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George Mason University

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityC Faculty AccessibilityB
Useful SchoolworkC Excess CompetitionB
Academic SuccessB Creativity/ InnovationC
Individual ValueC University Resource UseB+
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyD FriendlinessB
Campus MaintenanceC Social LifeC-
Surrounding CityB Extra CurricularsB
SafetyA-
Describes the student body as:

Describes the faculty as:

Female
Super Brilliant
Lowest Rating
Campus Aesthetics/ Beauty
D
Highest Rating
Safety
A-
She cares more about Campus Aesthetics/ Beauty than the average student.
Date: Apr 12 2011
Major: Geography and Geosciences (This Major's Salary over time)
About the Geology Program:

The geology department is very small and you may have the same professor for a handful of classes. Overall, faculty are approachable and friendly to students but the faculty do not socialize with each other. There is very little input into the curriculum from other departments, but this is changing a little bit right now as Geology has moved from our environmental science and policy dept to atmospheric, ocean and earth sciences dept. Some geology classes are more challenging than others, and all professors have very different styles and workloads, so you need to be able to adjust - some classes involve a higher percentage of "memorization only" while others require an ability to synthesize info on the fly. However, be warned that intro to geology I and II do not come anywhere near the difficulty of the upper level classes. Geol 302 is the weeding out class (Mineralogy) and is very challenging. You will be spending hours in lab outside of regular class time. Not a rocks-for-jocks class.

PROS: A fairly standard offering of geology courses with basic field trips. I think you'll get a solid geology undergraduate experience *if you do well* in all of your geology courses. To help with grad school admission, I would recommend taking a couple classes outside of geology to strengthen your background, like physical chemistry or organic chemistry or thermodynamics.

CONS: Classes in geology are pretty standard as far as topics. Geophysics has not been offered here for quite a few years and we don't utilize technology as much as I think we should, but our budget is somewhat limited and there are no grants regularly coming into the department. Small department, no real equipment other than petroscopes and a rock saw, and professors rarely do research with undergrads (make plans to do research with another department - get to know other professors). Students vary semester to semester, but there is always a contingent that have no business as science majors. Many students here tend to be chem, math and physics phobes, so there is no calculus used in lectures, even in geohydrology, due to the fact that GMU also offers a BA in Geology which exempts students from taking physics and calculus.

Once you get in, find a group of students to study with on a weekly, or even daily, basis - this will greatly improve your experience as a major in this department. Since the class is so small, it's important to get to know everyone and find others of similar ability/attitude to really get the most out of the major. Being isolated from your peers in this major (since they are so few) will make you miserable. We have some very bright, hardworking students and some whiny slackers as well, but don't let the latter get to you otherwise you'll lose your motivation.

OVERALL UNIVERSITY COMMENTS:

Politically inactive, very quiet for a school this large, not a lot of controversy. There are a lot of well-to-do students who may be bright but they often tend to be lazy. The DC area has a personality to it that I don't care for - somewhat snooty, status-driven, a bit intellectually pompous, but there are some really grounded people here as well. We also have some incredible bright students and one of the top ranked I/O psych grad programs in the nation. There is a lot of construction going on as the university continues to grow, so expect to see mounds of dirt and construction around campus for now. Campus food is very mediocre.

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