Jun 22, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Earth Sciences Pathway Guide

Click here for more information about transferring to SMU.

Preparation for Transfer as an Earth Sciences Major

The following sequences are suggested courses to take in your semesters prior to transferring to SMU as an earth sciences major. For students attending a Texas public community college or university, Texas Common Course Numbers (TCCNS) are listed.  If you are transferring from a college or university outside of Texas, click on the SMU course for a course description which may be used to select/compare courses at your current institution.

UC listings refer to SMU’s University Curriculum, which all undergraduates are required to complete. Refer to the University Curriculum Transfer Guide for a list of courses satisfying UC components. Interactive equivalency guides organized by transfer institution are available on the Transfer and Transition Services’ website.

Save all of your course syllabi! 

Please note: These plans assume students are ready to take calculus. If you are not “calculus ready,” take math courses to prepare you for calculus so that you advance to calculus as soon as possible. Also, if you are planning a minor, typically only one or two transfer courses will be applied.

B.S. in Earth Sciences

Semester I

Semester II

Semester III

Semester IV

B.A. in Earth Sciences

Semester I

Semester II

Semester III

Semester IV


*The second language requirement may be satisfied by (1) transferring two terms of college courses in the same world language, (2) placing out of four terms of a world language by taking an SMU placement test or through AP or IB credit, or (3) being literate in a native language other than English.

Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences

The Earth Sciences major helps students ponder some of the most pressing issues of our day, including climate change, natural resources and hazards. The study of the Earth places the consequences of our activities, such as pollution, land use, resource exploitation and population growth, into the greater framework of Earth history and planetary evolution.

With funding from organizations such as the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy and the National Science Foundation, SMU’s Earth Sciences program  has achieved international recognition in the research areas of seismology, geothermal studies and paleoclimatology.

The Hamilton Visiting Scholar in Geophysics Endowment

The visiting scholar program, made possible through the generosity of Geotech CEO Jack Hamilton, brings cutting edge scientists to SMU each semester to discuss the latest developments in earth sciences research.  Speakers include geophysicists, professors and other professionals representing institutions such as the Smithsonian, the U.S. Geological Survey and leading colleges and universities worldwide.  Hamilton’s gift also gives SMU students access to and use of some of the most high-tech seismic equipment currently available.

Earth Sciences Resources

The depth of Earth Sciences’ commitment to research is evident in the breadth of its resources.  Those include the Shuler Museum of Paleontology, which houses fossil collections of vertebrates, invertebrates and plants for teaching and research, as well as the SMU Geothermal Laboratory and Geophysics Research Archives. 

Degrees Offered in Earth Sciences

Two majors and two minors are offered by the department:

Earth Sciences, B.S.   (36-39 hrs)
Earth Sciences, B.A.   (37-41 hrs)
Minor in Geology  (17-18 hrs)
Minor in Environmental Earth Sciences  (17-18 hrs)   

The B.S. in Earth Sciences can be completed with concentrations in Geology, Geophysics or Environmental and Resource Science.

The B.A. in Earth Science can be completed with concentrations in Geology or Environmental Studies.

Participation in a recognized geology summer field camp is strongly recommended for all majors.   Most earth sciences graduate programs in the United States require a field course.

Experience with a modern scientific computing language is essential. This experience can be gained in a course such as GEOL 3359 - Computer Methods in Earth Sciences .

The requirements for the major are considered minimal. Students planning careers in the earth sciences should take additional course work according to the emphasis that best fits their goals.

Preparing for a Smooth Transition

A seamless transfer to SMU and the Earth Sciences program requires planning. This guide is designed to assist you in planning your transition. Taking the time to prepare for your move lays the best foundation for success. The following are a few important points to remember:

  • The second language requirement of the University Curriculum may be satisfied by 1) transferring two terms of college courses in the same world language, 2) placing out of four terms of world language by taking an SMU placement test or through AP or IB credit, or 3) being literate in a native language other than English.
  • SMU accepts AP scores of 4 or 5.
  • Work on the University Curriculum prior to transfer is highly encouraged.
  • Compare Course Descriptions found in SMU’s University Catalog to course descriptions at your current institution to maximize your awarded transfer credits.
  • For additional information on Earth Sciences majors, visit the department homepage or call 214-768-2750
  • For more information about transferring to SMU, click here or call 214-768-3417.

SMU Degree

A degree from SMU is typically comprised of a minimum of 122 hours, 60 of which must be completed through SMU, 42 of which must be in courses at the 3000 and higher levels. Components of the degree include:

  • Courses in your major
  • Courses required for the University Curriculum (UC) 
  • Elective courses.  These electives may also be used to add a second major or minor.  Common minors for economics majors include business, history, international studies, psychology and Spanish. 

The University Curriculum (UC)

The University Curriculum is required of all undergraduate students and consists of three main components: 

  1. Foundations - 6 hours of Discernment and Discourse courses, 3 hours of Quantitative Foundation courses, 2 hours of Personal Responsibility and Wellness courses, proficiency in a second language and 3 hours of a Ways of Knowing course (offered only at SMU)
  2. Breadth and Depth - 7 Breadth and 3 Depth courses which may double count with majors and minors
  3. Proficiencies and Experiences - 6 Proficiencies and Experiences requirements, met through Breadth and Depth coursework or approved, noncredit activities.

Apply Now!

Click here for more information about transferring to SMU.