Undergraduate Catalog

Undergraduate Programs

B.S. Geoscience

The B.S. in GEOSCIENCE program offers two areas of concentration and prepares recipients for a career as a professional geoscientist. Students completing either Bachelor of Science degree program possess the educational requirements to seek licensure as certified professional geologists.

  • The Geology concentration leads to occupations in geology, geochemistry, and the environmental industry as well as for studies toward advanced degrees. Its curriculum emphasizes depth in the traditional disciplines of geology including mineralogy, rock formation, paleontology, structural geology, and surface and tectonic processes.
  • The Earth Systems concentration is intended for students who want to concentrate on a broader understanding of geoscience and human interaction with the environment. This concentration is excellent preparation for students pursuing careers in fields such as resource management, environmental law, or environmental consulting. In addition to the geology core, students take required courses in oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy.

With a Bachelor of Science degree, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of fundamental geoscience content at a level comparable to a national sample of geosciences majors
  • Effective oral presentation skills, writing, and technological skills through performance assessments
  • Information literacy and critical thinking skills relevant to conducting research
  • Ability to collaborate and engage in mutually-beneficial relationships with peers and external stakeholders

BS Geoscience Hanbook
BS Geoscience Handbook
(click on handbook cover to download)

Degree Requirements

(120 semester hours)

Completion of all General Education Requirements (48 semester hours)

Concentration in Geology (24 semester hours)

  • Additional math and computer science requirements (6-7 semester hours)
    • MAT 143 or 161 and ESS 321 or IND 401 or GEO 324 or 325 or CSC 115 or higher
  • Required courses (9 semester hours)
    • ESS 201, 439, and ESS/BIO/ENV 102
  • Geology and astronomy electives at either the 200, 300, or 400 level (9 semester hours)

Concentration in Earth Systems (27 semester hours)

  1. Additional math requirement (3 semester hours)
    • MAT 115 or 131
  2. Additional science cognates (3 semester hours)
    • BIO 110 with a grade of C- or better
  3. Required courses (15 semester hours)
    • ESS 311, 201 or 355, 330, 370, and ESS/BIO/ENV 102 or SCB 210
  4. Geology and astronomy electives (6 semester hours)
    • Any two ESS courses at the 200, 300, or 400 level

A more detailed description of all courses can be found in the undergraduate catalog.

Accelerated Option for the M.S. Geoscience Degree

Students earning a B.S. Geoscience degree from West Chester University have the option to complete the M.S. Geoscience degree during their 5th year.

Program Overview

  1. Enroll in the B.S. Geoscience "Accelerated" program your junior year. Directions on how to apply are at the bottom. You must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and have earned 90 credits to be accepted.
  2. Take up to 9 credits of graduate substitution courses (a list is included in the Accelerated program advising sheets below) during your 3rd and/or 4th years. These courses will count toward your 120-credit B.S. Geoscience degree.
  3. Undergraduates pay undergraduate tuition and applicable fees for graduate substitution courses, and are bound by the undergraduate academic policies and regulations.
  4. Upon graduation, you will be enrolled into the M.S. Geoscience program (assuming good standing).
  5. In addition, the 9 credits of graduate substitution courses you took as an undergraduate will also count toward your M.S. Geoscience degree.
  6. Therefore, you will have 36 minus 9, or 27, outstanding graduate credits -- plus the final project -- to complete the forthcoming year (i.e., Year 5).

Click HERE for additional policies and information on the accelerated program.

To Enroll in the Accelerated Program

  1. In your junior year, obtain the necessary signatures on the Accelerated Bachelor to Master's Degree Program Enrollment Request Form , and submit to the Department's Graduate Coordinator.
  2. In your senior year, you will automatically receive an "Intent to Enroll in M.S. Geoscience Program." You can accept, and you're in! Or you can decline with no repercussion.

Accelerated Program Advising Sheets


The Department of Earth & Space Sciences offers four different minors from which students can choose. Students wishing to pursue a minor are required to complete the following courses:

Astronomy Minor (18 credits)

Astronomy Minor (18 credits)

A. Students may count no more than 6 credits from the following courses:

  • ESS 111 - Other Worlds, Other Stars
  • ESS 112 - Galaxies and Cosmology
  • ESS 311 - Astronomy
  • PHY 105 - Structure of the Universe

B. Students may count 12 or more credits from the following courses:

  •   ESS 307 - Geology of the Solar System
  •   ESS 355 - Intermediate Astronomy
  •   ESS 362 - History of Astronomy
  •   ESS 491 - Independent Study **
  •   SCB 210 - Origins of Life and the Universe
  •   PHY 390 - Fundamentals of Astrophysics
  •   PHY 490 - Introduction to Research

** Students who choose ESS 491 - Independent Study to complete their minor can choose a wide variety of projects are available. Past projects have included working with observational data from astronomical satellites such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory, performing individual observations using the WCU Observatory, and working on public education and outreach projects in the WCU Planetarium.

Earth Sciences Minor (18 credits)

Earth Sciences Minor (18 credits)

  1. ESS 101 - Intro to Geology
  2. ESS 111 - Other Worlds, Other Stars
  3. ESS 330 - Intro to Oceanography
  4. ESS 370 - Intro to Meteorology
  5. Two additional ESS courses

Geology Minor (18 credits)

Geology Minor (18 credits)

  1. ESS 101 - Intro to Geology
  2. Five additional Geology courses*

*A faculty advisor will suggest the most appropriate courses based on the students interest and goals.

Science Education Minor (18 credits)

Science Education Minor (18 credits)

Completion of 9-credit generalist area consisting of the following courses:

  1. SCI 101 - The Carbon Cycle OR SCI 102 - Electricity with Physical and Biological Applications
  2. BIO 100 - Basic Biological Science, OR BIO 110 General Biology
  3. CHE/CRL 103 - General Chemistry I OR CHE 107 - General Chemistry Health Sciences
  4. ESS 101 - Intro to Geology
  5. PHY 130 - General Physics I
  6. ESS 102 - Humans and the Environment OR SCB 210 - Origins of Life and the Universe

Additional 6 credits of advanced course work in the following areas:

  1. BIO 204 - Introductory Microbiology; BIO 214 - General Microbiology; BIO 215 - General Botany; OR BIO 217 - General Zoology
  2. CHE/CRL 104 - General Chemistry II OR CHE 230 - Organic Chemistry
  3. ESS 201 - Field Geology; ESS 204 - Historical Geology; ESS 301 - Environmental Geochemistry, ESS 307 - Geology of the Solar System; ESS 330 - Intro to Oceanography; ESS 331 - Paleontology; OR ESS 370 - Intro to Meteorology
  4. PHY 140 -  General Physics II

Additional 3 credits of educational course work:

  1. SCE 320 - Science Methods for Early Grades PK-4 (EGP students)
  2. SCE 330 - Science Methods for the Middle Grades: 4-8 (MGP students)
  3. SED 360 - Science Education in Secondary Schools (Secondary Education students and all other majors)
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