The Geology Department offers a broad selection of courses aimed at both majors and non-majors. These courses reflect the diversity of modern earth science, covering subjects that range from the nature of environments at the dawn of earth’s history to human effects on today’s earth, from tiny crystals to gigantic tectonic plates, and from the deepest parts of the oceans to asteroids in outer space. We offer a major program that prepares students for graduate school or a career in earth sciences but is also intended for students who seek a broad understanding of earth systems through scientific study en route to careers in teaching, environmental fields, or other areas. Many students incorporate geology into a double major following procedures outlined elsewhere in this catalog.
Students may count Advanced Placement credit earned in biology, calculus, chemistry, or physics toward a Geology major; credit is granted in accord with the standards of the department in which the AP credit is earned. Students seeking to place out of introductory Geology courses on the basis of secondary-school courses in geology need to pass a placement examination administered by the department.
Course Sequence Suggestions.
The department offers a variety of introductory courses in the earth sciences. GEOL 120 (Earth’s Environments) has no prerequisite, provides an overview of the whole of earth science that includes field trips to local sites, and is a good first course for students who see geology as a potential major. This course, offered in both the spring and fall semesters, is also suitable for students who are interested in related fields such as environmental studies, oceanography, and evolutionary biology and are seeking hands-on experience with maps and earth materials. The department also offers a variety of topical introductory courses with no prerequisites intended for non-specialists and non-scientists. In 2005-2006, these are scheduled to include GEOL 111 (Glaciology, Ice Ages, and Climate Change), GEOL/ASTR 117 (Meteorite Impacts in Space and Time), and GEOL 128 (Headlines from the History of Life). These courses require no training in science or mathematics beyond the high-school level.
A substantial number of non-majors also enroll in upper-level geology courses. Students can enroll in any of the 200-level classes after taking GEOL 120 (whether entitled Introduction to Earth Science or Earth’s Environments). In order to enroll in 300-level geology courses, students must complete at least one 200-level course. Students can progress from any of the 200-level courses into any of the 300-level courses with the exception of GEOL 361 (Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology) which has the specific prerequisite of GEOL 201 (Mineralogy).