Want to make the move to UH Hilo, and major in Geology? Here's some advice from transfer students, and from students who came over on WUE and NSE programs, as well as students who are from the State of Hawaii.

Important course information for enrolled and transfer students

Introductory geology (GEOL 111-111L) is offered every semester, and historical geology (GEOL 112-112L) is offered every spring. Geology core courses are offered on a cohort basis, meaning they are taught every other year. Mineralogy (GEOL 212) is offered in odd falls (e.g. 2023, 2025) and petrology (GEOL 320) is offered in even springs (e.g. 2022, 2024). One must take minerology to take petrology. Sedimentary geology is offered in the same semester as petrology.

Structural geology (GEOL 330, taught in fall), field methods (GEOL 370, taught in spring), and geomorphology (GEOL 342, taught in spring) are offered in the years that mineralogy/petrology are not taught. Students must have a good grasp of trigonometry to take structural geology, and students must take structural geology to take field methods. We do not offer a traditional summer field camp. Students in the B.S. program take a course in either GIS or remote sensing, plus three electives. Typically, one or two electives are offered every semester. Volcanology is taught in even falls (e.g. 2022, 2024) and petrology is a prerequisite. Students take senior seminar their senior year; a class in science communication is alternative. Physics can be a bottleneck. Physics I labs are offered only in the fall and Physics II labs are offered only in the spring. Waiting until the last possible semester to take physics is a poor idea. Geology of Hawaii (GEOL 205, each spring) does not count toward the major but does satisfy the HPP general education requirement. GEOL 300 satisfies the GCC general education requirement.

The most important advice for everybody: See your advisor every semester before enrolling in classes. You may see any geology faculty member, not just your official advisor.

Click here for a list and description of all geology courses, including electives.

Important course information for transfer students

We strongly advise transfer students to speak to a geology professor prior to enrolling. Your department advisor is Steve Lundblad (even if you are advised by a general advisor, you should confer with a faculty member. Email slundbla@hawaii.edu to set up an advising session.) It is best if transfer students arrive having taken introductory geology, pre-calculus (and ideally chemistry and/or physics.) The alternating year schedule of core courses affects transfer students; that is why it is important to talk to your departmental advisor.

Why should geology students transfer to UH Hilo?

Community College Students

The transfer process will go more smoothly if you arrive with an A.A. degree in hand. Students who arrive in Hilo with an A.A. degree do not have to take any more General Education Courses.

Tips to Make the Transfer Process go Smoothly

  1. If at all possible, take physical geology (plate tectonics, origin and classification of rocks, etc.), and pre-calculus mathematics (trig, geometry, logarithms, functions) prior to arriving in Hilo. This will ensure that you have the prerequisites to start taking geology courses right away. Taking chemistry is a good idea too. Physics and chemistry are taught at two levels: Introductory Physics and Introductory Chemistry are designed for non-science majors. General Physics and General Chemistry are mathematically rigorous courses for B.S. majors. We require the latter, so if you have a choice, take the higher-level General Physics and Chemistry. The same goes for calculus—take the higher-level course intended for B.S. majors.
  2. In most cases it is better to start in the fall rather than the spring. This is because certain courses offered in the fall are prerequisite to certain courses offered in spring. This advice does not apply to freshmen.
  3. In most cases, students can take all their required geology courses in two years if 1) they have already taken physical geology and pre-calculus prior to starting at UH Hilo, and 2) they start in Fall semester. Students must also meet general education, math/physics/chemistry, and writing intensive requirements so the total number of semesters needed to graduate will depend on how many transfer courses meet these requirements.
  4. Contact Jené Michaud (jene@hawaii.edu) if you have questions.

Important Links

Visit the Transfer Student Database, read details about Tuition, and learn about Financial Aid.

Research Opportunities

There are research and job opportunties with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, for UH Hilo Geology students.