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Students interested in the evolution of life on Earth can take this minor in association with degrees from any field of study across the university. Fundamental courses include historical geology, invertebrate paleontology and vertebrate paleontology.

This has been designated a Green Leaf program.


Eight credits of coursework must be unique to the minor. For policies governing all minors, see AP.5.3.4 Minors.

Banner Code: PLEO

Minor Requirements

Total credits: 18-21

This is a Green Leaf program.

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

Students must successfully complete the following coursework with a minimum GPA of 2.00. 

Required Core

GEOL 102Introductory Geology II (Mason Core)4
GEOL 312Invertebrate Paleontology4
GEOL 334Vertebrate Paleontology4
or BIOL 334 Vertebrate Paleontology
Total Credits12


Many of the courses below have additional prerequisites beyond the required core courses above; please check the individual courses carefully.

Select two courses from the list below or choose Option One, Option Two, Option Three, or Option Four:6-9
Sedimentary Geology
Marine Geology
Biogeography: Space, Time, and Life
Applied Ecology
Dinosaur Biology
Vertebrate Natural History
Total Credits6-9

Option One

BIOL 310
BIOL 330
and Biodiversity Lab and Recitation
Select one from the following:4
Comparative Chordate Anatomy
Developmental Biology
and Lab for Developmental Biology
Invertebrate Zoology
Insect Biology

Option Two

BIOL 308Foundations of Ecology and Evolution5
BIOL 468Vertebrate Natural History4

Option Three

GEOL 309Introduction to Oceanography3
or BIOL 309 Introduction to Oceanography
EVPP 419Marine Mammal Biology and Conservation3

Option Four

BIOL 305Biology of Microorganisms3
BIOL 407Microbial Diversity4