Department of Geosciences

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125 Science Building
Box 41053, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053
T 806.742.3102 | F 806.742.0100


About the Program

This department supervises the following degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Geography
  • Bachelor of Arts in Geosciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Geosciences
  • Master of Science in Atmospheric Science
  • Master of Science in Geography
  • Master of Science in Geosciences
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Geosciences
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology

The geography faculty participates in the Asian studies, environmental studies, international studies, and community and urban studies programs.


Undergraduate Program

Major in Geosciences

The undergraduate program offers a 120-credit-hour major in geosciences with a concentration in geology or geophysics. Students are required to earn at least a C in the major, minor, and adjunct courses. Successful completion of adjunct courses with a C or better is required before upper-division geoscience courses may be taken.

Field work is a requirement for the B.S. degree. If this is a concern, the B.A. should be considered. However, the B.A. degree also requires field work that may be strenuous.

Geology Concentration (B.S. or B.A.).This concentration offers students the choice of either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts degree.

  • Bachelor of Science — The geology concentration for the B.S. degree is designed to prepare the student for admission to a graduate program in geology and employment as a professional geologist. Each student must complete a senior research project (GEOL 4312) as part of the degree requirements. The minor must be in a field of science, mathematics, engineering, or an approved composite of courses from these fields. A well-prepared student should be able to complete the B.S. in Geosciences with a geology concentration with a minimum of 40 hours in geosciences, 18 hours in the minor, and 24 hours in mathematics and physical sciences. For other students, leveling courses may be required. The residency requirement for the major is 12 hours; for the minor, 6 hours.
  • Bachelor of Arts — The geology program leading to the B.A. degree is designed to provide a broad liberal arts background and basic training in the principles of geosciences. The program is designed for students with strong interests in earth processes and the history of nature's initiation of and response to continuous change. Students interested in professional employment or graduate degrees in geology should complete the B.S. degree program, not the B.A. The B.A. program with a concentration in geology requires GEOL 1303, 1101, 2401, 3401, 3402, 4101, 4312, and at least 15 hours of junior-senior level geosciences electives, 9 hours of which must include a laboratory. Adjunct requirements include MATH 1321 or 1550, CHEM 1307, 1107, PHYS 1403. The minor may be in any area approved by the college.

Geophysics Concentration (B.S.). The Bachelor of Science degree allows students to prepare for employment as a professional geophysicist or enter a graduate program in geophysics, atmospheric sciences, or related areas. Unlike geology, the geophysics concentration includes only a Bachelor of Science and requires a minor in mathematics. The courses required for the geophysics concentration are GEOL 1303, 1101, 2401, 3401, 3402, 4101; either GEOL 4312 or ATMO 4312; GCH 3303; GPH 3300, 3310, 4321, 4323; STEM electives and geosciences electives. Adjunct courses include CHEM 1307, 1107; PHYS 1408, 2401. The senior research project (GEOL 4312 or ATMO 4312) must be in a field related to geophysics or atmospheric sciences

Major in Geography

Texas Tech University offers a 120-hour Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a minor in geography, both of which appeal to students who have broad interests in the relationships of humans and the environment, who are curious about the world, and who like to be challenged. Geographers study how people interact with the environment and how various phenomena are distributed and move over the surface of the earth.

The B.A. degree is intended to provide students with a background in the nature of human interactions with the environment and a solid grounding in data collection and analysis techniques such as field data collection, statistical analysis, and geographic information systems.

Undergraduate majors find interesting careers in the public and private sectors. Geographers work with local, state, and national government agencies and the military. In the private sector, there are increasing demands by business and industry for employees trained in field research methods, geographic information systems, statistical analysis, remote sensing, and other skills acquired by geography students. Geography majors also become teachers at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. In addition, the undergraduate program can provide a foundation for students who wish to pursue graduate study, whether in geography or some related professional field such as urban or regional planning, environmental and resource management, law, and public affairs.

The geography major consists of 31 hours of coursework in geography plus MATH 2300 or 2345. Required courses are GEOG 1401, 2300, 3340, 4300; and GIST 3300. An additional 15 hours of junior- and senior-level GEOG and GIST courses. Students majoring in geography must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours of geography courses from Texas Tech. The geography minor requires at least 6 hours from Texas Tech.


The department offers six minors: geography, geology, geophysics, atmospheric science, geographic information science and technology, and a composite minor.

  • The geography minor requires GEOG 1401, 2300 or 2351; GIST 3300; and 9 hours of upper-division GEOG or GIST courses.
  • The geology minor requires GEOL 1303, 1101 (petroleum engineering majors may substitute GEOL 3324), but GEOL 1350 and 1105 may not be included, 2401; one lab course from GEOL 3301, 3401, 3450, or 4334; and additional upper-division GEOL, GPH, GCH hours to total 18 hours in the minor.
  • The geophysics minor requires 9 hours in upper-division geophysics and 9 hours of related science or mathematics coursework.
  • The atmospheric science minor requires ATMO 1300, 1100, 2301, 2316, 3301 and approved elective courses to total 18 hours. Six hours must be junior-senior level. A list of approved elective courses is available from the department.
  • The minor in geographic information science and technology requires GIST 3300, GIST 4304 and four approved electives to total 18 hours. A list of approved electives is available from the department.
  • The composite minor is comprised of courses in mathematics, science, or engineering and is available only to students pursuing a B.S. in Geosciences. The minor consists of 18 hours of electives, at least 6 of which must be at the junior-senior level. Electives in the minor include, but are not limited to, the following courses: ATMO 1300, 1100, 2301, 2316, 3301, 4300; ASTR 1100, 1400, 2401, 4301, 4302; BIOL 1401, 1402, 1403, 1404; CHEM 1307, 1107, 1308, 1108, 3105, 3106, 3107, 3108, 3141, 3301, 3305, 3306, 3307, 3308, 3341, 3351; CE 1305, 2301, 3302, 3303, 3305, 3321; CS 1382, 1411, 1412; CONE 2302, ECE 3301, 1305, 1315, 1206, 1207; GCH 4308, 4405, 3303, GPH 3310, 4300, 4321, 4323; GIST 3300, 4302, 4304, 4308, 4310, 4312; GEOG 3301, 3335; IE 1305; MATH 1451, 1452, 2450, 2460, 3310, 3322, 3342, 3350, 3351, 3354, 3360, 3370, 3371, 3430, 4310, 4312, 4324, 4330, 4331, 4342, 4343, 4350, 4351, 4354, 4356, 4360, 4362, 4363, 4370, 4371; ME 1315, 2301, 2302, 2322, 3322, 3370, 3371, 3403; NS 3302, 4320; NRM 4314, 4315, 4405; PHYS 1403, 1404, 1408, 2401, 2402, 3302, 3304, 3305, 3306, 3401, 4301, 4302, 4304, 4307, 4308, 4309, 4312; PSS 2432; ZOOL 3405, 3406, 4321, 4406, 4407, 4408, 4409, 4410. Other science, math or engineering courses may be included subject to the approval of the department's undergraduate committee.


Teacher Education

The department cooperates with the College of Education in preparing individuals for science certification in the programs in Multidisciplinary Studies (middle-level education) and Multidisciplinary Science (composite science certification). The student should consult the College of Education and the Department of Geosciences for requirements. Geography coursework is included in the social science composite field certification program in secondary education. Specific course requirements for this program may be obtained in the department.


Bachelor of Arts in Geography: Sample Curriculum
Bachelor of Science in Geosciences: Sample Curriculum for a Concentration in Geology
Bachelor of Arts in Geosciences: Sample Curriculum for a Concentration in Geology with a Minor in Geography
Bachelor of Science in Geosciences: Sample Curriculum for a Concentration in Geophysics with a Minor in Mathematics


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Graduate Program

Master's degree candidates may specialize in areas within geology, atmospheric science, geography, and geophysics. At the doctoral level, research concentrations for the major in geosciences are available in the following:

  • Sedimentology, sedimentary petrology, petroleum geology
  • Low temperature geochemistry, igneous petrology, high temperature geochemistry, and stable-isotope geochemistry
  • Paleobiology and biostratigraphy
  • Geophysics, structural geology, tectonics
  • Integrated studies in earth and atmospheric sciences

Details concerning the specific makeup of these groups are available from the department.

General degree requirements are those of the Graduate School. Admitted students are strongly encouraged to associate themselves with a faculty member or members by the end of their first semester in residence. The instructor(s) will serve as the student's principal advisor and will be responsible for the student's degree program.

The department encourages students with bachelor's degrees from other sciences to enter the geosciences graduate program. Required leveling work will be determined on an individual basis, primarily by the staff member(s) in the student's field of interest. A graduate minor may be taken either inside or outside this department.

Master's Program

Master of Science in Geosciences – Requirements for the master's degree in geosciences include completion of a minimum of 24 hours of graduate coursework in geology, geophysics, or related fields and 6 hours of thesis credit. The degree requires a total of 36 hours of graduate course credits.

Master of Science in Atmospheric Science – The master's degree in atmospheric science provides the student with a comprehensive treatment of the dynamics describing the current and future atmospheric state using theory, observations, and numerical modeling. The curriculum is comprised of a minimum of 30 hours of graduate-level coursework, 4 hours of seminar credit, and 6 hours of thesis credit. Students are expected to complete a thesis project as part of the degree requirements.

Master of Science in Geography – The 30-hour master's degree in geography is a thesis-based program designed to provide students with critical thinking skills, specific geographic expertise, spatial analysis techniques, and research experience. Coursework will include GEOG 5312 and 5340, 12 hours in the major, 6 hours in the minor, and 6 hours of thesis.

Doctoral Program

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree follow those of the Graduate School. The first-year Ph.D. student will be expected to prepare and defend research proposals. The intent of this work is to determine whether the individual is capable of doctoral-level research. In the second year, the student will formalize the dissertation topic and committee. Under normal circumstances the committee will consist of three to five members, including the faculty advisor. The Comprehensive Examination will be completed before the end of the fourth long semester in residence. One tool subject is required. Tool subjects include foreign language, computer science, and statistics and are determined by the graduate advisor and the student's dissertation committee. The tool can be met by taking two successive courses in the tool subject for a total of at least 6 semester hours, except for foreign language as outlined in the Graduate School section of this catalog.

Graduate Certificate

The 15-hour Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technologyis designed to provide a flexible solution to professionals and recent graduates who would like to further their education in geospatial technology. The core requirements of the program are GIST 5302, 5304, and two electives. For those new to the field, the program requires GIST 5300 as a leveling course, GIST 5302 and 5304 as core requirements, plus two electives. For recent graduates, credit will not be applied toward the graduate certificate for equivalent courses taken at the undergraduate level. For students who have already completed one or more of the core requirements and/or electives at the undergraduate level, the graduate certificate requires 12 additional hours. For more information, contact Dr. Kevin Mulligan at, 806.834.0391.


Course Descriptions

Atmospheric Science (ATMO)
Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST)
Geography (GEOG)
Geochemistry (GCH)
Geology (GEOL)
Geophysics (GPH)



Alphabetical listing of all TTU faculty and their academic credentials.


Jeffrey Lee, Ph.D., Chairperson

Horn Professor: Chatterjee
Pevehouse Professor: Sylvester
Professors: Asquith, Barnes, Barrick, Elbow, Haragan, Horita, Lee, Lehman, Nellis, Ridley, Schroeder, Templer, Yoshinobu
Associate Professors: Carter, Gurrola, Hetherington, Karlsson, Leverington, Mulligan, Nagihara, Weiss
Assistant Professors: Ancell, Bruning, Cao, Dahl, Kang, Sweet, Vanos
Instructors: Barbato, Cobb, Jones, Weaver
Adjunct Faculty: Holterhoff, Johnson, McGovern, Polyakov, Stout

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