Apr 17, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Earth Sciences, B.A.

Earth science is an interdisciplinary, applied science that explains how Earth’s interior, surface, and atmospheric processes operate in interconnected ways with each other and with life on spatial scales from microscopic to global and on temporal scales from fractions of a second to millions of years. Thus, the Earth sciences must be approached in an interdisciplinary manner in both the classroom and the field. The B.A. in Earth sciences includes a set of core courses that provide students with the necessary background in geology, chemistry, and physics or biology. Specializations in geology, environmental studies, and unique student-designed concentrations established with faculty approval near completion of the core, are available. The B.A. in Earth sciences pairs well with majors and minors across the university and provides a strong science-based major for those in preprofessional programs.

SMU Degree Requirements

An SMU undergraduate degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours and must include completion of the University’s Common Curriculum , one major and a combination of electives and/or other majors or minors. Completion of certain majors requires more than 120 hours to finish the degree. The credit hours within this curriculum are distributed as follows:

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 41 credit hours with at least 25 credit hours in the Earth sciences. The number of support courses and total number of credit hours will depend on the specialization.

Environmental Studies Specialization (25 Credit Hours)

Geology Specialization (25 Credit Hours)

Self-Designated Concentration

A minimum of 25 credit hours of additional advanced elective courses at the 3000 level and above , not to exceed 12 credit hours outside of Earth sciences. The concentration plan must be approved by the department academic adviser at least one academic year prior to expected graduation.

Total for the Major Only: 41-42 Credit Hours


  • Experience with a modern scientific computing language and geographic information systems is essential and can be gained in a course such as GEOL 3359 - Computer Methods in Earth Sciences .
  • The requirements for the Earth sciences major are considered minimal. Students planning careers in the Earth sciences should take additional coursework according to the geoscience emphasis that best fits their goals. Students should consult a faculty adviser for suggestions.