Department of Geosciences -- Undergraduate Degrees

The objectives of the ISU Geosciences Department are to train students for professional positions or for further study in the geosciences. Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees are offered as well as a minor in Geosciences. ISU also has cooperative agreements with the Geology departments of Boise State and University of Idaho for undergraduate credit transfers and degrees.

Most courses include field trips and hands-on experience. The ISU Geology summer field camp based at the Lost River Field Station north of Mackay, Idaho, is nationally recognized and attended by students from universities nationwide.

Undergraduate Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts in Geology

The B.A. degree is offered to those students who wish either a broader-based liberal arts degree or a broader multi-disciplinary science degree than is possible with the B.S. The B.A. degree is especially suited for future earth science teachers, environmental scientists, environmental lawyers, and others who wish to learn more about how the earth works. The degree fulfills major requirements for secondary school earth science teachers.

Bachelor of Science in Geology

The B.S. degree is offered for undergraduates who wish to become professional geoscientists either after their bachelor's degree or after subsequent graduate study. It trains students in the essential observational and analytical skills of field geology as well as more applied areas of microscope petrology, geochemistry, and geotechnology. The B.S. degree is designed to give the student a broad and comprehensive understanding of the discipline of geology and a firm background in math, physics, and chemistry. Please check the current catalog for additional requirements or changes.

Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Arts in Earth and Environmental Systems

This program represents a new Geosciences emphasis area in integrative Earth systems science.  In recent years, the Department of Geosciences has expanded to include diverse and rigorous cross-disciplinary inquiry, particularly in the area of Geotechnologies.  Links with other departments and programs have strengthened, and this new program in Earth and Environmental Systems formalizes cross-disciplinary linkages in the curriculum.  Furthermore, recent personnel changes have permitted the department to devote an open position to the area of Earth Systems and Geotechnologies applications.

Modern environmental science includes a wide range of emphases that stem from a solid foundation in the physical sciences.  The need for cross-disciplinary study has been recognized by governmental agencies, private industry and other institutions of higher learning.  For example the National Science Foundation provides over 400 million dollars worth of funding (over 10% of its total research budget) to multidisciplinary research; employment opportunities for environmental scientists are expected to increase by 21-35% between 2002 and 2012 (Bureau of Labor Statistics,,  and over 1500 colleges and universities within the US have new programs for environmental study and natural resource management.  These programs of study, and areas of new job growth, focus on understanding the feedbacks and linkages between geology, biology, chemistry, and human management and interactions with these systems. 

The purpose of this program is to deliver a multidisciplinary education with environmental geosciences as a foundation while also drawing upon existing courses from a diverse array of campus programs. The emphases in this program is to span local to global concerns. Core knowledge is developed through a set of required courses across several disciplines, emphasizing the Geosciences, and through required and elective core courses.  Students must choose one track from the following list of 5 (at least 21 credits) to complete the B.S. or B.A. degree in Earth and Environmental Systems.

To be admitted to the geosciences program, ISU recognizes the following
three categories with regard to a student's major.


In the process of applying to Idaho State University, the student may indicate a preference for the Geosciences major. This is not the same as having a major in Geosciences.

Intending to Major

To declare a major in Geosciences, go to the main office in the Geosciences Department, fill out a declaration form, and meet with an advisor to outline a plan of study.

Admittance to Geosciences Major

Once admitted the following requirements need to be taken as soon as possible before taking upper level Geoscience classes:


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