Degrees Offered

Majors

Undergraduates at the Jackson School have eight degree options, anchored by fundamental courses taken by all majors during their first two to three years. Students enter as Geological Sciences entry level or Environmental Science entry level majors and, after completion of freshman requirements, can be admitted to one of the degree options. Faculty and academic advisors work with students to select the best option for them. Consult the short descriptions below for more information, or see the UT Austin Undergraduate Course Catalog.

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Science
    This degree is offered with three majors by three colleges/schools: Geological Sciences (Jackson School of Geosciences), Geography and Environment (College of Liberal Arts), and Biological Sciences (College of Natural Sciences). The three majors share a common academic core, drawing on the expertise of faculty in all three participating colleges/schools. After completing the core, students can elect to pursue the major that best fits their particular area of academic interest. For more information, please visit the Environmental Science Institute.
    Degree Plan: 2020-20222018-20202016-2018
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geological Sciences Option I: General Geology
    Geological science is a synthetic subject, drawing from geological subjects and concepts of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics. This synthesis is reflected in the list of courses required for the B.S. General Geology degree, which emphasizes competency in the field. Like all of the B.S. options, the B.S. General is intended for professional geologists, teachers, and those planning graduate work. Firms in the energy sector dominate employment opportunities, but students find jobs in a range of areas and may end up working in government agencies,  consulting firms, and with service companies aiding the energy and mineral industries.
    Degree Plans: 2020-20222018-20202016-20182014-2016 | 2012-2014 | 2010-2012
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geological Sciences Option II: Geophysics

    Geophysicists study the dynamics and structure of the Earth and other planets using observational, forward and inverse modeling approaches. Imaging techniques use seismic, gravity, and electro-magnetic signals, which can be either actively generated during surveys from the Earth’s surface and from satellites or passively recorded from naturally occurring phenomena such as earthquakes.

    In collaboration with other geoscientists, geophysicists study evolving planetary systems and the interactions between the deep Earth and surface environments. Topics include environmental studies, marine processes, hydrology, glaciology, volcanoes, earthquakes, tectonics, impacts, resources, shallow hazards, and convection of planetary mantles. From global studies to microscopic scales, and from processes happening on timescales of seconds to billions of years, geophysicists contribute fundamental insights into physical processes and properties of the Earth. With a geophysics degree, students are well equipped to solve cutting-edge problems in a wide range of disciplines, from fundamental Earth and climate science research to applications in the energy sector, data science and technology, and national security.

    Degree Plans: 2020-20222018-20202016-20182014-2016 | 2012-2014 | 2010-2012
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geological Sciences Option III: Hydrogeology
    This option is oriented toward solving problems of societal need, especially groundwater retention. It is an increasingly popular option, with students heading to environmental engineering companies, government agencies, consulting and related firms engaged in protecting the environment and remediating environmental problems.
    Degree Plans: 2020-20222018-20202016-20182014-2016 | 2012-2014 | 2010-2012
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geological Sciences Option IV: Environmental Science and Sustainability
    This option, which was available through the 2010-1012 degree plan and has been replaced by the new B.S. in Environmental Science, is designed to provide students with the skills and perspectives necessary to engage in an interdisciplinary scientific study of environmental issues, analysis and management. Its objective is to provide students with the broad foundational knowledge in the physical, life and social sciences necessary to pursue a career and/or graduate study in environmental science and related fields such as global change, land use management and conservation.
    Degree Plans: 2010-2012 | 2008-2010
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geological Sciences Option V: Teaching
    This option is part of the innovative UTeach program at UT Austin, which prepares a graduate for science certification as a middle school or secondary school teacher in Texas. Students under this option are traditional majors in geological sciences but also take courses in biological science, pedagogy, and student teaching.
    Degree Plans (Senior Grades): 2020-20222018-20202016-2018 | 2014-2016 | 2012-2014 | 2010-2012
    Degree Plans (Middle Grades): 2020-20222018-20202016-2018 | 2014-2016 | 2012-2014 | 2010-2012
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geosystems Engineering and Hydrogeology
    Offered jointly by the College of Engineering and the Jackson School, this quantitatively rigorous degree is concerned with the behavior of fluids, both within the Earth and upon its surface. The first two years are spent in the Department of Geological Sciences and the final two years in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. Graduates seek employment with environmental, water resource management, and energy companies in addition to many government agencies. See the educational objectives and program outcomes for this degree.
    Degree Plans: 2018-20202014-2016 | 2012-2014 | 2010-2012
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Geological Sciences
    This option allows students to complete two majors. It can be tailored to meet interests ranging from musical study or the liberal arts to upper-division math, physics, or biology. While this degree forms an excellent starting point for other endeavors such as business management, environmental law, or medicine, students can also use the major to specialize more deeply in particular areas of the geosciences.
    Degree Plans: 2020-20222018-20202016-20182014-2016 | 2012-2014 | 2010-2012

 

Minors & Certificate Programs

Minors for Geosciences Majors

While a minor is not required as part of any geological sciences degree program, students may choose to complete a minor in a field of study other than their major and to which they gain entry. Students may declare only one minor or certificate to supplement their Jackson School major.

Jackson School students must declare their minor/certificate intentions before they have completed 65 percent of their degree requirements, as indicated on the Interactive Degree Audit (IDA). Exceptions to these policies require prior approval by the dean.

Minors for Non-Geosciences Majors

The minors offered by the Jackson School of Geosciences promote the understanding of Earth as a system, its resources, and environment, for the lasting benefit of humankind. Any non-geosciences student with a University grade point average of at least 2.5 may apply to a JSG minor. Students must apply for admission to the minor, have it added to their degree profiles, successfully complete all requirements, and apply to graduate for it to appear on their transcript.

The Jackson School reserves the right to limit the number of students accepted to the minor. If demand exceeds space, students will be selected based on review of a student’s academic record. Acceptance into the minor does not come with preferences or guarantee of a seat in any GEO course. Registration for any of these courses will require that existing prerequisite course requirements are adequately met.

For more information, please visit the Minor and Certificate Programs section in The University chapter.

  • Computational Geosciences Minor

    The Computational Geosciences Minor provides a selection of courses that will establish an understanding of computational methods in geosciences. The courses in this minor emphasize the understanding of geophysical and geochemical laws and their equations. Students completing this minor will gain knowledge on how to solve such equations, both analytically and numerically, to solve specific geoscience problems (e.g., transport in porous media to study pollutant plumes, wave equation to study earthquakes and seismic methods). Students will use high-level programming tools (e.g., MATLAB, Python).

    The Computational Geosciences Minor requires 15 credit hours as follows:

    Requirements Hours
    GEO 303 Introduction to Geology 3 or 4
    or GEO 401 Physical Geology
    GEO 354 Physics of Earth 3
    One of the following four courses: 3
    Computational Applications in the Geosciences  
    Computational Methods  
    Numerical Modeling in the Geosciences  
    Mathematical Methods in Geophysics  
    Two upper-division GEO courses: 6 or 7
    Quantitative Seismic Interpretation  
    Climate System Modeling  
    Geodynamics of the Lithosphere and Mantle  
    Construction and Interpretations of 3-D Stratigraphy  
    Seismic Data Processing  
    Potential Field Applications in Geophysics  
    Seismic Exploration  
    List of additional upper-division course options available on the JSG website.
     
    Please Note:  
    Registration for any of these courses requires that existing prerequisite course requirements are adequately met.  
    Petitions to substitute another course to use toward any requirement must be submitted to the JSG Advising Office prior to the start of the semester in question.
  • Geosciences Minor

    The Geosciences Minor provides a selection of courses that will establish an understanding of the Earth’s history, evolution, and its properties. The courses in this minor emphasize the chemical, physical, and biological processes that shape the Earth system. Students completing this minor will gain knowledge in the methods geologists use to characterize geological processes, such as identifying rocks, minerals, and fossils. They will also examine the role of geological processes on geological hazards (e.g. volcanos, tsunami) and water and energy resources. The opportunity to gain skills analyzing data from laboratory and field settings supplement multiple other areas of study such as engineering, education, and business.

    The Geosciences Minor requires 16 credit hours as follows:

    Requirements Hours
    GEO 303 Introduction to Geology 3 or 4
    or GEO 401 Physical Geology
    One of the following three courses: 4
    Life through Time  
    Earth Materials  
    Sedimentary Rocks  
    Three upper-division GEO courses: 9
    Introductory Field Geology  
    Computational Applications in the Geosciences  
    Continental Tectonics  
    Introduction to Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology  
    Gems and Gem Minerals  
    List of additional upper-division course options available on the JSG website.
     
    Please Note:  
    Registration for any of these courses requires that existing prerequisite course requirements are adequately met.  
    Petitions to substitute another course to use toward any requirement must be submitted to the JSG Advising Office prior to the start of the semester in question.
  • Hydrology Minor

    The Hydrology Minor provides a selection of courses that will establish an understanding of the water cycle and associated hydrological processes. The courses in this minor emphasize physical and chemical processes that control the movement of water through the Earth system and water quality. Students completing this minor will gain knowledge in the methods hydrologists use to characterize hydrological processes, including environmental monitoring data and aquifer properties.

    The Hydrology Minor requires 16 credit hours as follows:

    Requirements Hours
    GEO 303 Introduction to Geology 3 or 4
    or GEO 401 Physical Geology
    GEO 346C Introduction to Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology 3
    GEO 476K Groundwater Hydrology 4
    Two upper-division GEO courses: 6 or 7
    Geochemical Problem Solving with Atoms and Ions  
    Physical Hydrology  
    Aqueous Geochemistry  
    Hydrogeophysics  
    Applied Karst Hydrogeology  
    List of additional upper-division course options available on the JSG website.
     
    Please Note:  
    Registration for any of these courses requires that existing prerequisite course requirements are adequately met.  
    Petitions to substitute another course to use toward any requirement must be submitted to the JSG Advising Office prior to the start of the semester in question.
  • Sedimentology and Earth Surface Processes Minor

    The Sedimentology and Earth Surface Processes Minor provides a selection of courses that will establish an understanding of the processes that shape the Earth’s surface, the rock record results, and interactions with other systems over time. Students completing this minor will gain an understanding of the changing character of the surface environment of the Earth which is critical for understanding the past and future trajectories for life on Earth.

    The Sedimentology and Earth Surface Processes Minor requires 16 credit hours as follows:

    Requirements Hours
    GEO 303 Introduction to Geology 3 or 4
    or GEO 401 Physical Geology
    GEO 416M Sedimentary Rocks 4
    or GEO 416K Earth Materials
    Three of the following upper-division GEO courses: 9 or 10
    Transitions in the History of Life  
    Energy Exploration  
    Quantitative Seismic Interpretation  
    Geodynamics of the Lithosphere and Mantle  
    Construction and Interpretations of 3-D Stratigraphy  
    Geomorphology Process and Form  
    Evolution of Reef Ecosystems  
    List of additional upper-division course options available on the JSG website.
     
    Please Note:  
    Registration for any of these courses requires that existing prerequisite course requirements are adequately met.  
    Petitions to substitute another course to use toward any requirement must be submitted to the JSG Advising Office prior to the start of the semester in question.
  • Computational Science and Engineering Certificate
    The Computational Science and Engineering Certificate program is sponsored by the Cockrell School of Engineering, the Jackson School of Geosciences, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Natural Sciences; it is administered by the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES). Information regarding the specific requirements of the Certificate can be found in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Minor and Certificates section of the Undergraduate Catalog.

 

Undergraduates by Major, Fall 2020

Major # of Students
Geological Sciences, Entry-level/Undeclared (J00100/45000) 62
B.A. Geological Sciences (45200) 4
B.S. Geological Sciences: General Geology (45300) 64
B.S. Geological Sciences: Geophysics (45900) 14
B.S. Geological Sciences: Hydrogeology (45500) 17
B.S. Geosystems Engineering & Hydrogeology (45800) 10
B.S. Geological Sciences: Teaching (45600) 1
B.S. Environmental Science, Entry-level (46000) 21
B.S. Environmental Science, Geological Sciences (46100) 8