Colorado Mesa University's Department of Physical and Environmental Science Geosciences program offers bachelor-level degrees in Geology, Environmental Geology and Secondary Education as well as minors in Geology, Watershed Science and Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST). An associate degree in Geology is also offered. The GIST program also offers a professional certificate.

The Geosciences degrees are designed for students who have one or more of the following goals:

  • Desire a strong liberal arts education with emphasis on Earth Sciences
  • Wish to pursue a graduate degree after graduation
  • Desire a professional career in industry, government agencies or consulting
  • Wish to teach Earth Sciences in secondary education

Colorado Mesa University is situated in a geological paradise straddling the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau. Our program is very field oriented and includes class field trips to places such as the rugged, glacially sculpted San Juan Mountains, the Colorado River, the world-renowned Book Cliffs, Arches and Canyonlands, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and the breathtaking formations of the Colorado National Monument. Our location also provides CMU students with some of the best field-based learning opportunities in the nation. Each year, students in our program attend the Western Slope Field Conference and the Adam Trumbo Memorial Field Trip.

The Geosciences program also has a strong partnership with the Grand Junction Geological Society, which affords students with the opportunity to attend monthly lectures by professional geologists as well as provides students with potential scholarship awards. For students interested in paleontology, the Geosciences program also has strong ties with the Museum of Western Colorado, which provides internships involving both field and lab-oriented paleontology research. The Geosciences program also has an active student chapter of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Geosciences and a concentration in Geology is designed for students who (1) desire a strong liberal arts education with emphasis on the earth sciences, (2) wish to pursue a graduate degree in geology, or (3) desire a professional or technical geoscience career. Recent graduates are attending graduate programs at major universities or have entered the work force as geological technicians or professional geologists. Instruction takes place in a state-of-the-art science complex which houses several instructional laboratories, a projects room, computer-applications laboratory, petrology-mineralogy laboratory, rock-storage facilities and a sample preparation room. Most classes have a strong field component so that students benefit from the diverse geological setting of the Grand Junction area. Equipment includes research petrographic microscopes, binocular microscopes, x-ray diffractometer, x-ray fluorescence, GPS units, local seismic network and a magnetometer. Computer facilities include PC systems with software for communications, database management, word-processing, geographical information systems (GIS) and geostatistics. Students engage in a capstone research project/thesis during their senior year that involves independent research and the completion of a professional report and presentation. Students develop professional skills and complete a portfolio of their work for future employers or graduate schools.

Academic Requirements for Bachelor in Geology

The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Geosciences and a concentration in Environmental Geology is designed for students who (1) desire a strong liberal arts education with emphasis on environmental issues within the earth sciences, (2) wish to pursue a graduate degree in environmental geology, or (3) desire a professional or technical geoscience career. The Environmental Geology option has the same basic framework as the Geology concentration with a stronger emphasis on geologic hazards, groundwater and surface water hydrology, biological systems, and environmental science. Recent graduates are attending graduate programs at major universities or have entered the work force as geological technicians or professional geologists. Most classes have a strong field component so that students benefit from the diverse geological setting of the Grand Junction area. Equipment available includes hydrologic research equipment such as flow meters, stream tables, surveying equipment and GPS units. Students engage in a capstone research project/thesis during their senior year that involves independent research and the completion of a professional report and presentation. This capstone experience develops professional skills and provides students with a portfolio of their work for future employers or graduate schools.

Academic Requirements for Bachelor in Environmental Geology

The Geosciences secondary licensure degree is structured for graduates to pursue teaching careers at the middle or high school level. The basic curriculum includes all of the major topics within a traditional geology program while also incorporating teacher education courses required for licensure by the state of Colorado. The degree plan includes basic chemistry, physics and biology. Instruction takes place in a state of the art science complex on campus which houses several instructional laboratories, projects rooms, a computer applications lab, petrology-mineralogy lab and rock storage facilities. Most classes include a strong field component, allowing students to take advantage of the diverse geological setting of the Grand Junction area. Students have access to department equipment that includes research petrographic microscopes, binocular microscopes, a computer-assisted x-ray diffractometer, scanning electron microscopes, GPS units, short and long-period seismometers and a magnetometer. The secondary licensure program provides teacher education candidates with broad content knowledge in science and prepares them as teachers for grades 7 through 12. A minimum of 75 credit hours of Essential Learning and content area coursework must be completed with a minimum GPA of 2.80 before a candidate may apply for admission to the Center for Teacher Education secondary licensure program. Please see the Teacher Education Admission Packet for further information on admissions criteria. EDUC 115, What It Means to be an Educator, and EDUC 215, Teaching as a Profession, must be taken before applying to the program. Important information about this degree: • 2.80 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework • 2.80 cumulative GPA or higher in coursework toward the major content area • "A" or "C" or higher is required in all major and foundation courses • All EDUC prefix courses must be completed with a grade of “B” or better • Students must pass the PRAXIS II exam in the content area prior to beginning the internship and all other coursework toward the degree must be successfully completed prior to the internship

Academic Requirements for Bachelor in Secondary Education

The Geology Minor is designed for students who wish to take additional basic geology courses in support of their degree aspirations in other areas. A total of 21 geology credit hours are required. Most classes have a strong field component so that students can enjoy the diverse geological setting of the Grand Junction area. Laboratory work takes place in a state-of-the-art science complex.

Academic Requirements for Minor in Geology

The courses are open to all students interested in broadening their knowledge and enhancing job-related skills in a rapidly expanding market of computer-based technology. The multidisciplinary nature of the Geographic Information science and technology allows students from a wide variety of fields to participate in this exciting program. Geographic Information Science and Technology includes Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems, and Remote Sensing. A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing geospatial data. GIS technology is a subset of information systems where the databases consists of features, activities, or events that are definable in space as points, lines, or areas. GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite system that allows users to collect precise geographic data for use in mapping. Remote sensing refers to any technique whereby information about objects and the environment is obtained from a distance, such as from aircraft or satellites. Remote sensing often permits us to greatly expand our spectral view of the earth and “see” the world much more clearly than we can with the unaided eye.

Academic Requirements for Minor in Geographic Information Science and Technology

This minor complements majors in physical and environmental science and biology by providing students in these fields with certification of focused coursework. Combined with the relevant B.S., plus additional calculus and physics courses, the minor satisfies the federal government’s requirements for qualification as a hydrologist. The proximity of Colorado Mesa to the Colorado, Gunnison, and Green Rivers, the drainages of the Colorado National Monument, and the high arroyos create an ideal location for the study of watershed science.

Academic Requirements for Minor in Watershed Science

The Associate of Science (A.S.) degree is designed for students who intend to continue their education and obtain a baccalaureate degree. The A.S. is the appropriate choice for students who will take upper division coursework in mathematics, biological sciences and physical sciences. The degree program includes the Colorado Statewide Essential Learning Core and meets the lower division Essential Learning requirements at most public institutions in Colorado. A number of emphases are available within the A.S. degree. Students choosing one of these emphases will take courses in a discipline in addition to the Essential Learning core. An Associate of Science (A.S.) degree with a geology emphasis is offered through the Physical and Environmental Sciences Department. This degree prepares students for employment as geological technicians in government and industry, or for entrance into the geology baccalaureate program at Colorado Mesa University or other four-year institutions. The curriculum includes basic courses in geology as well as Essential Learning courses. All of the geology courses place emphasis on the spectacular geologic features in western Colorado and eastern Utah.

Academic Requirements for Associate in Geology

The courses are open to all students interested in broadening their knowledge and enhancing job-related skills in a rapidly expanding market of computer-based technology. The multidisciplinary nature of the geographic information science and technology allows students from a wide variety of fields to participate in this exciting program. Geographic Information Science and Technology includes Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems, and Remote Sensing. A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing geospatial data. GIS technology is a special case of information systems where the database consists of features, activities, or events that are definable in space as points, lines, or areas. GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite system that allows users to collect precise geographic data for use in mapping. Remote sensing refers to any technique whereby information about objects and the environment is obtained from a distance such as aircraft or satellites. The remote sensing often permits us to greatly expand our spectral view of the earth and “see” the world much more clearly than we can with the unaided eye.

Academic Requirements for Professional Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology

Recent graduates are pursuing careers working for:

  • environmental consulting firms
  • petroleum service companies (i.e., mudlogging, directional drilling)
  • state and federal agencies (U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Geological Survey, Mesa County).
Many recent graduates have also found employment using their GIS skills in a variety of professional capacities.  Other students continue their education in graduate school and several graduates have gone on to receive MS and PhD degrees. A good summary of potential geoscience careers is available from the American Geological Institute website.

Declaring your Major

Choosing an academic advisor early on during your Program is one of the most important keys to success! To declare a major or minor in Geology, please speak to Amy O'Campo in the PES/Biology Office in the Wubben Science Building, WS 232. She can also be reached at 970.248.1993.

Real-world Experience

Geology students work closely with professors outside of the classroom. Students commonly complete undergraduate research and make presentations at regional and national geology conferences.  Students have also worked on research projects involving travel to research labs including the U.S. Geological Survey, U. of Arizona Laserchron lab, CU-Boulder themochronology lab and New Mexico Tech's argon lab.

College to Career

Gray Koenemann graduated with a GIST minor and started employment with a local geographic data company as a GIS technician. Learn how CMU helped prepare him for his career.

More about this graduate