BA in Earth Sciences

The College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) no longer admits students to the major in Earth Sciences. Students who are continuing in this major should note the following degree requirements. Other students with interest in this field of study are encouraged to look into the new BA in Earth & Environmental Sciences and to visit the Department of Earth & Environment website.

The Earth Sciences major is intended to provide the student with a broad earth sciences background in preparation for further, more specialized graduate study or entry-level professional employment.


The major in Earth Sciences requires the completion of fifteen 4-credit courses approved by the department with a grade of C or better in each of the required Earth Sciences and required related courses. In addition, the student must pass an approved summer field course. For further information, contact Professor Lawford Anderson in the Department of Earth & Environment.

Required Earth Sciences Courses

  • CAS ES 105 or 107 or 140 or 142 or 144
  • CAS ES 302 or 351
  • CAS ES 360
  • CAS ES 371
  • At least three of ES 222, 305, 317, 331, 333, and whichever of 302 or 351 is not taken above
  • At least two ES courses at the 400 level or above, exclusive of CAS ES 401, 402, 491, 492
  • CAS ES 500 or, with prior approval from the director of undergraduate studies, an equivalent summer field course

In addition, students are encouraged to enroll for one of the following pairs of courses:

  • CAS ES 401 and ES 402
  • CAS ES 491 and ES 492

Graduation with honors in the major requires successful completion of ES 401 and ES 402. With approval of the Departmental Honors Committee, substantial summer fieldwork may in some instances be combined with either ES 401 or ES 402 as a basis for the honors thesis.

Required Related Courses

  • Mathematics requirement: CAS MA 123 and MA 124; or CAS MA 127 or CAS MA 129
  • Chemistry requirement: CAS CH 101 and CH 102 or CAS CH 111 and CH 112
  • Physics requirement: CAS PY 211 and PY 212 or CAS PY 251 and PY 252

Note: CAS BI 107 may, in very rare circumstances, be used to satisfy earth sciences major requirements with prior written approval of the director of undergraduate studies.

Cooperative Program (Cross-Registration) with Boston College

The Boston Area Consortium permits degree candidates at Boston University to pursue courses in areas of fluid mechanics and geophysics at Boston College. Cross-registration is designated by the symbols XAS (for undergraduate students) and XRG (for graduate students).

Cross-registration information can be found at the Office of the University Registrar’s Boston Area Consortia webpage.