2018-2019 Catalog

Earth Science

Earth Science Program Learning Outcomes

College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences 

Department of Earth Science and Geography

Bachelor of Science

Degree Roadmap



Brendan McNulty, Department Chair
Parveen Chhetri, John Keyantash, Ashish Sinha, Ralph Saunders

Instructional Support Tech Office: NSM F-129, (310) 243-3368

Department Office: NSM B-202, (310) 243-3377

Emeriti Facutly

David Sigurdson, Jamie Webb

Program Description

The Earth Science major is one of two programs housed in the Department of Earth Science and Geography. The Earth Science degree is a cross-disciplinary program that trains students for careers involving earth system science, which broadly includes the physical science behind the interactions of the lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. The Earth Science program also examines the contribution of those systems to natural landscapes and geological hazards, during the modern era and through geological time. Importantly, it also considers the relationship of human populations to these geosystems.
If you are curious about the answers to the following questions, Earth Science might be the right major for you:

•     How and when did the Earth form? How has Earth evolved? What is the history of life on Earth? When did the mass extinctions occur, and what caused them?

•     What is plate tectonics, and how do tectonic plates interact? How do mountains form? How, where and why do volcanoes form? What causes earthquakes? Can we predict them? Why or why not? How do tsunamis form?

•     What are the different drainage patterns for river systems? How do flowing water and ice sculpt the landscape? How does the generation of hydroelectricity change the characteristics of flowing rivers?

•     What is groundwater, why is it important to humans, and what are the implications of groundwater contamination?

•     What has Earth’s climate been like in the past? How might climate change in the future? What is the “greenhouse effect” and ocean acidification? What is the carbon cycle, and why is it important?

•     What are the differences between non-renewable, renewable and perpetual natural resources? What is the nature of supply vs. demand in regard to water, petroleum, coal, minerals, and other natural resources? What are the pros and cons of various energy sources including nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and carbon-based fuels?


The faculty has expertise in plate tectonics and field geology; hydrology, atmospheric science, and climate change; landscape change, remote sensing, and geographic information systems; and economic, political and historical geography. The broad expertise of the faculty provides an unusual opportunity for motivated undergraduate students to work closely with their professors and gain “hands-on” experience within domestic and international research projects.

Academic Advisement

Majors should consult with their advisor prior to registration each semester. Records of student progress toward the degree are accessible online through MyCSUDH. Students should check their progress regularly.


For high school students, the best preparation for the Earth Science major is a wellrounded program of high school courses in humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, and written and oral communication. Community college transfer students should have completed an introductory course in geology or physical geography. Other introductory courses in the physical or biological sciences, including field courses, are encouraged.

Career Possibilities

The Earth Science major prepares students for a wide range of employment opportunities within government, industry and non-profit organizations. Specific fields include environmental protection and consulting; natural resource management; air and water quality monitoring; geologic hazards and geotechnical investigations; water and powergeneration utilities; and meteorology, hydrology, and oceanography. The Earth Science degree also provides excellent training for graduate programs.

Students may prepare for a career teaching at the secondary level (middle and high school) by completing an approved "Subject Matter Preparation Program" for Geoscience. Completion of such a program is the first step in meeting the state requirements for a teaching credential. As the program requirements for the Subject Matter Preparation Program routinely change, interested students should consult the departmentally-designated advisor for current information.

Graduation With Honors

An undergraduate student may be a candidate for graduation with Honors in Earth Science provided he or she meets the following criteria:

1.   A minimum of 36 units in residence at CSU Dominguez Hills;

2.   A minimum grade point average of at least 3.5 in all courses used to satisfy the upper division requirements in the major;

3.   Recommendation by the faculty of the Earth Science and Geography Department.

Elective Requirements

Completion of elective courses (beyond the requirements listed below) to reach a total minimum  of 120 units.