Earth Systems

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 24.9 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 52.5 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jan 15, 2025
56 place StudyQA ranking:2322 Duration:

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The study of earth’s dynamic systems is a field that has seen major advances over the last few decades. Geologists investigate diverse systems that play a large role in controlling the environment at the earth’s surface.

Core Requirements  
GEOL 202 Earth Systems History 3
GEOL 301 Earth Materials: Minerals 4
A minimum of 11 credits from the following courses: 11

GEOL first-year seminar


GEOL 204

Planetary Geology: Meteorites and Asteroids  

GEOL 211

Environmental Geology  

GEOL 213

Earth's Dynamic Systems  

GEOL 401

Structural Geology  

GEOL 402

Sedimentology and Stratigraphy  

GEOL 404

Petrology and Plate Tectonics  
One of the following field-oriented courses: 3-6

ANTH 451

Field School in North American Archaeology H  

BIOL 459

Field Biology at Highlands Biological Station  

GEOL 395

Undergraduate Research in Geology (six credits over two semesters with a preapproved field component)  

GEOL 396

Independent Study in Geology (six credits over two semesters with a preapproved field component)  

GEOL 413

Field Paleontology (six credits over two semesters with a preapproved field component)  

GEOL 601

Summer Field Course in Geology  

GEOL 602

Summer Field Course in Geology  

MASC 472

Barrier Island Ecology and Geology  
Additional Requirements  
One of the following courses: 1 4

GEOL 101
& 101L

Introductory Geology
and Introductory Geology Laboratory

GEOL 103
& GEOL 101L

The Marine Environment
and Introductory Geology Laboratory

GEOL 105
& GEOL 101L

Violent Earth
and Introductory Geology Laboratory

GEOL 109
& GEOL 101L

Earth, Climate, and Life through Time
and Introductory Geology Laboratory

GEOL 110
& GEOL 101L

Earth and Climate for Science Majors
and Introductory Geology Laboratory

GEOL 159
& GEOL 101L

Prehistoric Life
and Introductory Geology Laboratory
CHEM 101
& 101L
General Descriptive Chemistry I
and Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory I
MATH 130 Precalculus Mathematics 3
At least three geology and/or allied science electives not otherwise required for the major (see below chart) 9
Total Hours 41-44

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.


Only one of GEOL 101, GEOL 105, GEOL 109, and GEOL 110 may be taken for course credit.

Geology and/or Allied Science Electives Not Otherwise Required for the Major

Course List
Code Title Hours
ANTH 143 Human Evolution and Adaptation 3
ANTH 220 Principles of Archaeology 3
ANTH 315 Human Genetics and Evolution 3
ANTH 317 Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Adaptation and Behavior 3
ANTH 412 Paleoanthropology 3
ANTH 414 Laboratory Methods: Human Osteology 3
any Astronomy (ASTR)  
any Biochemistry (BIOC) except BIOC 107 and BIOC 108  
BIOL 101
& 101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory H
or any Biology (BIOL) above BIOL 113  
any Chemistry (CHEM) above CHEM 101  
any Computer Science (COMP) except COMP 50, COMP 70, and COMP 380  
ECON 101 Introduction to Economics H 3
ECON 454 Economics of Population 3
ENEC 489 Ecological Processes in Environmental Systems 4
ENEC 490 Special Topics in Environmental Science and Studies H 1-12
any Environmental Health Sciences (ENVR) except ENVR 600  
GEOG 370 Introduction to Geographic Information 3
GEOG 410 Modeling of Environmental Systems 3
GEOG 412 Synoptic Meteorology 3
GEOG 414 Climate Change 3
GEOG 416 Applied Climatology: The Impacts of Climate and Weather on Environmental and Social Systems 3
GEOG 440 Earth Surface Processes 3
GEOG 441 Introduction to Watershed Systems 3
GEOG 444 Landscape Biogeography 3
any Geography (GEOG) above GEOG 477  
any Geological Sciences (GEOL) except GEOL 101, GEOL 105, GEOL 109, and GEOL 110  
any Marine Sciences (MASC) above MASC 101  
any Mathematics (MATH) above MATH 130  
any Physics (PHYS) except PHYS 101, PHYS 132, and PHYS 313  
any Statistics and Operations Research (STOR) 155 or above
  • All students, regardless of their residency and/or citizenship, apply to UNC using The Common Application. The application will ask you for more information, including your personal biographical information, parent and sibling information, educational history, and extracurricular activities. There are also three writing samples: one essay on The Common Application and two short answer responses on the UNC-Chapel Hill Member Page.
  • Secondary School/High School Transcripts
  • All applicants are required to submit a statement from an official at their secondary school. This is often a University Counselor at your school, or an advisor, headmaster, or other official. Please note that this must come from someone at your secondary school. We will not accept statements from private counseling companies or agents.
  • We require one letter of recommendation from a teacher who has taught you in your secondary school.
  • We require all applicants, regardless of where they are from, to submit SAT or ACT scores. Our SAT code is 5816 and our ACT code is 3162. We have no preference between the SAT or ACT. If you send us both scores, we will look at whichever score is higher in our review of your application.
  • TOEFL minimum is 100
  • IELTS minimum is 7.0
  • We do not require or offer interviews as part of our admissions process. However, non-native English speakers are welcome to submit unscripted interviews with third-party services such as InitialView, Vericant or Naviance Advantage. This is not a requirement and will only be used as supplemental information as needed by the Admissions Committee.


We consider all students, including international students, for a limited number of merit-based scholarships. There is no separate application for these scholarships—just by applying for admission, you’ll automatically be considered for these opportunities. Because these are quite limited in number, we encourage all students to be prepared to pay the full cost of attendance.

Students attending one of the 12 United World Colleges (UWC) are eligible for the Davis Scholars Program,providing they demonstrate financial need according to UNC-approved methodology. Admitted Davis UWC students will receive instructions regarding requisite forms for determining financial need. Qualifying Davis UWC Scholars can receive a scholarship of up to $10,000.

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