rock formation


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.

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Math Sciences Division

Interim Dean, Rick Hicks

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

Associate In Science Degree In Geology For Transfer

Required courses

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:

1. 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.

2. Describe the processes of plate tectonics as it relates to mountain building events, volcanoes, earthquakes, and evolution of landscapes.

3. Define the processes of mineral and rock formation and the importance of economic resources.

4. Evaluate geologic landscapes and structures, such as faults, folds and the physical forces required to develop a geologic landscape.

5. Relate geologic time and the fossil record to past climates and the tectonic and ecological environments responsible for the formation of the Earth.

6. 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


GEOL G110 – Physical Geology– 4 units

GEOL G120 – Historical Geology  – 4 units

CHEM G180 – General Chemistry A – 5 units

CHEM G185 – General Chemistry B – 5 units

MATH G180 – Calculus 1 – 5 units

MATH G185 – Calculus 2 – 5 units

Major total: 28

Total units that may be double-counted: 9

CSU General Education Breadth or IGETC Pattern: 37-39

Transferable Electives (as needed to reach 60 units): 2-4

DEGREE TOTAL UNITS (maximum): 60 units

( ) Description in parentheses indicates credit earned in AST

View all GWC courses

GEOLOGY G105 – 3 Units

Course Outline

General Geology

This is a course designed specifically for non-science majors desiring a three unit non-laboratory survey course in geology. The Scientific Method is used to illustrate the discovery of natural physical processes on Earth. Content includes aspects of geology with emphasis on recent discoveries of plate tectonics and the movement of continents. Students will study topics such as important minerals, rock classification, mountain building and interior processes responsible for landscape development. This course will also cover historical topics such as the geologic time scale, the fossil record and evolution of life from marine organisms to land plants and animals. The latter portion of the course covers environmental geology with the impacts humans have on Earth and how the Earth impacts humans through landslides, flash floods, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. UC credit limitations: No credit if taken after Geology G110. Lecture. Letter grade only. Transferable to CSU; UC.

GEOLOGY G106 – 4 Units

Course Outline

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

Physical Geology

(Formerly known as: Geology G100)

This is a course designed for non-science and science majors desiring a four unit course with a laboratory. The Scientific Method is used to illustrate the discovery of natural physical processes on Earth. Content includes the formation of mountain ranges, volcanoes ocean basins and plate tectonics. Students will study minerals and the rock cycle with igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The geologic time scale is employed to illustrate the fossil record and evolution of life from early marine organisms to land plants and animals. Once an understanding of basic process of the Earth is understood the focus of the course will cover the impacts humans have on Earth and how the Earth impacts humans through landslides, flash floods, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. The laboratory consists of hands on exercises, which supplements lecture material and field trips to local geologic formations during class time. C-ID GEOL 101. Lecture & lab. Letter grade only. Transferable to CSU; UC.

GEOLOGY G120 – 4 Units

Course Outline

Historical Geology

An introduction to the development of the Earth through time. This course utilizes the scientific method to understand the geologic evolution of land forms such as mountains, oceans, canyons, faults and the tectonic development of the Earth. This course examines how tectonic activity shaped landscapes, climate and the development of life, which started in the ocean and evolved onto land. The geologic time scale is used to understand plant and animal evolution, extinctions and how modern plant and animal forms developed. 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