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Earth & Planetary Sciences Department
Earth & Marine Sci.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Phone: 831.459.4089
Fax: 831.459.3074
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General Information

Planning & Requirements Checklists


General Undergraduate Program Advising:
Alicia Marquez
Earth & Planetary Sciences Adviser
387 Thimann Laboratories
Phone: 459-4143
Email: epsadvising@ucsc.edu

Mentorship and Career Advising
Patrick Chuang
Faculty Undergraduate Adviser
Rm. A254, Earth & Marine Sciences Bldg.
Phone: 459-1501
Email: pchuang@earthsci.ucsc.edu

Department Administration
Judy Van Leuven, Administrative Manager
Rm. A233, Earth & Marine Sciences Bldg.
Phone: 459-4478
Email: judy@ucsc.edu

Internship Program
Jim Gill, Director
Rm. A210, Earth & Marine Sciences Bldg.
Phone: 459-3842
Email: jgill@pmc.ucsc.edu

Disability Resource Center
For general advising and testing
146 Hahn Student Services
Phone: 459-2089
Email: drc@cats.ucsc.edu

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You may want to consult first with the Earth and planetary sciences staff advisor to see if you can complete the degree requirements within the time allocated to you upon admission to UCSC.  If you will need to request a quarter or two of extension, you can determine this by filling out a draft plan of your course schedule.

The first formal step in the declaration process is to make an appointment to see your college academic preceptor.  There you will pick up the Declaration of Major petition and go over your general education courses to see what coursework still needs to be completed and what your projected graduation date will be.  Then come to the Earth and planetary sciences staff advisor for help with completion of the rest of the form.  This includes planning out all the courses you need to satisfy requirements for completing the Earth Sciences degree, discussing the various options for completing the senior comprehensive, requesting an extension if needed, and obtaining signatures from both staff and faculty advisors.

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If you are a junior transfer student you should have already completed some of the required coursework.  You’ll need to bring unofficial transcripts, course descriptions, and other published course information to the staff advisor to see if the courses you took elsewhere are equivalent to the required UCSC major courses.  Go to www.assist.org to get this information if you are transferring from a California community college.  For courses taken elsewhere (or those not listed in ASSIST), the staff advisor will give you a Substitution/Waiver Form to submit to the faculty advisor for approval.  These agreements will be kept on record in your student file at the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department..

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There are a number of ways to complete the senior comprehensive (also referred to as the "capstone") requirement.  Each fall quarter the department conducts a workshop designed to help you understand and choose from the options listed below:

Senior Field Internship, EART 188A/B
This is an intensive field mapping and report writing course, generally taken at the end of your junior or senior year, which encompasses what you have learned into a practical exercise such as what you would encounter in advanced graduate work or employment.  It is taught during spring quarter and for approximately five weeks immediately following in summer at the field site, and entails some extra costs to the student for transportation, room and board.  You enroll in both EART 188A and 188B spring quarter, are given administrative incompletes, which are then changed to grades after completion of both courses.  You can still make arrangements with your college to go through the graduation ceremonies in June, but you must apply for a summer term degree (providing you have no other major or GE requirements to complete).   These courses, in conjunction with prerequisite course 109/L fulfills the “W” writing intensive GE requirement.

Senior Thesis
You should start the process for working on a senior thesis no later than fall quarter of your senior year as it takes at least two-three quarters to complete a good quality thesis.  You must have a faculty sponsor whom you would select on the basis of your specific interests and the faculty member's particular expertise.  If you wish course credit for the work leading up to the finished thesis, you may optionally enroll in independent study
EART 195 for one or more quarters. Be sure to enroll in EART 195 if you need to fill the “W” writing intensive GE requirement.

Graduate seminar
Completion, with exemplary performance of a selective course taught at the graduate level (EART 2XX).  This must entail writing a major research paper, and also requires prior approval by the instructor.  Not all graduate courses meet the criteria for fulfilling this option, so be sure to consult the instructor before selecting this as your senior comprehensive.

Forms for approval of either the senior thesis or graduate seminar options are available at the department office. Students occasionally want to take a field or lab internship somewhere else to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement (i.e. to study particular aspects of geology such as glaciers, volcanoes, or to do work in a national laboratory, etc.).  If this is of interest to you, bring a detailed description of the program with a Substitution/Waiver Form to the faculty undergraduate advisor, who will determine if it is an appropriate substitution for one of the senior comprehensive options.

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Please feel free to check in regularly with the staff undergraduate advisor regarding your progress in the major or any other situations for which you might need help or information.  This will assist you in keeping on track to graduation without incurring additional time extensions and costs.  At the beginning of your senior year you will be expected to complete and turn in a Graduation Check-off List to assure that all requirements will be completed by your projected date of graduation.  If you think you will need a waiver or substitution of required coursework, also talk to the staff or faculty undergraduate advisor to see if your request is feasible.  Do not rely on the UCSC catalog for the current quarter’s course information, as changes do occur after the catalog is printed.  The office staff can give you up-to-date lists, which are also posted on bulletin boards outside the department offices and by the teaching labs, as well as at our web site.

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Honors in the major are determined by a review of your grades and narrative evaluations at the time you apply for graduation.  A faculty committee makes the decision based on the quality of all your coursework, but especially your work in the courses required for the major.  Extra coursework or independent work as well as more intensive or rigorous coursework and the quality of your capstone project may also be taken into consideration.  Honors on the senior thesis are determined independently of major honors, and must be approved by two faculty readers.

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If you feel a grade or course evaluation is unfair or incomplete, talk to your instructor about revising the grade and/or evaluation. If s/he agrees, a new version will be given to the Registrar for input to your student record and a new copy will be printed and sent to your college. If you and the instructor cannot agree, there is an appeal process starting with the Department Chair and proceeding to your college administrators. (Refer to The Navigator, Undergraduate Handbook of Academic and Student Affairs, available at your college office.)

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The Earth and Planetary Sciences Department conducts two weekly seminar series:  Whole Earth Seminar, (Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m. in NatSci Annex 101) and IGPP (Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics) Seminar (Fridays at 3:30 p.m. in E&MS B210 or B214).  Scientists from other institutions and organizations such as the U.S. Geological Survey or NASA-Ames Research Center come to Santa Cruz to give talks on their current research.  Speakers are advised that the audience include faculty, graduate students and undergraduate majors.  We encourage you to attend these talks to learn about the latest research and to interact informally with non-UCSC professionals.  A schedule is always posted at the department office.

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Individual studies courses with Earth and planetary sciences faculty (EART 195, 196B, 198 and 199) are designed to provide opportunities for advanced work on subjects or problems for which the student has obtained a grounding in regular courses taken previously for the major.  These may include research with lab or field components culminating in a written report or senior thesis; training in teaching skills in conjunction with an Earth sciences course offering; internships with local companies and governmental agencies; participation in a field project.

Majors may use no more than one course 198 or 199 toward the upper division elective requirements.  (EART 195—Senior Thesis or EART 196B—Teaching in the Earth Sciences may not count toward major course requirements.)  To be designated as lab- or field-intensive, special approval must be obtained from the supervising instructor and the department’s undergraduate faculty advisor.  Credit for individual studies courses gets approved by completing a petition that you pick up at the department's staff advisor’s office.  Once your faculty sponsor has approved your plan and signed the form, the staff advisor will assign you a class number needed for enrollment.  All details regarding the completion of the course, such as how many hours of work will be required each week and what type of final paper or report must be turned in, are worked out between you and your faculty sponsor.  Arrangements for Senior Thesis work should be discussed with your faculty sponsor well in advance, ideally during your junior year, or very early in your senior year.

The Earth & Planetary Sciences Internship Program. This program provides year-round opportunities with local companies and agencies to advanced students seeking work placements related to Earth and planetary sciences topics.  The internship involves both work at the internship site and development of the academic context of the work through either company/agency or campus resources.  The student enrolls in EART 198 (Earth Sciences Internship) after his/her placement is arranged via the department's Internship Director.  The final paper for the internship develops each student’s skills in the writing and revising of professional reports.  You may receive 2 or 5 units of academic credit for work during one quarter, and some internships also provide a salary.  Students may receive credit for internships completed during the summer or any quarter of the academic year.  Application forms are available at the staff advisor's office and at announced meetings prior to the beginning of each quarter.

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Mail folders have been set up in Room A234 E&MS Building to help us keep in contact with you, so we encourage you to check them occasionally.  We ask that you not give this out as your mailing address.  (You must still keep your main box at your college.)  Be sure to set up your free email account with ITS (Information Technology Services), since important notices pertaining to all undergraduate majors and minors may be relayed electronically from department faculty and staff.  Please notify us when you change your email address or use mail servers other than ITS.

We maintain bulletin boards both next to the department office (Rm. A234) and in the D-wing of the building (near the teaching labs) where all sorts of information is posted (scholarship, graduate school, employment and internship opportunities, notices from the Registrar's Office, department seminar series and related campus events, etc.).

There are a variety of department-sponsored events for you to socialize with your peers, graduate students, faculty and staff, so watch for posted signs and email.   Each spring quarter we have a departmental picnic for everyone to celebrate the end of the academic year, and a special ceremony/reception for our graduating seniors and their families.  During each quarter we have a weekly informal "Tea Hour" (usually on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.) where everyone can get together for tea and cookies in the first floor open space in the southwest corner of the building.

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You may be interested in participating in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) during your junior or senior year.  Be sure to check early on with the department advisor to see how the time away will affect your progress toward the degree and which courses taken abroad could apply towards the major.  Informational brochures are available in the department office and the EAP office, located in room 205, Classroom Unit Building.  Check out the website for more information:   http://www2.ucsc.edu/oie/eap/index.php

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The Earth and Planetary Sciences Department offers a series of courses that span the entire range of subject matter in the Earth sciences and will provide majors with a firm foundation for future coursework.  All three foundation courses will be required for the standard major (B.A. and B.S.) and they are prerequisite to many upper-division Earth sciences courses.  They do not need to be taken sequentially, but will require certain prerequisite courses, as listed below. Following is a brief description of each foundation course. 

EART 110A—Evolution of the Earth
Investigation of the processes and mechanisms that have produced the present Earth system, with an emphasis on the temporal evolution of the Earth, from the Archean to the present.  Specific topics covered include cyclicity in Earth processes and the evolution of, and interplay between the planet's crust, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.  Enrollment is permitted by permission code with equivalent or exceptional background, or if enrolled concurrently in Math 11A. Prerequisites: Eart 5/L or 10/L or 20/L and Math 11A or 19A.

EART 110B—Earth as a Chemical System
The chemical properties of Earth materials and the chemical processes by which the planet has evolved to its present state.  Specific topics covered include properties of minerals; the genesis of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks; and the linkage between the solid Earth and the hydrosphere.  Enrollment is permitted by permission code with equivalent or exceptional background, or if enrolled concurrently in Chem1B. Prerequisites: Eart 5/L or 10/L or 20/L and Chem1B.

EART 110C—The Dynamic Earth
Physical processes occurring in the interior of the Earth, at its surface and in the oceans and atmospheres including plate tectonics, structural deformation of rocks, and material and heat transport. Prerequisites:  Eart 5/L or 10/L or 20/L, Math 22 or 23A or Eart 111, and Physics 6A or 5A.

Students must also enroll in a separate laboratory section designed to supplement each of the above foundation courses:

EART 110L—Evolution of the Earth Laboratory (2 credits)
Laboratory sequence illustrating topics covered in course 110A. Emphasis is on quantifying and evaluating different phenomena related to thermal, tectonic, climatic and evolutionary processes.  Concurrent enrollment in course 110A is required.

EART 110M—Earth as a Chemical System Laboratory (2 credits)
Laboratory sequence illustrating topics covered in course 110B. Emphasizes identification of the major rock-forming minerals and common rock types; principles of basic crystallography.  Concurrent enrollment in course 110B is required.

Eart 110N—The Dynamic Earth Laboratory (2 credits)
Laboratory sequence illustrating topics covered in course 110C.  Concurrent enrollment in course 110C is required.

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