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Green Leaf

The Geology, BA program aims to provide students with both high-quality conceptual knowledge and hands-on training in geology in preparation for careers within the earth-science field or for graduate studies in geology. 

This is a Green Leaf program


University-wide admissions policies can be found in the Undergraduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.


Students must fulfill all Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees including the Mason Core.

GEOL 317 Geomorphology fulfills the writing intensive requirement for this major.

For policies governing all undergraduate degrees, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.

Banner Code: SC-BA-GEOL

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

This is a Green Leaf program.

Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.

Candidates for a degree in geology must complete all courses with a minimum GPA of 2.50.

Geology Core

GEOL 101Introductory Geology I (Mason Core)4
GEOL 102Introductory Geology II (Mason Core)4
GEOL 302Mineralogy4
GEOL 304Sedimentary Geology4
GEOL 308Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology4
GEOL 312Invertebrate Paleontology4
GEOL 317Geomorphology 24
GEOL 401Structural Geology4
Six credits of6
Geological Field Techniques 3
Total Credits38


CHEM 211General Chemistry I (Mason Core)3
CHEM 213General Chemistry Laboratory I (Mason Core)1
Total Credits4


Select one from the following:4
College Physics I (Mason Core)
and College Physics I Lab (Mason Core)
University Physics I (Mason Core)
and University Physics I Laboratory (Mason Core)
Total Credits4


Select one from the following:3-4
Introductory Probability (Mason Core)
Linear Mathematical Modeling (Mason Core)
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)
Total Credits3-4

Computer Science

GGS 311Introduction to Geographic Information Systems3
Total Credits3

Program Courses

Students must take 9 credits of degree-related coursework in a coherent program designed in coordination with advisor and approved by department chair9
Total Credits9

Mason Core and Elective Credits

In order to meet a minimum of 120 credits, this degree requires an additional 58-59 credits, which may be applied toward any remaining Mason Core requirements (outlined below), Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, College Requirements for the BA Degree (outlined below), and elective courses. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors to ensure that they fulfill all requirements.

Mason Core

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (ENGH 101)3
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology and Computing3
Exploration Requirements
Global Understanding3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Western Civilization/World History3
Integration Requirements
Written Communications (ENGH 302)3
Writing-Intensive 13
Synthesis/Capstone 23
Total Credits40

College Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the program requirements and the Mason Core requirements, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill this college-level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements such as Mason Core requirements, other college-level requirements, or requirements for the major. In some cases, the requirements listed below may be superseded by requirements of the degree program and the Mason Core.

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Social and Behavioral Sciences

Choose one approved Mason Core: Social and Behavioral Sciences course in addition to the Mason Core-required course for a total of 6 credits. The two courses used to fulfill the combined college-level and university requirements must be from different disciplines.

This requirement may be fulfilled by completing any course in ANTHCRIMECONGOVTHIST1LINGPSYC, or SOCI, and the following GGS courses:

Select any course from the disciplines above or select from the following GGS courses:3
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
Population Geography (Mason Core)
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of the Soviet Succession States
Urban Planning
Geography of Virginia
Total Credits3
Natural Science

Choose one credit in addition to the Mason Core: Natural Science requirement for a total of 8 credits. This combined college-level and university requirement must be fulfilled by completing two of any approved Mason Core: Natural Science courses that include a laboratory experience1.

Select an additional Mason Core Natural Science course1
Foreign Language

Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language is required1. This requirement may be fulfilled by completing a course in a foreign language numbered 202, 209, or 210 (or higher-level courses taught in the language).

Select a foreign language course numbered 202, 209, 210, or higher if a waiver isn't applicable0-3
Non-Western Culture

Choose one approved Non-Western Culture Requirement1 course in addition to the course used to fulfill the Mason Core: Global Understanding requirement. A course used to fulfill the Mason Core: Global Understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. However, a course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major).

Select 3 credits from approved Non-Western Culture courses if a waiver isn't applicable:0-3
ANTH 114Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core)3
ANTH 300Civilizations3
ANTH 302Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ANTH 307Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core)3
ANTH 308Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core)3
ANTH 309Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core)3
ANTH 313Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core)3
ANTH 314Zombies3
ANTH 330Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western3
ANTH 332Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core)3
ANTH 381Medical Anthropology3
ANTH 396Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core)3
ARAB 360Topics in Arabic Cultural Production3
ARAB 420Survey of Arabic Literature3
ARAB 440Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core)3
ARTH 203Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 204Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 206Survey of African Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 318Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt3
ARTH 319Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core)3
ARTH 320Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core)3
ARTH 382Arts of India (Mason Core)3
ARTH 383Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core)3
ARTH 384Arts of China (Mason Core)3
ARTH 385Arts of Japan (Mason Core)3
ARTH 386The Silk Road (Mason Core)3
ARTH 482RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art3
CHIN 318Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core)3
CHIN 320Contemporary Chinese Film3
CHIN 325Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core)3
DANC 118World Dance (Mason Core)3
ECON 361Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ECON 362African Economic Development (Mason Core)3
FREN 451Topics in Sub-Saharan Francophone Literature and Culture3
FREN 454Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture3
GGS 101Major World Regions (Mason Core)3
GGS 316Geography of Latin America3
GGS 325Geography of North Africa and the Middle East3
GGS 330Geography of the Soviet Succession States3
GGS 399Select Topics in GGS3
GOVT 328Global Political Theory3
GOVT 332Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa3
GOVT 333Government and Politics of Asia3
GOVT 338Government and Politics of Russia3
GOVT 340Central Asian Politics3
GOVT 341Chinese Foreign Policy3
GOVT 345Islam and Politics3
GOVT 433Political Economy of East Asia3
HIST 251Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 252Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 261Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 262Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 271Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 272Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 281Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 282Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 326Stalinism3
HIST 327The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II3
HIST 328Rise of Russia (Mason Core)3
HIST 329Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core)3
HIST 353History of Traditional China3
HIST 354Modern China (Mason Core)3
HIST 356Modern Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 357Postwar Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 358Post-1949 China (Mason Core)3
HIST 360History of South Africa (Mason Core)3
HIST 364Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 365Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 366Comparative Slavery3
HIST 367History, Fiction, and Film in Latin America3
HIST 387Topics in Global History (Mason Core)3-6
HIST 426The Russian Revolution3
HIST 460Modern Iran (Mason Core)3
HIST 461Arab-Israeli Conflict3
HIST 462Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core)3
HIST 465The Middle East in the 20th Century3
JAPA 310Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core)3
JAPA 340Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core)3
KORE 320Korean Popular Culture in a Global World3
MUSI 103Musics of the World (Mason Core)3
RELI 211Religions of the West (Mason Core)3
RELI 212Religions of Asia (Mason Core)3
RELI 240Death and the Afterlife in World Religions3
RELI 272Islam3
RELI 313Hinduism (Mason Core)3
RELI 314Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions3
RELI 315Buddhism (Mason Core)3
RELI 337Mysticism: East and West3
RELI 365Muhammad: Life and Legacy3
RELI 374Islamic Thought (Mason Core)3
RELI 375Qur'an and Hadith3
RELI 379Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics3
RELI 387Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights3
RELI 490Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core)3
RUSS 353Russian Civilization (Mason Core)3
RUSS 354Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core)3

Honors in the Major

Earth science and geology majors who have completed 16 credits of math and science, including GEOL 302 Mineralogy with a GPA of 3.00 or higher are eligible to enter the departmental honors program. Transfer students who have an incoming GPA of 3.10 or higher in math and science and a grade of ‘B’ or better in GEOL 302 Mineralogy are also eligible. To graduate with honors in Earth Science, students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in math and science courses and complete one of the two following sets of courses with an average GPA of 3.50 or better:

First Set of Courses
GEOL 410Research Proposal Preparation1
GEOL 411Geological Research3
GEOL 420Earth Science and Policy (Mason Core)3
Second Set of Courses
CLIM 408Senior Research3
CLIM 409Research Internship3
GEOL 420Earth Science and Policy (Mason Core)3

Bachelor's Degree (selected)/Environmental Science and Policy, Accelerated MS


This degree option allows highly qualified George Mason University students to earn an Environmental Science and Policy, MS in less time than if they had first graduated with an environmentally-focused Green Leaf-designated BA or BS degree and then applied to the MS program sequentially.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate programs, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students with an overall GPA of at least 3.20 who are pursuing any Green Leaf-designated major or minor may apply for provisional acceptance into this accelerated master's program after completing two semesters of chemistry (including CHEM 211 General Chemistry I (Mason Core) and CHEM 212 General Chemistry II (Mason Core) and three semesters of biology, including a course in ecology, or the equivalent, for example:

Select one of the following options:13
Option 1:
Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)
Biostatistics for Biology Majors
Foundations of Ecology and Evolution
Option 2:
Environmental Biology: Molecules and Cells
Environmental Science: Biological Diversity and Ecosystems
Environmental Science: Biomes and Human Dimensions
Environmental Microbiology Essentials
Environmental Microbiology Essentials Laboratory
Option 3:
Conservation Theory
Applied Conservation
6 credits of BIOL or CONS electives

By the beginning of the undergraduate's senior year, they should first submit a Graduate Application for Accelerated Master's Program form (obtained from the Office of Academic and Student Affairs). Secondly, in their senior year accelerated master's students must complete the two graduate courses indicated on their Accelerated Master's Program Application with a minimum grade of 3.00 in each course. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in all coursework and in coursework applied to their major. Upon completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in a Green Leaf-designated program, in the semester indicated in the application, they must additionally submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form (found on the Office of the University Registrar website) and will subsequently be admitted into graduate status.

By at least the beginning of their senior year, they should seek out a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy who is willing to serve as their advisor. This advisor will aid the student in choosing the appropriate graduate courses to take and help to prepare the student for graduate studies. Admission into a research-oriented master's concentration is dependent upon securing the agreement of a faculty advisor. Faculty from a variety of departments and colleges at George Mason (called "program faculty") can serve as master's advisors. Potential students are encouraged to speak with the graduate program coordinator in the department to obtain guidance on this issue.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at Mason must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Graduate Admission Policies section of this catalog, excluding the GRE exam requirement (which is not required for those enrolled in the accelerated program). This includes three letters of recommendation (at least one from a former professor or someone with a PhD), a recent resume, a statement of interest/research goals and interests (including information on the candidate's proposed MS research), and a letter from their advisor stating that the advisor agrees to take on the candidate as an MS student, how the candidate would be a good fit for them and why candidate's research topic would be suitable.

For information specific to the accelerated Environmental Science and Policy, MS, see Graduate Admissions on the department's website.

Reserve Graduate Credits

Students admitted to this program may take graduate courses after completing 90 undergraduate credits, and up to 6 credits of appropriate environmentally-focused graduate coursework may be used in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the undergraduate degree. If students earn at least a 3.00 GPA in these classes, they are granted advanced standing in the master's program and must then complete an additional 27 credits to receive the master's degree. 

To apply these credits to the master's degree, students must request that the credits be moved from the undergraduate degree to the graduate degree using the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form found on the Office of the University Registrar website (as noted above).

Students may take up to 6 additional environmentally-focused graduate credits as reserve graduate credit. These credits do not apply to the undergraduate degree but will reduce the subsequent master's degree credits accordingly (e.g., with 6 credits counted towards undergraduate degree plus the maximum 6 reserve credits, an MS could be completed with 21 post-bachelor's credits). The ability to take courses for reserve graduate credit is available to all high achieving undergraduates with the permission of the department.