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Earth Sciences, B.Sc.

  • Application Deadline
  • 48 months
University rank #1089 (BCR) San Francisco, CA, United States
The Earth Sciences program of San Francisco State University is designed for students intending to prepare for direct entry into a career as a professional in industry or government, or for graduate school in any of the Earth sciences, such as geology, oceanography, and meteorology.
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The Earth Sciences program of San Francisco State University provides students with a foundation in mathematics, physics, and chemistry; a broad background in the Earth Sciences; an understanding of how Earth’s systems are linked; depth of knowledge in one of three areas of Earth sciences; and strong quantitative, communication, and field skills. The B.S. degree is excellent preparation for professional employment and/or graduate study in one of the Earth sciences. 

Students in the B.S. take a common core of classes and choose one of three areas of emphasis, where they get in-depth training in an area of specialization: Geology; Hydrology; or Ocean, Weather, and Climate. The Geology emphasis provides fundamental skills and knowledge applied to understand processes in the solid Earth, and extensive experience conducting investigations in the field (that is, outdoors). The Hydrology emphasis draws from a broader range of Earth sciences to understand and solve environmental problems of water in Earth’s systems and provides extensive hands-on lab and field work. In the Ocean, Weather, and Climate emphasis, students learn to describe the structure and behavior of the oceans and atmosphere and to apply concepts of mathematics, physics, and chemistry to understand and solve problems about how physical processes in the ocean and atmosphere create weather and climate and how climate can change.

Career paths

Earth science investigations lead to better understanding of fundamental Earth processes and help solve problems arising from environmental contamination or mismanagement; natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, severe storms, and global change; demand for new sources of useful Earth materials; and many others. Earth scientists use sophisticated instrumentation to collect and analyze data, and recent advances have provided new views of Earth, from the internal layers of the solid earth, from the ocean floor, and from both the lower and upper atmosphere, which are leading to improved understanding of our planet. Increasingly scarce energy, mineral, and water resources, and increasing environmental impacts of human activities (both global and local), present challenges that create demand for Earth science expertise. Because of increased demand and projected retirements, a shortage of geoscientists is projected in the near future.

Graduates in Earth Sciences may pursue a wide range of careers in the Earth sciences and related fields. For the next decade, geologists will find the greatest opportunities in the broad areas of environmental and engineering geology; for example, surface and groundwater hydrology studies aimed at characterizing water resources and remediating toxic sites, assessing earthquake and landslide hazards, developing restoration plans for river and coastal environments, and evaluating sites for urban planning or construction. There are also many positions available in the petroleum and mineral exploration industries. A shortage of certified high school and middle school science teachers has placed qualified teachers in high demand. Ocean, weather & climate students will find opportunities in air pollution assessment, global climate change research, and climate change risk assessment, adaptation, and mitigation, with government agencies that work on climate change and coastal management, or consulting firms specializing in coastal dynamics, ocean observations, and alternative energy, for example. Recent job trends suggest that the strongest candidates, regardless of the area of specialization, will have a master’s degree, several years of experience, and an interdisciplinary background with strong chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer, and communication and collaboration skills. Earth scientists in the San Francisco Bay Area are employed by a relatively high concentration of government agencies, academic institutions, and private firms. In addition to preparing students for advanced work as professionals, the M.S. in Geosciences is excellent preparation for a community college or high school teaching career or entry into a doctoral program leading to a career in university teaching and/or research.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 48 months
  • Credits
    120 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses include:
  • General Chemistry: Essential Concepts of Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • General Physics
  • General Physics with Calculus
  • Techniques in Earth Sciences
  • Earth Systems

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: 2.5

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to 2.5 on a US 4.0 grading scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on a 4.0 scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

General Requirements

  • Complete and submit the CSU Application
  • Students will be required to submit official, original or certified/attested copies of all original academic documents in the original language of issue
  • Applicants who are presently attending a college or university in the United States must, in addition to their international records, submit official transcripts of all work completed and in progress
  • Applicants must be qualified to enter a university in their home country and have a good scholastic record from an accredited/recognized school
  • All applicants for admission to the University must pay a $55.00 application fee
  • English language proficiency

Tuition Fee

  • International

    7440 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 7440 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
  • National

    7440 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 7440 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for San Francisco

  • 2206 - 4120 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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