OFFICE: Geology/Mathematics/Computer Science 237
TELEPHONE: 619-594-5586 / FAX: 619-594-4372
Chair: Whiteside, Jessica, Professor of Geological Sciences (B.A., Mount Holyoke College; M.A,, Columbia University; Ph.D., Columbia University (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)
Undergraduate Adviser: Schellenberg, Stephen A., Professor of Geological Sciences (B.A., M.S., University of South Florida; Ph.D., University of Southern California)
Graduate Adviser: Maloney, Jillian M., Associate Professor of Geological Sciences (B.S., University of Southern California; Ph.D., University of California, San Diego)
The Rollin and Caroline Eckis Chair in Seismology: Olsen, Kim Bak, Professor of Geological Sciences, The Rollin and Caroline Eckis Chair in Seismology (B.S., M.S., University Aarhus, Denmark; Ph.D., University of Utah)
Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty:
Kimbrough, David L., Professor of Geological Sciences (B.S., University of California, Santa Cruz; Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara)
Ma, Shuo, Professor of Geological Sciences (B.S., Tongji University, China; M.S., Colorado School of Mines; Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara)
Olsen, Kim Bak, Professor of Geological Sciences, The Rollin and Caroline Eckis Chair in Seismology (B.S., M.S., University Aarhus, Denmark; Ph.D., University of Utah)
Schellenberg, Stephen A., Professor of Geological Sciences (B.A., M.S., University of South Florida; Ph.D., University of Southern California)
Whiteside, Jessica, Professor of Geological Sciences (B.A., Mount Holyoke College; M.A,, Columbia University; Ph.D., Columbia University (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)
Maloney, Jillian M., Associate Professor of Geological Sciences (B.S., University of Southern California; Ph.D., University of California, San Diego)
Almeida, Rafael, Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences (B.S., Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela; M.S., Texas A & M University; Ph.D., Geology, Columbia University)
Bova, Samantha, Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences (B.A., Earth and Washington University in St. Louis; M.S. and Ph.D., Brown University)
Weingarten, Matthew, Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences (B.A., University of Wisconsin, Madison; Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder)
Hanan, Barry B., (B.S., University of Kansas; M.S., Ph.D., Virginia Tech)
Foster, Anna (B.A., Marist College; M.A., M.Phil.,Ph.D., Columbia University
Robinson, Kevin L., M.A., Geological Sciences
Sacramento-McJilton, Isabelle, M.S., Geological Sciences
Abbott, Patrick L., Ph.D., 1971-2003, Professor of Geological Sciences
Bertine, Kathe K., Ph.D., 1973-2000, Professor of Geological Sciences
Day, Steven M., Ph.D., 1988-2015, The Rollin and Caroline Eckis Chair in Seismology; Professor of Geological Sciences
Dorman, Clive E., Ph.D., 1974-2006, Professor of Geological Sciences
Frost, Eric G., Ph.D., 1981-2022, Professor of Geological Sciences
Girty, Gary H., Ph.D., 1984-2015, Professor of Geological Sciences [Senate Distinguished Professor]
Jiracek, George R., Ph.D., 1980-2004, Professor of Geological Sciences
Kern, Philip J., Ph.D., 1968-1994, Professor of Geological Sciences
Krummenacher, Daniel, Ph.D., 1968-1988, Professor of Geological Sciences
Marshall, C. Monte, Ph.D., 1975-2001, Professor of Geological Sciences
Miller, Richard H., Ph.D., 1977-2001, Professor of Geological Sciences
Peterson, Gary L., Ph.D., 1963-2007, Professor of Geological Sciences
Rockwell, Thomas K., Ph.D., 1983-2019, Professor of Geological Sciences
Thorbjarnarson, Kathryn W., Ph.D., 1991-2021, Associate Professor of Geological Sciences
Wallace, William J., Ph.D., 1969-2001, Associate Professor of Geological Sciences and Physics
Geological sciences is the study of the earth, its past, present, and future. Geoscientists apply physical, chemical, and biological principles to understand current processes at the earth’s surface to its deep interior, and how these have evolved through Earth’s history. They study topics such as earthquakes, biogeochemical cycles, climate, rock and mineral properties, and paleobiology. The work of geoscientists is important for addressing major societal issues, including sustainable resource management, climate change, environmental pollution, and natural disasters from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and coastal erosion and sea level rise.
Students who are curious about the planet on which we live, challenged by environmental problems facing humankind, and intrigued by a subject that combines the arts and the applied science, should consider the geological sciences as a major. Job prospects are diverse and job growth is expected to follow broader trends from 2020 through 2039, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many job openings are expected in environmental consulting, resource management, engineering, and research. Job opportunities should be excellent for geoscientists who graduate with a master’s degree. Most new jobs will be in management, scientific, and geotechnical consulting services. Many government agencies hire geoscientists, including the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the California Department of Conservation, and regional planning offices.
The department offers two undergraduate degree options:
- The Bachelor of Science degree is designed for students who intend to become professional geologists and/or those who plan to attend graduate school in geosciences. The program includes courses normally expected of graduate school applicants and prepares students for the examination for professional geologic registration licensing. In addition to the general B.S. curriculum, students may elect to focus on five emphases with more specific requirements (e.g., Paleontology, Hydrogeology, Geophysics, Engineering Geology, and Environmental Geology)
- The Bachelor of Arts degree is designed for students who seek a degree in the geological sciences as a foundation for careers in a variety of areas. This option leverages the strongly interdisciplinary socially relevant aspects of the geosciences. The B.A. degree includes a broad spectrum of courses, and focuses on information about the earth and on how society makes decisions that affect the earth system. The Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Arts and Sciences meets the requirements of the California Community College Associate in Science (AS-T) in Geology for Transfer degree students completing the Transfer Model Curriculum (TMC).
The geological sciences major and its emphases are impacted programs. To be admitted to the geological sciences major or an emphasis, students must meet the following criteria:
- Complete preparation for the major;
- Complete a minimum of 60 transferable semester units;
- Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.
To complete the major, students must fulfill the degree requirements for the major described in the catalog in effect at the time they are accepted into the premajor at SDSU (assuming continuous enrollment).
Students should plan to meet once a semester with the undergraduate adviser to plan for and ensure a timely graduation. Major Academic Plans (MAPs) are available at Visit http://www.sdsu.edu/mymap, and are designed to help students navigate course requirements for their major/emphasis and to identify which General Education course will also fulfill a major preparation course requirement.
The Rollin and Caroline Eckis Chair in Seismology
A gift from Rollin and Caroline Eckis, combined with matching funds from the Atlantic Richfield Company and contributions from SDSU faculty and staff, established The Rollin and Caroline Eckis Chair in Seismology at SDSU. The late Rollin Eckis was former president of Richfield Oil Company and vice chairman of the board of Atlantic Richfield Company. The inaugural appointee to the chair, Dr. Steven M. Day, conducts research on the mechanics of earthquakes and earthquake hazards. The current appointee, Dr. Kim Bak Olsen, conducts research on seismic wave propagation as well as earthquake source description and hazards.
Environmental sciences is an interdisciplinary program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in applied arts and sciences. The program provides students with a rigorous and broad foundation in those sciences most relevant to environmental issues. While the focus is on the physical environmental sciences, some coursework is required in biology, computer science, geography, and statistics. Students wishing to concentrate more on the biological aspects of the environment, should consider the ecology emphasis offered by the Department of Biology.
Upon completion of the degree, students will be prepared to understand and contribute to a broad range of environmental problems confronting society. This major should be especially attractive to students who wish a broader background in the environmental sciences compared to other degrees across the sciences. The major will prepare the student for employment in the dynamic and ever-changing environmental science job market and provide preparation to go on to graduate school in the environmental sciences.
Students should plan to meet once a semester with the undergraduate adviser to plan for and ensure a timely graduation Major Academic Plans (MAPs) are available at Visit http://www.sdsu.edu/mymap. The MAPs website was created to help students navigate the course requirements for their major/emphasiss and to identify which General Education course will also fulfill a major preparation course requirement.
The environmental sciences major is an impacted program. To be admitted to the environmental sciences major, students must meet the following criteria:
- Complete preparation for the major;
- Complete a minimum of 60 transferable semester units;
- Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.
The Oceanography minor is designed for students with an extensive background in the natural sciences and requires a minimum of 15-16 upper division units. Courses in the minor may not be counted toward the major, but may be used to satisfy preparation for the major and general education requirements, if applicable. A minimum of six upper division units must be completed in residence at San Diego State University.
Energy Studies Minor
Master’s Degree Program
The Department of Geological Sciences offers graduate study leading to the Master of Science degree in geological sciences. The program emphasizes research and an advanced set of courses. Faculty research activities comprise a broad spectrum of expertise, including both theoretical and applied interests. Opportunities exist for integrated field and laboratory research. The department is equipped to support research in geophysics, groundwater hydrology, marine geology, and geochemistry as well as the classic areas of mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, stratigraphy and paleontology. Laboratories devoted to geochronology, isotopes, clay mineral analysis, soils, paleomagnetism, and whole rock analysis, as well as the Allison Center (paleontology), support the graduate research program.
The San Diego area enjoys a mild climate which permits year round field activity. An interesting and diverse geological environment provides many opportunities for research in the local area. Many graduate students are supported in their work by grants and contracts from government and industry.
Admission to Graduate Study for M.S. Degree
All students must satisfy the general requirements for admission to classified graduate standing as described in Admission and Registration . In addition, all students should satisfy the following requirements in order to achieve classified standing and enroll in graduate courses.
- Have preparation in geological sciences, mathematics, chemistry, and physics deemed equivalent to the bachelor’s degree in geological sciences at San Diego State University. Candidates whose preparation is deemed insufficient by the master’s program committee will be required to complete specified courses in addition to the minimum 30 units required for the degree. Undergraduate grade point average should be at least 2.5, with a 2.85 in the last 60 units.
- Have successfully completed all courses listed as deficiencies.
- Have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in any courses taken as a post baccalaureate student at San Diego State University.
Students applying for admission should electronically submit the university application available at http://www.calstate.edu/apply along with the application fee.
All applicants must submit admissions materials separately to SDSU Graduate Admissions and to the Department of Geological Sciences.
Applying to the Geological Sciences MS program involves completing the five steps below by their stated deadlines. For each step, please refer to https://admissions.sdsu.edu/graduate/steps-apply for detailed instructions, links, etc. If you have a question or issue not addressed by the Office of Admission website above, then please contact email@example.com. Note that the CSU no longer requires the GRE.
Step 1: Submit your Cal State Apply Application (Deadline: December 15)
Step 2: Create your my.SDSU account (Information emailed within two weeks of completing Step 1)
Step 3: Submit official sealed transcripts to Graduate Admission Office (Deadline: January 12)
Step 4: If required, submit proof of English proficiency to Graduate Admission Office (e.g., TOEFL Test Scores) (Deadline: January 12)
Step 5: Submit the following departmental materials through Interfolio (Deadline: January 12)
A ~500 word overview of your research interests and professional goals.
Name(s) of at least one and up to three faculty members who would be suitable advisors. You are encouraged to contact these faculty prior to the deadline to discuss your research interests and professional goals.
Names and email addresses of two recommenders, who will be invited to complete their recommendation electronically.
Unofficial copies of all transcripts.
Step 6: Review and monitor your application status through my.SDSU.
Again, detailed instructions for completing each of these five steps is provided at https://admissions.sdsu.edu/graduate/steps-apply.
All student applications are evaluated competitively and no fixed numerical standards automatically qualify or disqualify a student for graduate study in the Department of Geological Sciences. Students will be admitted on the basis of merit in relation to space and faculty availability. Graduate teaching associateships are available to a limited number of qualified students.
The San Diego State University (SDSU)-University of California San Diego (UCSD) Joint Doctoral Program (JDP) in Geophysics, with emphasis in Earthquake Science and Applied Geophysics, is a relatively new program between SDSU and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), UCSD, with the first students starting in the Fall of 2010. The emphasis of the program is Earthquake Science and Applied Geophysics, combining strengths from SIO (geodesy, remote sensing, and observational seismology) and SDSU (earthquake geology, rupture dynamics, numerical modeling and computational, strong ground motions, water resources, and reflection seismology). The collective strength of earthquake science and applied geophysics makes the JDP stand out as a unique PhD program in the US. The JDP students start out by taking the same core curriculum courses as the SIO PhD students during their first year, after which they closely work with their SDSU/SIO (co-)advisors on research projects. All graduates from the program hold positions at federal research institutions (e.g., U.S. Geological Survey), prominent universities (e.g., University of Southern California), or private tech companies (e.g., Microsoft, Google).
- Geological Sciences Minor
- Geological Sciences, B.A. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geological Sciences, B.S. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geological Sciences, Emphasis in Engineering Geology, B.S. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geological Sciences, Emphasis in Environmental Geosciences, B.S. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geological Sciences, Emphasis in General Geology, B.S. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geological Sciences, Emphasis in Geophysics, B.S. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geological Sciences, Emphasis in Hydrogeology, B.S. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geological Sciences, Emphasis in Paleontology, B.S. in Applied Arts and Sciences
- Geological Sciences, M.S.
- Geophysics, Ph.D.
- Oceanography Minor