Associate of Science Degree - Geoscience Emphasis

Location: RDMT 321
Phone: 775-673-7183
Fax: 775-674-7983

The geoscience emphasis in physical science is designed to provide a solid foundation for students interested in geology, natural resources, physical geography, renewable energy (in particular geothermal energy), environmental sciences and planning, and teaching of science. After completing the emphasis program, students will be well prepared to either enter the work force as a technician or transfer to four-year professional baccalaureate degree programs. The program will maximize student transfer opportunities.

Emphasis Outcomes

Students completing the emphasis will:

  • Relate how the various earth systems, consisting of the geosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, interact with each other so as to affect surface landforms, climate and weather, oceanic circulation patterns, and well being of life forms including the human condition.
  • Utilize the theory of plate tectonics to explain the distribution of volcanoes, earthquakes, energy and mineral resources, and formation of different types of rocks and minerals.
  • Demonstrate an ability to identify and classify rocks and minerals and relate their origin to both internal and external forces and processes. Much like words in a book tell a story, students will “read” rocks to interpret their history as written by nature.
  • Recognize that changes in life over time involve feedbacks between life forms and the physical environment—that changes in our physical environment, driven by both internal and external forces, govern the explosions and extinctions of life forms with time and will continue to do so.
  • Apply the scientific method and geologic knowledge gained in a capstone course to interpret the geologic history of select areas of the Reno region through field studies, involving rock and structure identification and plotting their distribution to make basic but informative geologic maps also useful in assessments of geological hazards.

AA/AS degrees are designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university.  

To earn an AA/AS degree, students must:

  1. Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 (see requirements for graduation.)
  2. Complete a minimum of 15 units within the college.
  3. Satisfy General Education requirements for the AA/AS.
  4. Have no financial or library obligation to the college.
General Education Requirements
Must include ENG 102 or ENG 114 1
Fine Arts3
Theater: a Cultural Context
Ancient and Medieval Cultures
Pre-Calculus II (or higher) 2
General Chemistry I
General Chemistry II
Social Science3
The Modern World
Additional College Requirements
Diversity 3[3]
Science 3[6]
U.S. and Nevada Constitutions[3]
American Experiences and Constitutional Change 3
Degree Requirements
BIOL 100General Biology for Non-Majors3
CH 203American Experiences and Constitutional Change3
ECON 102Principles of Microeconomics3
or ECON 103 Principles of Macroeconomics
GEOL 101Geology: Exploring Planet Earth4
GEOL 102Earth and Life Through Time4
GEOL 260Introduction to Field Methods2
MATH 181Calculus I4
MATH 182Calculus II4
PHYS 151General Physics I4
or PHYS 180/180L Physics for Scientists and Engineers I
Additional GE Science units2
Elective Requirements
Select 3 units from the following:3
Physical Geography
and Physical Geography Lab
Climate Change: the Science Basis
Introduction to Geotechnology
Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Natural Disasters
Introduction to Geology of National Park
Geology of Geothermal Energy Resources
Prin of Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences
Physics for Scientists and Engineers II
and Physics for Scientists/Engineers Lab II (preferred) 4
General Physics II
Total Units60

If you place into ENG 102 or ENG 114 the additional 3 required units will become elective units.


MATH 181 and MATH 182 are required of Geology majors at UNR prior to graduation.


Course may also count toward degree requirements. Please consult with Academic Advisement.


PHYS 152 is required for UNR Geology baccalaureate degree.

Note: PHYS 152 is not regularly taught at TMCC; however, PHYS 181/PHYS 181L is normally taught at TMCC.
Plan of Study Grid
1st semesterUnits
CHEM 121 General Chemistry I 4
ENG 101
Composition I
or Composition I for International Students
GEOL 101 Geology: Exploring Planet Earth 4
MATH 127 Pre-Calculus II 3
Diversity/Fine Arts 5 3
 Semester Total17
2nd semester
ECON 102
Principles of Microeconomics
or Principles of Macroeconomics
ENG 102
Composition II
or Composition II For International Students
CHEM 122 General Chemistry II 4
MATH 181 Calculus I 4
 Semester Total14
3rd semester
BIOL 100 General Biology for Non-Majors 3
Humanities 5 3
GEOL 102 Earth and Life Through Time 4
GEOL 260 Introduction to Field Methods 2
PHYS 151
General Physics I
or Physics for Scientists and Engineers I
 Semester Total16
4th semester
CH 202 The Modern World 3
CH 203 American Experiences and Constitutional Change 3
Elective 5 3
MATH 182 Calculus II 4
 Semester Total13
 Total Units60

 See program recommendations or requirements.