Bachelor of Science in Earth Science

The Bachelor of Science in Earth Science prepares students for graduate study, or a wide range of positions in industry, consulting, or state/federal agencies. In addition to required and elective ESCI courses, additional courses in cognate fields (math and science) are required.

Degree Requirements

All Northeastern students must meet the graduation requirements in order to successfully complete their degree, including completion of 120 hours of coursework with satisfactory grades.

Earth Science majors are required to complete 65-67 credit hours of coursework (listed below) and, in addition, are required to complete 30 credit hours of general education requirements. The Natural Science requirement is waived for Earth Science majors.  This allows you to take 23-25 credit hours of coursework in electives. Our advisors will help you choose the electives that will maximize your educational and professional opportunities.

Students planning to pursue an advanced degree (M.S. or Ph.D.) in geoscience should plan to incorporate those cognate courses marked with an asterisk (*).  All students are urged to plan their program with the help of ESCI faculty advising.

Required Courses:

ESCI 207 Global Climate and Weather
ESCI 211 Physical Geology
ESCI 306 Rocks and Minerals
ESCI 311 Mineralogy
ESCI 312 Historical Geology
ESCI 317 Principles of Sedimentation
ESCI 331 Geologic Structures and Map Interpretation
ESCI 390 Field Geology

4 cr.
4 cr.
4 cr.
4 cr.
4 cr.
4 cr.
4 cr.
5 cr.

Electives in Earth Science:

Choose two courses from 300-level Earth Science course offerings


7-8 cr.

Required Courses in Related Fields:

CHEM 211 General Chemistry I
MATH 187 Calculus I
PHYS 201 OR 206, AND PHYS 203 Physics I, with lab

5 cr.
4 cr.
4 cr.

Select one of the following two options (3-4 credits):


*MATH 202 Calculus II
MATH 275 Statistics

4 cr.

3 cr.

In addition, select two options from the following list (8-9 credits)†:

BIOL 201 General Biology I
BIOL 202 General Biology II
*CHEM 212 General Chemistry II
CHEM 213 Quantitative Analysis
CHEM 231 Organic Chemistry I
*PHYS (202 OR 207) AND 204 Physics II with lab
PHYS 215 Physics III


4 cr.
4 cr.
4 cr.
5 cr.
4 cr.
4 cr.
4 cr.


Total 65-67 cr.

† Course substitutions may be allowed by prior arrangement with the undergraduate program advisor.

Check program listings for course pre-requisites/ co-requisites.  A printable version of the requirements and schedule information appears here. [link]


Earth Science courses are sequenced so it is possible to complete the Earth Science major requirements within two years. Shown below is a sample curriculum for a student who choses to take Calculus II. You should plan your individual curriculum in consultation with the Earth Science undergraduate advisor.

Please note:
* Schedules are subject to change depending on program need and faculty availability.
* Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics courses are scheduled by those departments independent of the Earth Science Department. Check with those departments for current offerings.
* Be aware of prerequisites! (This is particularly important for Mathematics courses.)


Fall Semester

ESCI 207: Global Climate and Weather (4 cr hr)
ESCI 211: Physical Geology (4 cr hr)
CHEM 211: General Chemistry (5 cr hr)
TOTAL: 13 credits

Spring Semester

ESCI 306: Rocks and Minerals (4 cr hr)--Offered in Spring only
ESCI 312: Historical Geology (4 cr hr)--Offered in Spring only
ESCI 331: Geologic Structures and Map Interpretation (4 cr hr)
                 --Offered in Spring of odd-numbered years only
MATH 107: Calculus I (4 cr hr)

TOTAL: 16 credits


Fall Semester

ESCI 317: Principles of Sedimentation (4 cr hr)--Offered in Fall only
ESCI 311: Mineralogy (4 cr hr)--Offered in Fall only
CHEM 212: General Chemistry II (4 cr hr)
PHYS 201(or 206) and PHYS 203: Physics I, with Lab (4 cr hr)
TOTAL: 16 credits

Spring Semester

ESCI 3xx: elective (4 cr hr)
ESCI 3xx: elective (4 cr hr)
MATH 202: Calculus II (4 cr hr)
PHYS 202 (or 207) and PHYS 204: Physics II, with Lab (4 cr hr)
TOTAL: 16 credits

Summer Session

ESCI 390: Field Geology (5 cr hr)--Offered only in some years; check with the department for plans.
TOTAL: 5 credits

Research and Internship Opportunities

Many Earth Science students pursue research and internship opportunities with department faculty, local consulting firms, national laboratories, or governmental agencies such as the USEPA or USDA.  We will help you find opportunities that match your interests and will provide the experience you seek.  Please contact Ms. Jean Hemzacek at or (773) 442-6056, or the Student Center for Science Engagement at (773) 442-5636.

Program Contact Information

If you are interested in declaring a major or minor in Earth Science, or you have any questions about the Earth Science Department, please contact Ms. Jean Hemzacek at or (773) 442-6056.