
EPSc 361 Structural Geology
EPSc 385 Earth History
EPSc 401 Earth Systems Science
EPSc 409 Surface Processes
EPSc 413 Introduction to Soil Science
EPSc 422 Sedimentary Geology
EPSc 437 Introduction to Petrology
EPSc 441 Introduction to Geochemistry
EPSc 444 Environmental Geochemistry
EPSc 446 Stable Isotope Geochemistry
EPSc 473 Planetary Geology
EPSc 474 Planetary Geochemistry
EPSc 486 Paleoclimatology
EPSc 496 Undergraduate Field Geology (may not also serve as capstone)

Environmental Earth Sciences Major

Environmental Earth sciences (EES) is an interdisciplinary major that combines a solid background in Earth science with complementary breadth in other environmental disciplines, including anthropology and biology. Students completing the EES major often seek careers in academia, consulting firms, non-profits, or government agencies. Read more about WashU's Environmental Studies program.

Required Courses

Core courses:

Phil 235F Intro to Environmental Ethics or Pol Sci 2010 Intro to Environmental Policy
Biol 2950 Intro to Environmental Biology
EPSc 201 Earth and the Environment
EPSc 323 Biogeochemistry
EPSc 336 Minerals and Rocks in the Environment or EPSc 352 Earth Materials
EPSc 413 Intro to Soil Science or EPSc 422 Sedimentary Geology

Additional required coursework:

Chemistry 105 & 106 or Chemistry 111A & 112A
Physics 191
Math 131 & 132

Capstone experience:

All majors are required to complete a capstone experience during their junior or senior year.

Electives

Choose seven of the following, at least three from EPSc:

Anthro 3322 Brave New Crops
Anthro 361 Culture and Environment
Biol 2960 Principles of Biology I
Biol 2970 Principles of Biology II
Biol 349 Microbiology
Biol 381 Introduction to Ecology
Biol 419 Community Ecology
Biol 4193 Experimental Ecology Laboratory
Biol 4810 General Biochemistry I
ChemE 449 Sustainable Air Quality
Chem 261 Organic Chemistry I with Lab
Chem 401 Physical Chemistry I
Econ 451 Environmental Policy
EECE 210 Introduction to Environmental Engineering
EECE 518 Sustainable Air Quality
EECE 531 Environmental Organic Chemistry
EnSt 3068 An Inconvenient Truth: The Human History of Climate Change
EnSt 380 Applications in GIS
EnSt 405 Sustainability Exchange (may not also serve as capstone)
EnSt 539 Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic (may not also serve as capstone)
EPSc 219 Energy and the Environment
EPSc 308 Topics in Environmental Sustainability
EPSc 319 Physical Oceanography
EPSc 353 Earth Forces
EPSc 361 Structural Geology
EPSc 385 Earth History
EPSc 386 Earth's Climate System
EPSc 401 Earth Systems Science
EPSc 407 Remote Sensing
EPSc 408 Earth's Atmosphere and Global Climate
EPSc 409 Surface Processes
EPSc 428 Hydrology
EPSc 441 Introduction to Geochemistry
EPSc 444 Environmental Geochemistry
EPSc 445 Organic Geochemistry
EPSc 446 Stable Isotope Geochemistry
EPSc 454 Exploration and Environmental Geophysics
EPSc 486 Paleoclimatology
EPSc 496 Undergraduate Field Geology (may not also serve as capstone)
Math 217 Differential Equations
Math 2200 Elementary Probability and Statistics
Math 233 Calculus III
Math 309 Matrix Algebra
Math 3200 Statistics and Data Analysis
Pol Sci 332B Environmental and Energy Issues

Minor in Earth and Planetary Sciences

Because Earth and planetary sciences have natural links with many other disciplines, a minor is an attractive option for students majoring in a variety of other fields, such as biology, chemistry, economics, engineering, mathematics, and physics. The growing national concern for the natural environment and natural resources means that a minor in Earth and planetary sciences is also valuable professionally to students who intend to pursue these and other fields.

Required Courses

A minor in Earth and planetary sciences consists of at least 16 units of EPS courses, including:
EPSc 201 Earth and the Environment
EPSc 352 Earth Materials
EPSc 353 Earth Forces

One additional EPSc course numbered 300 or above, not including EPSc 390 and EPSc 490 Independent Study, is required.

Minor in Environmental Earth Sciences

The minor in environmental Earth sciences (EES) is an attractive option for students majoring in a variety of other fields. The growing national concern for the natural environment and natural resources means that an EES minor is also valuable professionally to students who intend to pursue these and other fields, including law and architecture. Following the philosophy of the EES major, the minor combines interdisciplinarity with a solid grounding in Earth science.  Read more about WashU's Environmental Studies program.

Required Courses

A minor in environmental Earth sciences consists of at least 16 units, including three core courses:

EPSc 201 Earth and the Environment
Biol 2950 Introduction to Environmental Biology
Pol Sci 2010 Introduction to Environmental Policy or Phil 235F Environmental Ethics

An additional three elective courses should be chosen from the list below.

Electives

In addition to three core courses, a minor in environmental Earth sciences includes at least three elective courses from the following list:

EPSc 308 Topics in Environmental Sustainability
EPSc 323 Biogeochemistry
EPSc 336 Minerals and Rocks in the Environment
EPSc 352 Earth Materials (5 credits, counts as 2 courses)
EPSc 353 Earth Forces
EPSc 385 Earth History
EPSc 386 Earth's Climate System
EPSc 401 Earth Systems Science
EPSc 413 Introduction to Soil Science
EPSc 428 Hydrology
EPSc 429 Environmental Hydrogeology
EPSc 430 Environmental Mineralogy
EPSc 441 Introduction to Geochemistry
EPSc 444 Environmental Geochemistry
EPSc 454 Exploration and Environmental Geophysics
EPSc 486 Paleoclimatology