Bachelor of Arts in Geology Established at UH Hilo

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Dr. Christopher Lu, (808) 974-7707
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Posted: Mar 18, 2002

The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents recently announced the establishment of a bachelor of arts degree in geology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, effective Fall 2002. The announcement was made at a meeting held on March 15, 2002 at UH Hilo.

"The Geology Department currently offers a bachelor of science degree in geology with a strong mathematical component, designed for students planning to pursue graduate degrees," said Chancellor Rose Tseng. "The bachelor of arts degree in geology will attract students who plan to pursue teacher certification, natural resource management, scientific/technical writing, and other fields combining a strong liberal arts background with science training."

Students in the B.A. track will take most of the same geology courses as students in the B.S. track, but the B.A. students will take fewer supporting courses in math, chemistry, and physics. Calculus and calculus-based physics are required of the B.S. students to prepare them for graduate school, not to prepare them for geology courses, Tseng added.

"The new degree will make the study of geology more accessible to such students, and allow UH Hilo to make more effective use of the Big Island as a living laboratory," Tseng explained.

The B.A. track also differs from the B.S. track in that it offers a wider exposure to various earth science disciplines. Such breadth will be particularly valuable for students planning on careers in secondary education.

The expected outcome of the two geology tracks is a 25 percent increase in geology majors and fuller enrollment in geology courses. The program currently has roughly 25 students.

"We are very excited to be able to offer two degree tracks," said Jene Michaud, chair of the geology department. "The Big Island is a wonderful place to study geology, and with two tracks, we can prepare geology majors for a wider variety of careers.

"What makes this feasible is the fact the new degree does not require any new courses or increased resources," she added. "The two-track system will simply make more efficient use of existing resources."

"The new B.A. in geology will prepare students with a broader background and allow them to be entrepreneurs in exploring and expanding the educational, tourism and business activities related to the uniqueness of geological features on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi," said Dr. Christopher Lu, vice chancellor of academic affairs.