rock formation
Math Sciences Division

Jeff Courchaine, Dean

For more information contact:
The Division Office


This program qualifies for GWC's 2-year completion guarantee!


Geologists study the Earth’s processes, physical history, and natural composition by examining natural matter, such as plant fossils, rocks, oceans, minerals and the atmosphere. Geology careers are often specialized, and job titles represent your area of expertise. For example, you may become a glacial geologist, specializing in glaciers, or a volcanologist with an expertise in volcanoes. Examples of other specialized job titles include petroleum geologist (oil and natural gas), hydrologist (water), mineralogist (minerals) and paleontologist (fossils).

Geologists often have a mixture of fieldwork, laboratory and office duties. For example, they may collect rock or ocean water samples from remote locations and then analyze them in the lab using technology such as electron microscopes. Geologists may also use remote sensing or radar equipment to explore beneath the Earth’s surface. Responsibilities may include using data analysis and modeling software and creating scientific reports, maps, and charts.

Associate In Science Degree In Geology For Transfer

Required courses | Semester at a Glance

Associate In Science Degree In Geology For Transfer

The Associate in Science in Geology transfer degree focuses on an understanding of internal processes responsible for the formation of the Earth from a scientific perspective. Students choosing the geology degree program will study a range of natural science concepts including plate tectonics, climate change, and the evolution of the dynamic planet Earth. This degree employs the scientific method to understand the formation of the Earth, including how volcanoes, and mountain building events change the geography and ecosystems of the Earth. Students will explore geologic time as it relates to the origins, and evolution of life through the fossil record. An understanding of the formation of economically important mineral and fossil fuel resources is an important aspect of the degree program. A portion of this course will focus on the diverse California geology and coastal development. Completion of this major will provide students with a well-rounded understanding of human impacts on the globe and the ways geologic hazards such as earthquakes, floods, and landslides impact human development.

Program Level Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Define the application of the scientific method to geology and the forces, which allows scientists to develop theories of the natural forces that shape the evolving Earth.
  • Describe the processes of plate tectonics as it relates to mountain building events, volcanoes, earthquakes, and evolution of landscapes.
  • Define the processes of mineral and rock formation and the importance of economic resources.
  • Evaluate geologic landscapes and structures, such as faults, folds and the physical forces required to develop a geologic landscape.
  • Relate geologic time and the fossil record to past climates and the tectonic and ecological environments responsible for the formation of the Earth.
  • Study past climates both warmer, and cooler than current conditions, and how ice ages impacted climate and shaped landscapes.

This is the major pattern for students planning to transfer to a CSU. It is strongly recommended that students contact a GWC counselor to develop an official Student Educational Plan to discuss non-CSU universities, or if they have questions about the CSU AS in Geology for CSU Transfer.

Required courses

Geology G110 – Physical Geology Lecture and Lab – 4 units
Geology G120 – Historical Geology Lecture and Lab – 4 units
Chemistry G180 – General Chemistry and Lab – 5 units
Chemistry G185 – General Chemistry II and Lab – 5 units
Math G180 – Calculus 1 – 5 units
Math G185 – Calculus 2 – 5 units

Total units: 28

Semester at a Glance – Associate In Science Degree In Geology For Transfer

Semester 1
Math 180 (Core) – Calculus I – 5 units
Chem 180 (Core) – General Chemistry A – 5 units
General Education – TBD

Semester 2
Chemistry 185 (Core) – General Chemistry B – 5 units
Math 185 (Core) – Calculus II – 5 units
General Education – TBD

Semester 3
Geology 110 (Core) – Physical Geology – 4 units
General Education – TBD

Semester 4
Geology 120 (Core) – Spring only – Historical Geology – 4 units
General Education – TBD

Major total: 28 units
Total units that may be double-counted: 9 units
CSU General Education Breadth or IGETC Pattern: 37-39 units
Transferable Electives (as needed to reach 60 transferable units): 2-4 units
DEGREE TOTAL UNITS (maximum): 60 units

( ) Description in parentheses indicates credit earned in AAT.

Click here to view all courses

GEOLOGY G105 – 3 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
General Geology
This is a course designed specifically for non-science majors desiring a three unit non-laboratory survey course in geology. Including an introduction the Scientific Method and how it applies to natural processes on Earth. Content includes coverage of both the physical and historical aspects of geology with emphasis on recent discoveries of plate tectonics. Students will study topics from physical geology such as minerals, rock classification, surface processes, structure and interior processes responsible for landform development. This course will also cover historical topics such as the geologic time scale, fossil record, Earth’s history and evolution of life from marine organisms to land plants and animals. UC credit limitations: No credit if taken after Geology G110. Lecture. Letter grade only. Transferable to CSU; UC.

GEOLOGY G106 – 4 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Earth Science for Teachers
This lecture/laboratory study of introductory Earth Science includes physical and historical geology, physical oceanography, and meteorology, planetary science and astronomy. The Scientific Method will be employed in relation to Earth Science. The subjects covered are part of the state of California science standards for K-12 classes. Emphasis will be placed on how these topics should be addressed by teachers within the California Science Framework. A field trip will be required. C-ID: GEOL 121 Lecture & lab. Letter grade only. Transferable to CSU; UC. Offered fall semester only.

GEOLOGY G110 – 4 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Physical Geology
(Formerly known as: Geology G100)
An introductory survey of physical geology and the scientific method. This course includes the internal and surface processes responsible for shaping the Earth and formation of natural resources and geologic landscapes. Past and present geologic processes such as mountain building, climate change, and the evolution of life in the fossil record will be covered. Resource extraction, identification of minerals and rocks with the natural processes are covered in lecture and laboratory work. Recognition of geologic hazards both natural and human caused. Utilizing Geographical Information Systems (GIS), maps, digital satellite images are included in laboratory work. C-ID GEOL 101 Lecture & lab. Letter grade only. Transferable to CSU; UC.

GEOLOGY G120 – 4 Units
Course Outline (opens new window)
Historical Geology
Advisories: Completion of a high school or college level course in general geology, geology for non-science majors, or geology for teachers. Students who completed high school geology should have done so within the past two years.
This course utilizes the scientific method to understand the geologic and biological evolution of the Earth over geologic time. The tectonic process responsible for mountain building will be used to study the evolution of life and climate cycles, which resulted in diverse geologic and biological settings. The geologic time scale will be employed to understand the stratigraphic sequence of sedimentary rocks and the fossil sequences in rocks . The lab portion will be used to identify mineral, rocks and fossils as they relate the fauna of the geologic and climate setting of the period. C-ID: GEOL 111 Lecture & lab. Letter grade only. Transferable to CSU; UC. Offered spring semester only.

The Associate in Arts Degree for Transfer (AA-T) in Geology will transfer to the following California State Universities:

CSU Bakersfield
CSU Chino
CSU Dominguez Hills
CSU East Bay
CSU Fullerton
CSU Humbolt
CSU Long Beach
CSU Los Angeles
CSU Northridge
CSU Sacramento
CSU San Bernadino
CSU San Diego
CSU San Francisco
CSU San Jose
CSU Sonoma
CSU Stanislaus

The list of CSU campuses for this major was provided by the California State University’s A Degree with a Guarantee website:

Most of the courses in this program also transfer to the University of California (UC) System and Private Universities. Please see your GWC Counselor early in your studies to choose the transfer option that is right for you.

Geology and Geosciences is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the United States and throughout the world.

Remediation / Compliance

Oil and Gas Exploration

Surface and Ground Water

Mineral Exploration and Extraction

Extraction of Economic Resources

Exploration of the Oceans

Climate Change

Past life forms Dinosaurs/Ocean life

Rocks and Resources

Solar System and Extraterrestrial

Structure of the Earth Faults/Mountains

Earthquake Monitoring and Prediction

Preservation of Soils

Urban Design and Analysis

Bud Benneman
Instructor, Geology
B.S., M.S., University of Nevada Las Vegas