TMU to of­fer geo­science ma­jor in 2018

The Signal - - NEWS - By Christina Cox Sig­nal Staff Writer

Be­gin­ning in fall 2018, The Master’s Univer­sity will of­fer a new de­gree pro­gram to its stu­dents: a Bach­e­lor of Science in Ge­ol­ogy.

The ma­jor will teach stu­dents how to in­ves­ti­gate the his­tory of the earth, study the ma­te­ri­als of which it is made and un­der­stand the in­ter­nal struc­ture of the planet and the forces act­ing upon it.

“We are ex­cited about the fact that our fac­ulty voted this fall to add (the ma­jor) to our science pro­grams,” said Joe Fran­cis, dean of the TMU school of science, math­e­mat­ics, technology and health. “We have not added a science ma­jor in about 50 years to our pro­gram as both the bi­ol­ogy and math pro­grams were started in the late 1960s.”

More than two years ago, af­ter the univer­sity re­ceived fund­ing through the Cen­ters of Ex­cel­lence Re­search Grant Pro­gram, TMU be­gan dis­cussing a new de­gree pro­gram it could of­fer to its stu­dents, ac­cord­ing to TMU As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Bi­ol­ogy and Ge­ol­ogy Matt McLain.

McLain went on to ex­plain how the depart­ment con­sid­ered adding chem­istry or physics, but cited bud­getary, stu­dent in­ter­est and ca­reer op­tions af­ter grad­u­a­tion is­sues as rea­sons why they went with ge­ol­ogy.

“With ge­ol­ogy, you don’t need as much space, and it’s a re­ally good mar­ket for jobs af­ter grad­u­a­tion. They hired me on to start head­ing us in that di­rec­tion and this last fall we were ap­proved to start the ma­jor,” McLain said.

Stu­dents in the geo­science ma­jor will take the depart­ment’s core cour­ses in bi­ol­ogy and physics, but they will also take unique classes study­ing phys­i­cal ge­ol­ogy and the earth’s rocks, his­tor­i­cal ge­ol­ogy and the earth’s record and struc­tural ge­ol­ogy and the earth’s faults and folds.

TMU plans to con­tinue its stance on ori­gins in this de­gree pro­gram, where stu­dents study the cre­ation story and in­ter­pret “science through faith rather than faith through science.”

“When­ever you deal with nature in any ca­pac­ity, you’re look­ing at God’s hand­i­work and there’s a lot of things to think about there,” McLain said. “With ge­ol­ogy and en­vi­ron­men­tal science, there’s a lot of ideas about man­age­ment of re­sources, fig­ur­ing out where they should build and those kind of ques­tions… There’s also think­ing about be­ing con­cerned for your neigh­bor.”

Out­side of the class­room, stu­dents will com­plete labs and take field trips to var­i­ous lo­ca­tions.

“The adage goes that the best ge­ol­o­gist is the one that stud­ies the most rocks. If you want to be a good geo­sci­en­tist, you have to go out into the field,” McLain said. “We plan to take all kinds of dif­fer­ent field trips and vis­it­ing dif­fer­ent sites around South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Ari­zona, Ne­vada and Death Val­ley.”

Once stu­dents grad­u­ate with a de­gree in ge­ol­ogy, they will have sev­eral ca­reer op­tions that in­clude re­search, the Na­tional Parks Ser­vice, oil and gas com­pa­nies, min­ing com­pa­nies and con­sult­ing jobs for builders.

En­try-level ge­ol­o­gists with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree earn an av­er­age of $92,000 a year and in­crease their profit mar­gin within the first 20 years of em­ploy­ment, ac­cord­ing to

Out­side of the per­sonal and pro­fes­sional ben­e­fits of the pro­gram, McLain said he is look­ing for­ward to shar­ing his knowl­edge with stu­dents and in­form­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of Chris­tian ge­ol­o­gists.

“Peo­ple seem re­ally ex­cited about it,” McLain said. “In turn, it makes me re­ally ex­cited to see some­thing like this go for­ward and see more Chris­tians in­volved in the ge­o­log­i­cal sciences and see peo­ple trained well so they can do good work and get a good ed­u­ca­tion and think through what they’re see­ing out in nature.”

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