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ASSOCIATE DEGREE: Major Code 1914.00

CLASSES: See class schedule & catalog 


LEARN MORE about careers related to Geology.


(Major Code 1914.00)

GEOLOGY is an applied science that deals with materials that compose our planet Earth and forces and processes that affect it.

The Associate Degree program in Geology emphasizes meeting common lower-division requirements for this major. Students who wish to obtain an associate degree in Geology may do so by completing the course requirements listed below plus all other WLAC requirements for an associate degree.

Transfer students should consult the Counseling Office for major preparation and general education requirements of the particular transfer institution of their choice. Transfer students who want to also obtain an Associate Degree may do so by completing all WLAC general education requirements plus at least 18 units in the major as required by the transfer institution (a total of 60 units for an Associate Degree).


Associate in Arts Degree (40 units, Plan B)


  •  CHEM 101 General Chemistry I (5 units)
  •  CHEM 102 General Chemistry II (5 units)
  •  GEOLOGY 1 Physical Geology (3 units)
  •  GEOLOGY 6 Physical Geology Laboratory (2 units)
  •  MATH 261 Calculus I (5 units)
  •  MATH 262 Calculus II (5 units)
  •  PHYSICS 37 Physics for Engineers and Scientists I (5 units)
  •  PHYSICS 38 Physics for Engineers and Scientists II (5 units)
  •  PHYSICS 39 Physics for Engineers and Scientists III (5 units

During the current semester, the Geology program offers Physical Geology 1 (lecture) and Physical Geology 6 (Lab). Physical Geology 1 and Physical Geology 6 taken together fulfill a laboratory science course.

Brief descriptions of these two courses are given below.


Physical Geology 1

Physical Geology (Geology 1) is a 3 unit course that deals with materials that compose our planet Earth and forces and processes that affect it. The course includes a survey of minerals and rocks, a study of plate tectonics, the forces & processes that create volcanoes & earthquakes, a study of surface features created by streams, groundwater & landslides; concepts behind the formation of petroleum, coal & other useful mineral deposit such as gold, diamond, aluminum, copper, etc.; and the environmental impact of energy and mineral resources.


Textbook: Lutgens, F.K. & Tarbuck, E.J. (2012). Essentials of Geology, 11th ed.; PEARSON/Prentice Hall publishers; ISBN 978-0-321-71472-5 (print); ISBN- 978-0-321-74119-6 (eText).

Transfer:  CSU, UC

Prerequisite: None

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the origin of the planet Earth and cite evidence for its age; explain the role of plate tectonics in configuring the continents and oceans of our Planet; describe the principles of relative and absolute dating as applied to the study of Earth’s history.
  2. Describe processes of rock formation; identify the common minerals & rock types, and interpret the origin of rocks and their structures through observable facts.
  3. Explain the global and local distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes, and examine how plate tectonics is related to earthquakes.
  4. Discuss the processes of formation and distribution of energy, mineral, and water resources in global and local context.
  5. Discuss the impact of mining activities, mineral refining, and burning of fossil fuels on the environment.


Physical Geology 6 (Lab)

Geology 6 is a 2 unit laboratory course. It is an introduction to common laboratory and field practices in physical geology such as identifying common minerals and rocks, understanding topographic and geological maps, applications of plate tectonics; the geologic work of running (surface) and groundwater, and analyzing hazards related to earthquakes, volcanoes, and running water. Students planning to major in geology or those wanting to satisfy part of their general education requirements may take the course.

Textbook: Busch, R.M., ed. (2011). Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology. 9th Edition. American Geological Institute – National Association of Geoscience Teachers. PEARSON/Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-321-68957-3.

Transfer:  CSU, UC

Prerequisite/Co-requisite: Physical Geology (Geology 1) or concurrent enrollment in Physical Geology 1 (Geology 1).

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Identify common minerals & rocks on the basis of their physical properties; determine the relative and absolute ages of rocks.
  2. Analyze the role of plate tectonics in changing the sizes of the Earth’s continents and oceans; explain the relationships between plate tectonics and distribution of volcanoes and earthquakes; graph seismic data to locate the epicenter and to determine the magnitude of earthquakes.
  3. Analyze topographic and geologic maps to interpret the geologic and deformational history of an area.
  4. Analyze landforms formed by and hazards related to surface/running and groundwater.