College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences2021-2022

School of Earth and Sustainability

Geology, Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The Geology program in SESES develops an interdisciplinary base of knowledge that students use to understand the physical and biological history of the Earth and the evidence for that history. A distinguishing characteristic of geology is that it includes deep time in its understanding of terrestrial and solar system processes.

The Geology program is based on a strong foundation of physics, chemistry, and mathematics that provides an underpinning for the students as they move through the program and start to develop an appreciation for the complexities of interconnected Earth systems and their physical and chemical processes. Students work in field and lab environments, using the scientific method to develop an understanding of Earth materials and to synthesize information from diverse sources and methods to interpret the geological history of the Earth and the processes that occur on and below its surface. This includes the analysis of topographic maps 40 and remote sensing images using GIS tools to study the three-dimensional geometry of rock units, as well as geochemical and geophysical data obtained in the field and laboratory.

The three emphases within the program allow the students to develop a deeper understanding of specific fields within the subject and to prepare themselves for a range of professional opportunities. These enable them to explore the use of a range of geophysical and geochemical data and understand how to apply it to solve environmental and geotechnical problems. The program also provides experience in studying the interactions of humans with Earth systems using mathematical, physical, and chemical methods.

Student Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe and assess linkages between interconnected Earth systems and relate those linkages to human society.
  2. Analyze properties of Earth materials as recorders of geological processes.
  3. Collect and synthesize complex and often incomplete field data and other spatial information to interpret geologic history.
  4. Evaluate, critique, and synthesize scientific literature and communicate scientific information.
  5. Demonstrate proficiency in quantitative problem solving in a geologic context.
  6. Understand the physical and biological history and evolution of the Earth and the evidence for that history.
Paleontology Emphasis
  1. Explore core aspects of paleontology including phylogenetic analysis and the use of taphofacies, ichnofacies, and fossil assemblages to determine sedimentary depositional environments.
  2. Apply an understanding of the evolution of organisms through time to problems of dating geological sequences.
Applied Geology Emphasis
  1. Explore the use of geologic, geophysical, geochemical, and geomorphic data and apply it to develop solutions to environmental and geotechnical problems.
  2. Study the interactions of humans with Earth systems using mathematical, physical, and chemical methods.
Geophysics Emphasis
  1. Understand how mathematical and physical concepts and principles may be applied to solving problems of the solid Earth.
  2. Obtain and analyze geophysical data including seismology, gravity, magnetics, and resistivity to answer questions about the Earth’s subsurface and surface processes such as earthquakes


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