Course Descriptions (in numerical order)
GES 1010. Introduction to Environmental Sciences (3)
An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of environmental science through case studies that emphasize the application of the scientific method toward understanding human and natural systems, analyzing the human-nature interface, and developing sustainable solutions. Topics include information literacy; environmental economics, policy, and planning; ecology and complex systems; natural resources management; energy; and sustainability. Prerequisite: Passing the math placement test or successful completion of MAT 0010.
GES 1101. Introduction to Physical Geology (4)
Introduction to the composition, origin, and modification of Earth materials through the study of the Earth's interacting dynamic systems; study and application of the scientific method with reference to the principles of geology as demonstrated through use of case histories and laboratory material. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours. Offered Fall, Spring, and Summer; Global Learning Opportunity (GLO) course
GES 1102. Introduction to Historical Geology (4)
A study of the historical and biological aspects of the science of geology – tectonic models for understanding earth structure and lithospheric history, the physical and paleontological bases for understanding geologic time and dating rocks, biological principles relating to the evolution of organisms revealed in the fossil record, facts and theories of biological evolution, a survey of the evolution of organisms through time, the geologic history of North America, and discussion of the scientific aspects of the scientific-religious controversy of evolution vs. creationism. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours. Offered Fall, Spring
GES 1103. Environmental Change, Hazards, and Resources (4)
A survey of the chemical and physical processes that change the Earth's crust and surface creating geologic hazards and environmental problems for people; human perturbations of the environment that directly and indirectly affect geological change and human life, such as mining, waste disposal, and agricultural practices; and the principles of origin, distribution, availability, environmental Geology consequences of use, and exploration of the Earth's mineral and water resources. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours. Offered Fall, Spring, and Summer
GES 1104. Water: Mountains to Sea (4)
A study of the interaction between terrestrial water and geological phenomena. The course applies the scientific method to the study of the continental components of the hydrologic cycle. It also focuses on the interaction of water with the rock and plate tectonic cycles. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours. Offered Fall and Summer; Global Learning Opportunity (GLO) course
GES 1105. Oceanography (4)
A study of physical, chemical, biological, and geological oceanography and their interrelationships. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours. Offered Spring and Summer
GES 1843. Dinosaurs: Then and Now (3)
Perhaps no fossil animals are more familiar than the so-called "terrible lizards," the dinosaurs. Paleontology is, by definition, a blend of geology and biology, and this course will examine dinosaurs through both disciplinary lenses, as well as considering the history of dinosaur science and the prevalence of dinosaurs in popular culture. This class will survey all aspects of dinosaur paleontology, considering them as fossil organisms and examining their geological, temporal, and current and paleogeographic distribution. Offered Fall
GES 2250. Evolution of the Earth (4)
This course consists of the integrated study of the physicochemical and biological systems of the earth and their evolution over time, including investigation of the persistent linkage of geologic and biologic systems over earth's history. This course provides a basis for understanding the stratigraphic, geochemical, geophysical, and paleontological data utilized to reconstruct earth history, including a survey of the 4.5 billion years of earth system history, with special emphasis on the tectonic history of North America as observed in the Appalachian Mountains. The course also provides a survey of the evolution of life over earth history and an introduction to the paleontological principles utilized in understanding the fossil record of evolution. Introduction to advanced methods of rock and mineral identification and classification. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours. Prerequisite: 4 hours introductory geology (choose one of GLY 1101/1102/1103/1104/1105; GLY 1101 or 1102 are recommended).
GES/AS 2301. Energy Extraction in Appalachia: Past, Present Future (3) - GEN ED: Appalachian Mountains: Community, Culture, and Land (Integrated Learning Experience), cross-listed with Appalachian Studies (AS2301)
This interdisciplinary course covers the environmental, geological, historical, cultural, social, political, and economic aspects of energy extraction and production (coal, natural gas, and emerging energy technologies) in the Appalachians. Major emphasis will be on making connections between these disparate topics, with a focus on how the geologic history of the Appalachians impacts policy, politics, and other current events. Offered Spring; Global Learning Opportunity (GLO) course
GES 2353 - Public and K-12 Outreach in Geological and Environmental Sciences (1)
The student will participate in geological and environmental science outreach events, both on campus and off-campus. Responsibilities include involvement in the events (e.g., explaining geoscience and environmental science topics to the public or school audiences), and preparation for the events (e.g., setting up and breaking down demonstrations). Course may be repeated for a total of three credit hours. Prerequisites: GES 2250 and permission of instructor.
GES 2451. Geological Sample Preparation (1)
Lab- or seminar-style course focused on teaching common sample preparation techniques for rocks, minerals, and soils, and training students in laboratory safety. Topics will vary but may include thin section preparation, sample polishing for electron microscopy, power X-ray diffraction sample preparation, and hazardous material safety training.
Prerequisites: GES 2250 and permission of instructor.
GES 2500. Independent Study (1-4)
GES 2745. Preparation for Geological Science Careers (4) (aka "Prep") - GEN ED: Writing in the Discipline for Geology
This course provides instruction in various aspects of data collection, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and the preparation and presentation of written and oral geologic reports to standards of the profession. Topics include: survey of geologic literature and digital information retrieval services, research design, data management, ethics and safety. Data collection and mapping in the field is a major component of the course and vigorous hiking is required. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours. Prerequisites: GES 2250 and RC 2001 or its equivalent (RC 2001 can be taken as a corequisite). Open only to GES majors and minors, see Lauri Miller to register after meeting with your department advisor. This class will be discontinued after Fall 2021, and replaced with GES 2750 - Preparation for Careers in the Earth and Environmental Sciences
GES 2750. Preparation for Careers in the Earth and Environmental Sciences (3) (aka "Prep") - GEN ED: Writing in the Discipline for Geology
This course provides instruction in geological and environmental science research methods, through both oral and written communication. Topics include: quantitative and qualitative analysis, image processing, survey of scientific literature and digital information retrieval services, research design, data management, and research ethics. Student learning is augmented with peer-review of fellow students’ work and participation in review and revision processes. All activities are designed to help prepare students to more effectively conduct projects and communicate with fellow STEM professionals in their future careers. Lecture three hours. Prerequisite: GES 2250, R C 2001 or its equivalent (R C 2001 can be co-requisite). Open only to GES majors and minors.
GES 2751. Geology Field Methods (2)
This course provides instruction in various aspects of geologic data collection and interpretation in the field. Topics include: geologic mapping, rock identification, data collection, field note procedures, and field ethics and safety. Laboratories will be held on campus (both indoors and outdoors), while field trips will be held outdoors and off-campus (including overnight trips with camping). Vigorous hiking is required on field trips. Prerequisite: GES 2250. Open only to GES majors and minors.
GES 2752. Environmental Science Field Methods (1)
This course provides instruction in various aspects of environmental science data collection and interpretation in the field. Topics include: water, soil, and air sample collection; designing a sampling protocol; surveying using a total station; making a site map in GIS software; estimating stream discharge field note procedures, and field ethics/safety. Laboratories will be held both indoors and outdoors. Prerequisite: GES 2250. Open only to GES majors and minors.
GES 2857. Paleontology Field and Museum Methods (1-3) (aka "Triassic Trip")
Course combines paleontological field and museum work to investigate topics related to evolution of life through time. The course typically requires multiple nights in the field collecting geological and paleontological data followed by time at a natural history museum preparing fossils and archiving data. Specific techniques covered may include field orientation using GPS and map data, rock identification, stratigraphic description and mapping, paleontological reconnaissance and fossil collection. Physically demanding with exposure to extreme weather events possible. Prerequisites: GLY 2250 and permission of instructor.
GES 3025. Principles of Paleontology (3)
Morphology, phylogeny, temporal distribution, and paleoecology of fossils, with emphasis on applying invertebrates to the recognition of ancient environments and environmental change through geologic time. Biological evolution is studied in the scope of the history of the earth. Lecture two hours, laboratory three hours. Prerequisites: GLY 2250 OR 6 hours at the 2000-level or above in either BIO or ANT.
GES 3105 - Preparation for Environmental Science Careers (3) - GEN ED: Writing in the Discipline for Environmental Science
This course is open to Environmental Science (ENV) majors who have successfully completed R C 2001, the second year writing course. This course introduces students to the methods and skills in the discipline related primarily to environmental research methods and written communication. Student learning is augmented with peer-review of fellow students’ work and participation in review and revision processes. A wide range of environmentally-related issues and current events act as the backdrop for the WID activities. Additional modules include scientific ethics and sustainability. All of these activities help prepare students to more effectively conduct projects and communicate with fellow STEM professionals in their future careers. Required readings and related discussions will include scientific journal articles, synthesis papers on environmental topics, opinion papers, and technology transfer articles. Prerequisite: R C 2001 or its equivalent. This class will be discontinued after Fall 2021, and replaced with GES 2750 - Preparation for Careers in the Earth and Environmental Sciences
GES 3110. Environmental Regulation and Enforcement (3)
The purpose of this course is to equip students with an understanding of environmental regulation in the U.S., from its origin as environmental policy to its application and enforcement. This course will provide students with an overview of 1) the role and responsibilities of regulators, 2) the various aspects of industry regulation (with special emphasis on the surface mining industry), and 3) aspects of environmental and safety regulation applicable to industry consultants. The course will conclude a survey of the different mechanisms of regulatory enforcement. Throughout the course, students will be asked to consider and evaluate the varying and often competing interests of industry, regulatory agencies, and private citizens who are impacted by environmental regulation (or the lack of it). This course will benefit any student who intends to work in environmental consulting, industry, government, or environmental advocacy.
GES 3150. Principles of Structural Geology and Tectonics (3)
The nature, classification, genesis, and quantification of microscopic and mesoscopic geologic structures, plus the history and fundamentals of tectonic theory, are the subjects of this course. Prerequisites: GLY 2250 and GLY 2745. Lecture two hours, laboratory three hours.
GES/CHE 3310. Global Biogeochemical Cycles (3) - cross listed with CHE 3310
Students will explore the structure and chemical composition of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere through the lens of fundamental chemical principles. The course will focus on the thermodynamics, kinetics, and redox chemistry that governs the transformation of major elements within environmental compartments and the complex transport processes that link these compartments, Course material will include the environmental impacts of anthropogenic chemicals, and chemical processes used to mitigate environmental impacts. In addition to discussing natural biogeochemical cycles, we will discuss the chemistry underlying environmental issues of both local and global relevance including air quality, pollution of water and soil, and toxic persistent organic pollutants. The laboratory portion of the course will combine laboratory and field measurements with computer modeling exercises to further develop concepts discussed in lecture. Lecture two hours, laboratory 3 hours.
Prerequisites: CHE 1101/CHE 1110 and CHE 1102/CHE 1120.
GES/PHY 3160. Introduction to Geophysics (3) - cross listed with PHY 3160
An introductory survey of whole earth geophysics through theory and practice. The theory portion of the course covers seismology (techniques in reflection and refraction seismology), geothermics, radioactive dating, surface processes, tectonics, orogenics, gravity and gravimetric techniques, electrical and magnetic surveys, and borehole logging. The practical component of the course includes the utilization of several of these methods to study subsurface environments. Lecture two hours, laboratory two hours. Prerequisites OR corequisites: 4 hours introductory geology (choose one of GLY 1101/1102/1103/1104/1105) plus PHY 1103 (or PHY 1150), and MAT 1110, or permission of the instructor.
GES 3220. Fundamentals of Mineralogy (3)
The course focuses on (1) mineral identification and classification, (2) crystal chemistry, (3) X-ray diffraction, (4) analytical electron microscopy (SEM-EDS), and (5) the petrographic microscope. Lecture two hours, laboratory three hours.
Prerequisite: GLY 2250, GLY 2745, and CHE 1101/1110 (GLY 2745 and CHE 1101/1110 can be taken concurrently)
GES 3264. Paleontological Laboratory Techniques and Analytical Methods (1-3)
Lab- or seminar-style course focused on teaching techniques for fossil preparation, replication, imaging, and/or analysis. Topics will vary but may include fossil preparation, specimen imaging, and quantitative analysis of paleontological data. Preparation includes extraction of fossils from rock as well as molding, casting, scanning, and other techniques of fossil replication. Imaging of fossils may include photography and microscopic (optical and scanning) techniques. Analysis includes using mathematical techniques and software used to test paleobiological hypotheses.
Prerequisites: GLY 2857 or GLY 3025 or permission of instructor.
GES 3333. Geomorphology (3)
This course includes a study of the nature of landforms. Qualitative and quantitative aspects of landform analysis in the field and laboratory using maps and aerial photographs are introduced. Prerequisites: at least six hours of geology courses or consent of the instructor. Lecture two hours, laboratory three hours.
GES 3455. Quantitative Data Analysis for Earth and Environmental Scientists (3)
This course provides an introduction to processing, visualizing, and interpreting Earth and environmental science data using scientific computing techniques widely used in the related fields. Biweekly lectures introduce the relevant quantitative methods within the context of Earth and environmental science applications. Weekly laboratories emphasize the application of quantitative tools toward analysis of data in support of various modes of dissemination. Earth science applications include but are not limited to scripting and generating reproducible plots for reports, creating longitudinal stream profiles, temporal, spatial, and magnitude filtering of NEIC earthquake data, and contouring a local water table. Prerequisites: GLY 2250, MAT 1110, and PHY 1150, or permission of the instructor.
GES 3500. Independent Study in Geology (1-4)
GES 3520. Instructional Assistance (1)
A supervised experience in the instructional process on the University level through direct participation in a classroom situation. Graded on an S/U basis. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing. May be repeated for a total credit of three semester hours.
GES 3521. Secondary Science Field Experience (1)
A supervised experience in the instructional process at the secondary school level through direct participation in a classroom situation. Graded on an S/U basis. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing. May be repeated for a total credit of three semester hours. Required of all teacher-licensure candidates in geology.
GES 3530-3549 - Selected Topics (1-4)
GES 3680. Geoarchaeology (3)
The course focuses on fundamental concepts in geoarchaeology and covers the application of earth science concepts, techniques and knowledge to the study of artifacts and the processes involved in the formation of the archaeological record. Preservation of paleoclimate signals in the geological record is considered. Case studies will consider specific North American and global examples.
Prerequisite: GLY 2250 or permission of the instructor.
GES 3703. Issues in Environmental Geology (3)
An in-depth study of critical issues in environmental geology on a regional and global scale. Topics to be covered include: natural hazards, water, mineral and energy resources, and related waste disposal problems under pressures of increasing human population and changing climate. This course will make use of case studies to illustrate specific examples. Lecture three hours. Prerequisite: Six credit hours of Geology courses or permission of instructor.
GES 3715. Petrology and Petrography (3)
This course includes a study of the microscopic, mesoscopic, and macroscopic features; the mineralogy, and the chemistry of rocks; and the study of petrogenetic theory. Prerequisites: CHE 1101 and CHE 1110, GLY 2745, and GLY 3220. Lecture two hours, laboratory three hours.
GES 3800. Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (3)
Properties, classification, and depositional models of sedimentary rocks. Principles of collection and interpretation of stratigraphic data; emphasis on field relationships. Prerequisites: GLY 2250 and GLY 2745. Lecture two hours, laboratory three hours.
GES 3810. The Reef Environment and Geology of Modern Carbonate Systems (3)
This field-based course provides students with an opportunity to study a modern reef environment in an active carbonate depositional system to be used as an analogue for ancient reefs. Locations for the course may include Bermuda, the Florida Keys, and the Bahamas. Course will emphasize species-level identification of major coral and carbonate-producing organisms, processes involved in the construction and destruction of reef systems, biologic and geologic processes that cause alteration of carbonate rocks, and reef responses to environmental changes with sea level rise and fall. Students will use a fieldbook to record field- and lab-based identifications of carbonate rocks and sediment grains, record and describe sample collection techniques, and practice observational skills in the field by making sketches of geologic relationships exposed in outcrop. Course will include pre-trip meetings, which may include lectures, lab-based specimen identifications, and a field-trip to ancient reef systems in nearby exposures. Students must be able to swim in the open ocean, use snorkeling gear (e.g., mask, snorkel, fins), and be comfortable accessing reefs by beach or boat. Prerequisites: GES 2250 and permission of the instructor.
GES 4105 - Analysis and Implications of Environmental Issues (1) - GEN ED: Capstone Experience for Environmental Science
This capstone course emphasizes the critical thinking about environmental problems and solutions, grounded in a multi-disciplinary and systems approach. Students will analyze the causes and implications of environmental problems at the global, national and local level from an issue-based perspective. Students will learn to use the concept of Earth System Science as a framework to assess and act upon environmental problems. The scientific literacy skills gained in this course will be pivotal to the continued success of our graduates in their environmentally-related and/or academic careers. Students are required to disseminate project results via written reports, oral presentations, and/or poster sessions. This course serves as the senior capstone course for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. Prerequisites: ENV 3105, ENV majors only, and senior standing or permission of the instructor.
GES 4210. Geology Seminar (1) - GEN ED: Capstone Experience for Geology
Presentation and discussion of current topics, with emphasis on student projects, petrology, and surficial processes. Prerequisite: senior standing geology major.
GES 4501. Senior Honors Research (1-3)
Initiation of a laboratory or field research project under supervision of a geology faculty member. At least one semester prior to the start of the research project, the student must formally confer with a thesis advisor, submit and have approved a formal research proposal.
Prerequisite: open only to senior GES majors with a minimum GPA of 3.25 in geology courses.
GES 4510. Senior Honors Thesis (3)
This course is designed to be a continuation of a project begun in GES 4501 - Senior Honors Research, under the supervision of a faculty member in Geological and Environmental Sciences (GES). The second reader may be in GES or outside of the department. This course requires a minimum of five hours laboratory or field work per week. An oral report on the project is required and will be presented in a fall or spring GES seminar, and a written thesis will be presented to the department. Prerequisite: GES 4501; senior standing; a minimum GPA of 3.25 in geology courses.
GES 4630. Hydrogeology (3) - Dual-listed with GES 5630
The occurrence of groundwater resources, factors governing groundwater movement through aquifers, and an analysis of techniques for measuring a water resource are the focus of this course. Groundwater contamination and remediation methods will be introduced. Lecture two hours, laboratory three hours. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and a minimum of six semester hours of geology courses above the 1000 level, or permission of the instructor.
GES 4705. Engineering Geology (3) - Dual-listed with GES 5705
Field and laboratory analysis of problems arising from interactions between humans and Earth and application of geologic knowledge to the mitigation of these problems. Lecture two hours, laboratory three hours. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and a minimum of six semester hours of geology courses above the 1000 level, or permission of the instructor.
GES 4835. Summer Field Geology (6)
An intensive five to six week practicum in making geologic maps, measuring sections, and using other field techniques. Prerequisites: GES 3150, GES 3715, and GES 3800.
GES 4900. Internship in Environmental Science (1-12)
Independent, supervised work in Environmental Science at a company, government agency, or non-profit organization. Only three total hours may count toward major requirements. May be taken for a maximum of 12 semester hours. Graded on an S/U basis. Prerequisite: Jr standing.