Jul 19, 2024  
2022-2023 SLCC General Catalog 

Geology: AS

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Associate of Science | 62 credits minimum

Program Website
Academic and Career Advising

Program Description
This program provides a strong foundation in geology with a hands-on and project-based approach. The program emphasizes the collection, analysis and interpretation of data in the field and laboratory setting, research and the application of scientific inquiry. Students will learn how to use technical field equipment to collect and analyze real field data. Students will learn how to apply geologic principles to help solve real-world problems through case studies. This program is fully articulated with the Bachelor of Science geology program at the University of Utah (UofU) so that students arrive at the UofU at junior status in the geology program there.

Career Opportunities
The demand for workers in geoscience fields is projected to grow 21 percent between 2010 and 2020 nationally (National Research Council, 2013a), and by 2.2% annually for the same time period in Utah (Utah Department of Workforce Services, 2015). In comparison, the completion rates of students completing bachelor’s degrees in geoscience has stagnated. Left uncorrected, the current pipeline of geoscience students is not adequate to meet future workforce needs (Perkins, 2011; National Research Council, 2013b). It is therefore critical that institutions of higher education, specifically community colleges, identify ways to improve the recruitment, retention, and completion of students in geoscience fields (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2012).

In 2015, 40% of graduates with a bachelor’s degree in geoscience worked in the environmental industry (assessing contaminants in soil and water, hydrogeology, hydrology, and water quality). Starting salaries for recent graduates in this industry are about $30,000-$50,000 and the median salary for all geoscientists working in this field is around $80,000. Graduates with master’s degrees make more money and mainly work in the oil and gas industry with starting salaries around $100,000-$120,000. A master’s degree also makes a recent graduate more competitive in the environmental industry (Wilson, 2016).

In 2015, recent graduates with bachelor’s degree worked in the following sectors: 40% Environmental Services, 16% Oil and Gas, 11% Federal Government, 9% Four-Year University, 7% Information Services, 3% K-12 Education, 4% Nonprofit/NGO, 4% State or Local Government, 2% Agriculture/Forestry/Fishery, and 4% Other (Wilson, 2016).

In 2014, there were about 324,000 geoscientists working in the United States over the next decade, 48% of the workforce will be at or near retirement. Therefore, a shortage of geoscientists is expected (Wilson, 2016).

National Research Council (2013a) Preparing the Next Generation of Earth Scientists: An Examination of Federal Education and Training Programs. National Academy of Science Board on Earth Sciences and Resources.
National Research Council (2013b) Emerging Workforce Trends in U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action. National Academy of Science.
President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2012) Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. p. 130.
Utah Department of Workforce Services (2015) Utah Occupational Report for Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers. 2015 [cited 2015 July 24]; Available from: https://jobs.utah.gov/jsp/wi/utalmis/oidoreport.do.
Wilson, Carolyn (2016) Status the Geoscience Workforce 2016, American Geosciences Institute.

All three lower-division geology classes for majors at SLCC articulate to the three lower-division geology classes at the University of Utah (U of U). Formal articulation agreements have been established at the U of U and Westminster College so that students can start at junior status. In order to start at junior status at the U of U, students will need to complete Physics 2210 in the electives. This program revision helps students who are behind in their allied sciences at SLCC and enables them to transfer just below junior status but continue to work through the allied science classes at the U of U while also working through the geology classes. They can take geology classes that don’t require Physics 2210. 

Estimated Cost for Students
Tuition and student fees: http://www.slcc.edu/student/financial/tuition-fees.aspx
Course fees: $140

Note: Fees vary based upon specific registration and are subject to changes.

General Education Requirements

Complete all General Education courses. Refer to Notes for program specific requirements and recommendations.


Program General Education Notes


Quantitative Literacy (QL): MATH 1060  or
MATH 1080  or
                                               MATH 1210

Physical Science (PS): satisfied through pre-major coursework.

Program Requirements

Time to Completion & Graduation Map

  • Geology AS: Full-time  
  • Geology AS: Part-time  
  • Time to completion is six semesters based on a full-time minimum of 12 credits per semester. However, if students are enrolled in Math 1060 Trigonometry their first semester, then they can complete in four semesters with 14 to 16 units per semester.

Program Learning Outcomes

Program learning outcome alignment with Student Learning Outcomes  in brackets.

  • Apply the scientific method to evaluate geologic problems. [1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9]
  • Write scientific papers and cite high-quality sources. [2,8]
  • Identify and describe rocks, minerals, rock formations, natural resources, fossils, landforms, and plate tectonic settings. [1,4]
  • Analyze rock and fossil characteristics to interpret past depositional environments. [1,4]
  • Describe and analyze geologic evidence for the evolution of life, sedimentation, tectonics, and climatic history. [1,4]
  • Identify, describe, and analyze surficial landforms associated with landslides, streams, shorelines, glaciers and desert environments; the physical processes that shape them; and their relationship to society. [1,4]
  • Construct and interpret maps and cross-sections for the purposes of evaluating geologic phenomena and problems. [1,3,4]
  • Describe the physical processes and societal adaptation to natural hazards such as global climate change, mass wasting, floods, sea-level rise, volcanoes, and earthquakes. [1,4]
  • Analyze and evaluate geologic evidence for the theory of plate tectonics, plate boundaries, internal layers of earth, and earthquakes. [1,4]

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