Geology is the study of the materials and processes of the earth. This includes rocks and minerals, internal processes such as volcanism, surficial process such as landscape formation, the study of the history of life, and geological hazards.
Geologists are involved in a wide range of activities, including studies of Earth materials and processes, exploration for resources and understanding and protecting the environment.
At TCC, you can earn an Associate of Science with Specialization in Earth Sciences or an Associates of Arts (Option A). Upon completion of this program, you will be prepared to transfer to a four-year institution. For more information about planning your studies, see the guided path tabs lower on this page.
Contact an academic advisor to help you plan your studies in geology.
Ralph Hitz, Instructor and Faculty Advisor
Your guided path toward earning your degree
While in high school, students should pursue all available courses in math, chemistry, biology, physics, and earth science. Once at TCC, students can take many of the supporting sciences that transfer institutions require for their geology degrees. Students can also take a variety of TCC earth science classes to introduce them to the different facets of the field and explore what type of geology they want to pursue.
Different transfer institutions require different levels of supporting sciences, and even at a single transfer institution the exact requirements vary depending on the degree concentration. For this reason it’s imperative to consult with the geology advisor, Ralph Hitz, to develop an academic plan that best prepares you for transfer. Read about TCC degree options in the Degree Program tab.
A Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) degree from TCC, such as the examples listed below, is a great way to start your geology education. Upon transfer to participating Washington four year institutions, all 90 credits of your TCC degree are applied towards your bachelor’s degree. If you decide to delay transfer, or not transfer, then you still have an associate’s degree with a strong science record on your transcript.
Associate of Arts, DTA
This is a great choice if you don’t know what kind of geology you want to study or where exactly you want to transfer to. The AA degree ensures that, upon transfer to DTA-participating Washington schools, all of your general education requirements for your bachelor’s degree are met, and you transfer with junior standing, ready to dig into your major. To follow this path, consult the AA description in the TCC catalog and make sure to complete the classes listed below as you pursue the degree requirements. Be aware of the following caveat: some schools and some geology degree concentrations may require additional Math (153), additional Chemistry (163), and additional Physics (223). However most transfer options in Washington do not require these additional classes. The advantage of pursuing an AA as described here is that you most likely will not need the third quarter of these supporting sciences and also your general education requirements, at your transfer school, are guaranteed to have been met.
MATH& 151, 152
CHEM& 161, 162
PHYS& 221, 222
(recommended- GEOG 205)
Associate of Science, Track 1, DTA
This is a good choice if you know where you want to transfer and know that the degree at your transfer school requires a full year of calculus (Math& 151-3), a full year of chemistry (Chem& 161-3), and a full year of Phys& (114-6, or 221-3). All of these courses are offered at TCC and can be completed within the framework of the AS degree with an Earth Science Specialization, described in the TCC catalog. The only disadvantage to this pathway is that if you change your choice of transfer school you may have classes on your transcript that you don’t need for your major. The other disadvantage is that transferring with an AS does not guarantee that all of your general education requirements will be met at your transfer school. You may have to take additional general education courses once you’ve transferred.
AS-DTA Earth Sciences Specializations Degree Worksheet (PDF) Associate of Science Degree Earth Sciences Specialization
Visit The American Geosciences Institute for workforce reports in the field of geoscience. This annual report documents information about recent graduates and the job market, such as which employment sectors geology graduates find work in, salaries for different level of higher education in geology, and a lot of other useful information for a student considering this field.
Read here for more careers in geology.
Fascinated with other earth science programs at TCC?
We offer several more degrees!
Associate of Science - Specialization in Environmental Science
Environmental science is the study of the interaction of humans and the physical and biological systems of the earth, and the dependence on natural resources by humans. At TCC, you can earn an Associate in Science with Specialization in Environmental Science. Upon completion of this program, you will be prepared to transfer to a four-year institution.
Associate of Arts
An earth science devoted to studying and preserving the ocean. TCC students can earn an Associate of Arts degree to transfer to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor's degree in oceanography