About the Department

Our mission is to educate students who will fill critical roles in industry and teaching, protect the environment, and develop natural resources. Faculty and students advance scholarship and research in Earth Science. We broaden public understanding of the role of geology in our economy and social well-being.

Our faculty are active researchers who have close ties with industry and academic societies. We are committed to preparing our students for professional careers or further post-graduate education. Our program is based solidly in fundamental geological skills with an emphasis in field experiences.

Note that prior to Summer 2023, the department was named "Geological Sciences Department."

About Our Programs

The Earth Science Department supports highly-regarded undergraduate and graduate (Master of Science) programs. Both undergraduate and graduate students learn from research active faculty and have the opportunity to make their own experiences in scientific experiments and field work.

Some of our faculty describe their research in the videos below:

VIDEO: Dr. Ben Hagedorn - Water Research

VIDEO: Dr. Lora Stevens - Droughts and Global Freshwater Shortages

VIDEO: Dr. Rick Behl - Oil Extraction and the Environment


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 System 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.