In the department of Earth and Environmental Geosciences (formerly Geology) we explore Earth’s natural systems, including its rocky surface and interior, the oceans and rivers of the hydrosphere, the icy cryosphere, the climate and the atmosphere, and the co-evolution of the biosphere and the planet. The geosciences are a multi-disciplinary effort aimed at understanding the physical and chemical nature of the Earth, the evolution and impact of life on our planet, and how global processes operate now, in the past, and in the future. The Earth and environmental geosciences combine the scientific study of Earth materials, such as minerals, rocks, and fossils, and planet-scale processes uncovered through Earth-observing data derived from satellites, geophysical instruments, and models. The geosciences explain how past and present-day ecosystems and environments have been and continue to be shaped by plate tectonics, volcanism, mountain building, climate change, evolution, and human activity through time.
Introductory courses are designed to contribute significantly to a liberal arts education and an understanding of Earth and the environment. Advanced courses are more specialized and provide the highest possible level of general and pre-professional training for majors. Students in the department pursue a Geology or Environmental Geology concentration that prepares students to pursue careers in the geological and environmental sciences, business, and education, as well as government and public service. Upon graduation, many majors attend graduate school in geology, hydrology, oceanography, environmental sciences, and environmental policy and law. Other graduates go directly into a wide spectrum of employment situations, including business, environmental consulting, teaching, administration in schools and museums, and mineral resources and petroleum-related jobs.
The Department of Earth and Environmental Geosciences offers courses that deal with the processes occurring in and on the planet Earth. Topics include oceanography, ground water, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and the origin and evolution and extinction of life. Students with an interest in these topics and in the environmental sciences should consider taking an introductory course in the department (see below for fall offerings). Students interested in majoring or minoring in Geology or Environmental Geology should consider taking GEOL 190 in their first year.
For further details, please refer to the University Catalog and consult the department chair or other department faculty members.