The Department of Geological Sciences at CSULB is a student centered program. It provides undergraduate majors with substantial laboratory and field based instruction and opportunities to participate in research, and graduate students investigate a considerable range and variety of research topics for their M.S. theses. The department is student friendly, encouraging students to be "in" the department as much as possible, interacting with faculty, staff, and each other and making use of the computer facility, the teaching laboratories, and the student lounge. Although many graduate students are part-time with full-time employment, several graduate students are employed in the department as teaching assistants and graduate assistants and provided with study and research space so that the department is their "home". Department seminars provide the opportunity for faculty and students to join together biweekly not only to listen to the presentations of invited speakers but also to socialize afterwards over pizza and beer.
The B.S. degrees in Geology and Earth Science are rigorous requiring at least two semesters of calculus and calculus based physics and extensive field work. Field mapping is taught in 2 unit lower division course and 4 unit (4 week) summer field course, as well as in sedimentology/stratigraphy and structural geology. Special attention is paid to development of writing skills in these courses, culminating in the final report in the Summer Field Geology course. Undergraduates have the opportunity to double major in Geology and Environmental Science and Policy or to take considerable related course work in Civil Engineering. Many undergraduate majors work part-time for local geotechnical or environmental geology consulting firms, and most move on to careers with these same companies upon receiving their degrees. Several local companies were founded by and are led by CSULB graduates.
Research topics of recent M.S. theses include tectonics in Mongolia, astronomical cycles recorded in marine sediments of the Santa Barbara basin, the earliest stratigraphic record of the Antler orogeny in north-central Nevada, geochemistry of sediments from the Cascadia subduction zone, and neotectonics of the Palos Verdes fault system. These graduate student research projects reflects the variety of faculty research interests and the varied instruments and laboratory facilities available to support this research.