Explore your interests in geosciences at Lawrence.

The Lawrence University Department of Geosciences is a vibrant, fun, and intellectually stimulating department made up of passionate students and faculty working together to better understand the planet we all call home. We would love to have you join us!

Course Planning for New and Exploring Students

Students interested in pursuing a geosciences major should plan to take one of our introductory courses as a first year or sophomore.

  • GEOS 110: Introduction to the Geosciences
  • GEOS 125: Natural Hazards
  • GEOS 150: Environmental Science

New students should not take more than one natural science laboratory course per term.

Next Steps in the Major

Most geoscientists did not come to college planning to major in the geosciences. Perhaps, you are in a similar situation. Maybe you have completed one of our introductory courses and found our planet to be truly fascinating! Now, you want to learn more about our Earth, what comes next? The following courses are a good way to further explore the geosciences.

  • GEOS 210: History of Earth and Life
  • GEOS 240: The Material World
  • GEOS 214: Climate and Climate Change

There are many different paths you can choose to navigate your way through a major in the geosciences depending on your interests and passions. You might choose to focus on “classical geology” with an eye towards the geological, biological, physical and chemical processes and systems that have formed our planet over billions of years. Or, you might choose to a set of classes more focused on contemporary environmental issues. Regardless of the path you choose, the courses you take will guide you to a greater understanding of how our planet works and the ways that geologic processes and life on Earth have come to create the beautiful and amazing planet that we call home.

Field Work and Off-Campus Study

Field-based studies are at the core of Lawrence geosciences program. Students can expect to participate in field studies starting at the introductory level and again in many of our geosciences courses. These field trips range from 3-hour excursions during standard lab meetings to overnight trips in our 200- and 300-level courses. Additionally, students often participate in one of our GEOS 550 field courses or in an off-campus program.

  • GEOS 550: Seminar in Field Geoscience: During spring break, winter break, or prior to fall term, students conduct field investigations at an area of geological complexity, such as the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, the Lake Superior Region, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico. 
  • Off-campus study: Many of our majors study off-campus for a term or more in a wide variety of programs including studying aboard a tall-ship through the SEA semester program or studying and studying the incredible geology of New Zealand at the University of Aukland. You can learn more about the many off-campus options by visiting the Office of Off-Campus Programs.

Declare a Major/Minor

All students are expected to declare a major before the end of sophomore year. Ideally, sophomore students will declare a major (and switch to an advisor in the major) before advance registration advising begins in spring term.

Major Advising

All students will transition to a major advisor upon declaration. The major advisor will help students plan their coursework to satisfy requirements for the major, select courses in other areas to complement the major or satisfy personal interests, and prepare for their Senior Experience. Prospective geosciences majors can consult with any of the following geosciences faculty about serving as a major advisor:

Add a Major Advisor

Need help identifying an advisor in the major? Students can contact advising@lawrence.edu for assistance with advisor matching.

Minor Advising

Students do not need an official advisor for the geosciences minor. Instead, geosciences minors are encouraged to consult with the department chair or other geosciences faculty for advice on course selection and satisfying minor requirements.

Additional Student Resources

If you still have questions about advising support related to the geosciences program, we invite you to contact the department chair.