Jul 23, 2024  
2015-2016 University Catalog 
2015-2016 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geological Sciences, Department of

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Department Chair

Phillip A. Armstrong

Department Office/Website

McCarthy Hall 254


Phillip A. Armstrong, Nicole Bonuso, David Bowman, Natalie Bursztyn, Joseph Carlin, Diane Clemens-Knott, Matthew E. Kirby, Jeffrey Knott, W. Richard Laton, Valbone Memeti, James F. Parham, Brady Rhodes, Adam D. Woods


Geological Sciences is the study of Earth through time, including its physical nature, chemical composition and dynamics, as well as its origin and evolution. In addition to the quest for understanding the way Earth works and its relation to the solar system, Earth scientists are involved in the search for energy, mineral and water resources, the evaluation and remediation of environmental hazards, and the prevention and/or prediction of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, coastal erosion and floods. Earth scientists are employed by private industry, (primarily by engineering, environmental, petroleum and mining companies), government agencies, educational institutions and research centers.

The B.S., B.A. and M.S. requirements are designed to help students develop an appreciation and understanding of Earth, as well as prepare them for: (1) employment in industry or government; (2) teaching at the elementary, high school and community college level; and (3) further graduate studies in the geological sciences. Over 30 300-, 400- and 500-level electives are offered on a regular schedule, enabling students to design individual study plans that satisfy their personal educational goals.

General Learning Goals

The following general learning goals have been established for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in geological sciences:

Skills, concepts and processes

  • Describe, classify and interpret geologic field data and interpret the geologic history of an area by integrating all types of field data
  • Read, interpret, and construct geologic maps, cross sections and block diagrams and use such diagrams to visualize geologic relations in the four dimensions of space and time
  • Understand geologic time, explain the geologic time scale and its scientific basis, recount the milestone events in Earth history, and understand the basics of common dating methods

Integrative approach to Earth Science problems

  • Apply physics, chemistry and biology to the understanding of Earth systems and cycles, including plate tectonics and the rock cycle, the water cycle, and the life cycle and evolution
  • Understand the role of geology in everyday life, appreciate the extent of human impact on Earth systems and environments, and understand the processes that create natural hazards, and the strategies that minimize their impact on society

Scientific method

  • Perform independent geological research by applying the scientific method, identify and locate existing geologic information, and communicate data and interpretations orally and in writing using appropriate technology

Programs and Courses Offered




      Geological Sciences

      Courses are designated as GEOL in the class schedule. Students must earn a “C” (2.0) or better in geology prerequisite courses for all upper-division and graduate geology courses.

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