Degree Requirements

2014 - 2015 Catalog

The Geology department has the following degrees:

Geology major leading to BA degree

A major in geology leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree is recommended for students interested in careers outside of science, including business, law, or policy and requires 36 credits as follows:

  1. One course chosen from GEOL 100, 101, or 105
  2. At least 21 credits in geology at the 200 or 300 level and at least 3 credits at the 300 level, distributed as follows. (Courses may be used to meet more than one requirement in this category.)
    1. Field skills: one course chosen from GEOL 230, 231, 275
    2. Solid earth: one course chosen from GEOL 211, 250, 275, 360
    3. Hydrosphere/biosphere/atmosphere: one course chosen from GEOL 141, 205, 311
    4. Surface processes: one course chosen from GEOL 240, 247, 330
    5. Two lab courses chosen from GEOL 211, 240, 247, 250, 311, 330
  3. Additional courses chosen from Engineering; Geology; Mathematics; BIOL 105 or higher; CHEM 110; CHEM 165 or higher; CSCI 111 or higher; INTR 202; PHYS 111 or higher
  1. One course chosen from:
    • GEOL 100 - General Geology with Field Emphasis

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Fall
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: Open to First-years or sophomores only. Instructor consent for juniors and seniors is rarely given. GEOL 100A is open to FY students only.

      The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered, with special emphasis on field study in the region near Lexington. No credit for students who have completed GEOL 101. Offered on occasion as a First-Year Seminar. Contact the instructor for additional information. Laboratory course.

      GEOL 100 FS: General Geology with Field Emphasis (4): First-Year Seminar.

    • GEOL 101 - General Geology

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent required. Preference given to First-years and sophomores.

      The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered. No credit for students who have completed GEOL 100. Laboratory course.

    • GEOL 105 - Earth Lab

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: First-Year standing only.

      The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements.

  2. At least 21 credits in geology at the 200 or 300 level and at least 3 credits at the 300 level, distributed as follows.
  3. (Courses may be used to meet more than one requirement in this category.)

    • Field skills:

      one course chosen from:

      • GEOL 230 - Field Methods in the Appalachians

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2015 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent and GEOL 100 or 101.

        An introduction to the study of geology in the field with special attention to the methods used by geologists to make, record, and interpret field observations. The course includes study of and field trips in the central Appalachian region.

      • GEOL 231 - Environmental Field Methods

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2016
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent and either GEOL 100, 101 or 105.

        An introduction to the study of standard methods, equipment and tools used in environmental field investigations. Special attention is given to methods used by geologists to measure, record, and report field observations associated with groundwater, surface water, soil and air. Focus is given to the validity of data obtained using various investigative strategies as well as data handling and presentation. The course has an intensive field component using the local watershed as a model environmental system.

      • GEOL 275 - Introductory Geophysics

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, 101 or 105 and PHYS 111 or 112.

        Corequisite: GEOL 395 Geophysics Lab.

        A review of the geophysical methods used to study the interior of the Earth, the magnetic field, isostasy, and earthquake seismology. Attention is given to the methods used in geophysics to collect and analyze data. A gravimeter, a magnetometer, seismic refraction and electrical resistivity equipment are used to collect field data. The data, corrections, and interpretations are incorporated into a technical report for each of the four surveys.

    • Solid earth:

      one course chosen from:

      • GEOL 211 - Earth Materials I: Rocks and Minerals

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        A laboratory course introducing Earth materials, including minerals and rocks, with an emphasis on a hands-on approach to identifying and interpreting minerals and their associations in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Students learn the techniques and principles of hand sample identification, optical mineralogy and petrography, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy.

      • GEOL 250 - Structural Geology and Tectonics

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Winter 2016 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: MATH 101 and GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Description and methods of analysis of large- and small-scale structural features of the Earth's crust. Topics also include the analysis of geometry, strain and stress as they relate to deformation in the earth. Rock mechanics, application of structural geology in environmental engineering and resource exploration, geometric and computational techniques used in structural analysis, interpretation of geologic maps, and the structural development of mountain systems are also covered. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 275 - Introductory Geophysics

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, 101 or 105 and PHYS 111 or 112.

        Corequisite: GEOL 395 Geophysics Lab.

        A review of the geophysical methods used to study the interior of the Earth, the magnetic field, isostasy, and earthquake seismology. Attention is given to the methods used in geophysics to collect and analyze data. A gravimeter, a magnetometer, seismic refraction and electrical resistivity equipment are used to collect field data. The data, corrections, and interpretations are incorporated into a technical report for each of the four surveys.

      • GEOL 360 - Tectonics and Thermochronology

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        An introduction to mountain belts and thermochronologic techniques used to quantify tectonic processes. Topics include: orogenic wedges, metamorphic core complexes, rifting, strike-slip systems, orogenic plateaus, the relationship between tectonics and climate, and the use of bedrock and detrital thermochronology to measure rates of faulting, erosion, and exhumation. Concepts are discussed in the context of natural examples, including the Appalachians, the European Alps, the Himalaya, the Andes, and the Basin and Range Province of the southwestern United States.

    • Hydrosphere/biosphere/atmosphere:

      one course chosen from:

      • GEOL 141 - Global Climate Change

        FDR: SC
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Not offered in 2014-2015
        Credits: 3


        A study of Earth's complex climate system and the impact of human activities on future climates. Through readings, discussions, data analyses and modeling exercises, the past and future changes in temperature, ocean circulation, rainfall, storminess, biogeochemistry, glacial ice extent and sea level are explored.

      • GEOL 205 - History and Evolution of the Earth

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        An introductory examination of the origin and physical evolution of the Earth as inferred from the rock record. Areas of particular emphasis include: (1) the origin of the solar system and differentiation of the planets; (2) the evolution of the terrestrial atmosphere and hydrosphere; (3) explanations for the development of life; (4) organic evolution and interpretations of "mass extinctions;" (5) the changing configuration of continental blocks and ocean basins by continental drift, seafloor spreading, and plate tectonics; and (6) the growth of continental blocks and their mountain systems.

      • GEOL 311 - Earth Materials II: Geochemistry

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        A laboratory course emphasizing the principles and tools of the chemical composition of Earth materials to interpret petrogenesis. The course focuses on processes occurring below and at the Earth's surface. Topics include: crystal chemistry, magmatic and metamorphic processes, trace element and isotope geochemistry, oxidation and reduction, and water-rock interactions. The laboratory includes both a local field and laboratory component and focuses on using analytical techniques to evaluate chemical composition including electron microscopy, ion chromatography, X-ray diffraction, and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

    • Surface processes:

      one course chosen from:

      • GEOL 240 - Hydrology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Winter 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Systems and processes of water movement on and below the Earth's surface. Encompasses the theoretical and applied aspects of soil moisture, runoff, flooding, groundwater movement, and water-well use. Numerical evaluation of flow properties from field and lab data describing water movement in soils, aquifers, and streams. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 247 - Geomorphology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Investigation of landforms from maps, aerial photographs, digital data, and the analysis of the surficial processes by which they are formed. Laboratory activities include identification and interpretation of topography, field measurements of landscape form and process, and a required weekend field trip. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 330 - Sedimentation and Stratigraphy

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Properties, origins, and dynamics of sediments and sedimentary rocks. Correlation, organization, and historical interpretation of the sedimentary rock record. Field and laboratory analyses of sedimentary rocks. Laboratory course.

    • Two lab courses chosen from:
      • GEOL 211 - Earth Materials I: Rocks and Minerals

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        A laboratory course introducing Earth materials, including minerals and rocks, with an emphasis on a hands-on approach to identifying and interpreting minerals and their associations in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Students learn the techniques and principles of hand sample identification, optical mineralogy and petrography, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy.

      • GEOL 240 - Hydrology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Winter 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Systems and processes of water movement on and below the Earth's surface. Encompasses the theoretical and applied aspects of soil moisture, runoff, flooding, groundwater movement, and water-well use. Numerical evaluation of flow properties from field and lab data describing water movement in soils, aquifers, and streams. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 247 - Geomorphology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Investigation of landforms from maps, aerial photographs, digital data, and the analysis of the surficial processes by which they are formed. Laboratory activities include identification and interpretation of topography, field measurements of landscape form and process, and a required weekend field trip. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 250 - Structural Geology and Tectonics

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Winter 2016 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: MATH 101 and GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Description and methods of analysis of large- and small-scale structural features of the Earth's crust. Topics also include the analysis of geometry, strain and stress as they relate to deformation in the earth. Rock mechanics, application of structural geology in environmental engineering and resource exploration, geometric and computational techniques used in structural analysis, interpretation of geologic maps, and the structural development of mountain systems are also covered. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 311 - Earth Materials II: Geochemistry

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        A laboratory course emphasizing the principles and tools of the chemical composition of Earth materials to interpret petrogenesis. The course focuses on processes occurring below and at the Earth's surface. Topics include: crystal chemistry, magmatic and metamorphic processes, trace element and isotope geochemistry, oxidation and reduction, and water-rock interactions. The laboratory includes both a local field and laboratory component and focuses on using analytical techniques to evaluate chemical composition including electron microscopy, ion chromatography, X-ray diffraction, and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

      • GEOL 330 - Sedimentation and Stratigraphy

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Properties, origins, and dynamics of sediments and sedimentary rocks. Correlation, organization, and historical interpretation of the sedimentary rock record. Field and laboratory analyses of sedimentary rocks. Laboratory course.

  4. Additional courses chosen from:
    • Engineering
    • Geology
    • Mathematics
    • BIOL 105 or higher
    • CHEM 110; CHEM 165 or higher
    • CSCI 111 or higher
    • INTR 202
    • PHYS 111 or higher

Geology major leading to BS degree

A major in geology leading to a Bachelor of Science degree is recommended for students pursuing graduate school or employment in geology and consists of at least 57 credits as follows:

  1. One course chosen from GEOL 100, 101, or 105
  2. CHEM 110, MATH 101, PHYS 111/113
  3. At least 8 additional credits chosen from BIOL 111/113; BIOL 210 or higher; CHEM 165; CHEM 211 or higher; PHYS 112/114; PHYS 202 or higher
  4. One course chosen from CSCI 121, GEOL 260, INTR 202, or MATH 102 or higher
  5. At least 24 credits in geology at the 200 or 300 level and at least 7 credits at the 300 level, distributed as follows. (Courses may be used to meet more than one requirement in this category.)
    1. Field skills: one course chosen from GEOL 230, 231, 275
    2. Solid earth: one course chosen from GEOL 211, 250, 275, 360
    3. Hydrosphere/biosphere/atmosphere: one course chosen from GEOL 141, 205, 311
    4. Surface processes: one course chosen from GEOL 240, 247, 330
    5. Two lab courses chosen from GEOL 211, 240, 247, 250
    6. One lab course chosen from GEOL 311, 330
  6. Thesis: at least four credits from either GEOL 472(2-2) or GEOL 493(3-3)
  7. Additional credits chosen from Engineering; Geology; Mathematics; BIOL 111/113; BIOL 140: BIOL 210 or higher; CHEM 106; CHEM 156; CHEM 165 or higher; CSCI 112 or higher; PHYS 133; PHYS 150 or higher
  8. A comprehensive examination in geology.
  1. One course chosen from:
    • GEOL 100 - General Geology with Field Emphasis

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Fall
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: Open to First-years or sophomores only. Instructor consent for juniors and seniors is rarely given. GEOL 100A is open to FY students only.

      The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered, with special emphasis on field study in the region near Lexington. No credit for students who have completed GEOL 101. Offered on occasion as a First-Year Seminar. Contact the instructor for additional information. Laboratory course.

      GEOL 100 FS: General Geology with Field Emphasis (4): First-Year Seminar.

    • GEOL 101 - General Geology

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent required. Preference given to First-years and sophomores.

      The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered. No credit for students who have completed GEOL 100. Laboratory course.

    • GEOL 105 - Earth Lab

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: First-Year standing only.

      The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements.

  2. Additional required courses:
    • CHEM 110 - General Chemistry

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 4


      NOTE: Instructor Consent required for upper-division students ONLY. Contact Lisa Alty for Instructor Consent.

      This is a foundational course for those pursuing upper-level chemistry and biochemistry. Fundamental vocabulary, concepts, and principles that appear throughout the chemistry and biochemistry curriculum are introduced. Topics include basic chemistry calculations, quantum mechanics in chemistry, molecular structure, chemical thermodynamics, and chemical kinetics. In addition, a range of spectroscopic methods including UV-Vis, Atomic Absorption, and XRF are employed in the laboratory. While no previous knowledge of chemistry is required, some background is advantageous. Laboratory course.

    • MATH 101 - Calculus I

      FDR: FM
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      Note: Students needing this course to fulfill an FDR requirement should add to a waiting list when open; additional sections may be added.

      An introduction to the calculus of functions of one variable, including a study of limits, derivatives, extrema, integrals, and the fundamental theorem.

      Fall 2014 descriptions:

      MATH 101: Calculus I (3). This section assumes that students have already seen some calculus, yet want to start over at the beginning of the calculus sequence. Students who have never seen calculus should instead take 101B (note that 101, 101B, and 101E all lead into Math 102). An introduction to the calculus of functions of one variable, including a study of limits, derivatives, extrema, integrals, and the fundamental theorem. The class meets four days a week. (FM) Dymàcek, Keller, Staff.  
       
      MATH 101B: Calculus I for Beginners: A First Course (3). This class is restricted to and specially tailored for those who are beginning their study of calculus. Students who have already taken calculus cannot take this section. Students who have already seen calculus, yet wish to retake it, must register for 101 or 101E instead of 101B. An introduction to the calculus of functions of one variable, including a study of limits, derivatives, extrema, integrals, and the fundamental theorem. This section meets four days per week. (FM) Staff.

      MATH 101E: Calculus I with Biology Applications (3). Prerequisite: Instructor consent. Corequisite: BIOL 111 or CHEM 110. This section has a strong emphasis on biological applications, and is intended to benefit students interested in biological majors and health-related careers. It is designed and specially tailored for First-Years who took high school biology and who are taking a college lab science course concurrently. It is intended both for those students who have never had calculus before and also for those who have seen some calculus yet want to start over at the beginning of the calculus sequence. Mathematical concepts include the study of limits, derivatives, extrema, integrals, and the fundamental theorem of calculus. This section meets four days per week. Toporikova.

    • PHYS 111 - General Physics I

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH 101 or equivalent.

      Corequisite: PHYS 113

      An introduction to classical mechanics and thermodynamics. Topics include Newton's laws, wave motion, and the laws of thermodynamics. This course must be taken simultaneously with Physics 113.

    • PHYS 113 - General Physics Laboratory I

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 1
      Planned Offering: Fall
      Credits: 1


      Corequisite: PHYS 111. A laboratory course to accompany PHYS 111.

      Laboratory exercises in classical mechanics.

  3. At least 8 additional credits chosen from:
    • BIOL 111 - Fundamentals of Biology

      FDR: SL: BIOL 113 is a corequisite for students seeking laboratory science credits
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: For BIOL 111/113: Limited seating available for sophomores, juniors and seniors. Interested upper-division students should contact Helen I'Anson, in the Biology department, for consent as soon as the class schedule is available and before registration begins. Suitable for First-Years interested in pursuing a major in biology, neuroscience or environmental studies or the pre-health curriculum.

      Corequisite: BIOL 113.

      An intensive investigation of scientific thought and communication applied to topics that vary among sections and terms. Specific subjects, chosen from within the scope of modern biological investigation according to the expertise of individual instructors, are examined in the context of major concepts such as evolution, regulation, growth, and metabolism. This course, and its companion laboratory, are prerequisites for all higher level biology courses.

    • BIOL 113 - Biology Laboratory

      FDR: SL: see note in BIOL 111
      Credits: 1
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 1


      Prerequisites: For BIOL 111/113: Limited seating available for sophomores, juniors and seniors. Interested upper-division students should contact Helen I'Anson, Head of the Biology department, for consent as soon as the class schedule is available and before registration begins. Suitable for First-Years interested in pursuing a major in biology, neuroscience or environmental studies or the pre-health curriculum.

      Corequisite: BIOL 111.

      A laboratory course to accompany BIOL 111. Students are trained in basic techniques of biological research by demonstrations and investigatory exercises, including data analysis and scientific communication.

    • BIOL 210 - Human Parasitology or higher

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: BIOL 111 and 113.

      A survey of the phenomenon of animal parasitism, including discussion of the chief distinguishing structures, life cycles, and functions of major pathogenic parasites infecting humans and other animals.

    • CHEM 165 - Dynamic Systems Modeling and the Global Climate

      FDR: SC
      Credits: 4
      Credits: 4


      Scientists agree with economists, doctors, investors, and CEOs that computer models are the best tools that we have available for understanding complex systems and addressing predictive challenges therein. In this course, you learn to design, create, and implement models of simple systems, beginning with creating a model that reproduces measureable behavior of a system in which we all have interest - the temperature of the earth. Students learn about the atmosphere, its chemistry, and its dynamics and build a "simple" model to reproduce actual measureable data. You learn to think about the design of models in terms of sources, sinks, stocks, flows, feedback, events, rates, and equilibrium. Finally, you independently identify a system to model that is either relevant to the atmosphere, to the biosphere, or of general interest to you. Readings include selections from an introductory text on computational science, excerpts from texts on global climate that involve both the policy and the science of the atmosphere, and whatever material needed to complete the final project.

    • CHEM 211 - Analytical Chemistry or higher

      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: CHEM 110 and sophomore standing.

      Emphasis on inorganic systems exhibiting aqueous solution equilibria. Topics covered include acid/base reactions, redox reactions, complexation, precipitation reactions, and solution equilibrium. Laboratory work emphasizes basic wet-chemical as well as more sophisticated instrumental techniques of chemical quantitative analysis with appropriate statistical methods of data handling. Laboratory course with fee.

    • PHYS 112 - General Physics II

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: PHYS 111.

      Corequisite: PHYS 114

      A continuation of PHYS 111. Topics include electricity and magnetism, optics, relativity, and quantum theory. This course must be taken simultaneously with PHYS 114.

    • PHYS 114 - General Physics Laboratory II

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 1
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 1


      Corequisite: PHYS 112. A laboratory course to accompany PHYS 112.

      Laboratory exercises in electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics.

    • PHYS 202 - Relativity or higher

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: PHYS 112 and 114.

      An examination of the special theory of relativity. Emphasis is placed on kinematic effects of the theory, conservation of momentum, conservation of energy, and electromagnetic implications of the theory. A brief introduction to general relativity is entertained.

  4. One course chosen from:
    • CSCI 121 - Scientific Computing

      FDR: FM
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 4


      An introduction to computer programming for scientific applications and a survey of the main methodological areas of scientific computation. The course provides the tools needed for students to use computers effectively in scientific work, whether in physics, chemistry, mathematics, economics, biology, psychology, or any field involving quantitative work. Programming in Matlab, a scientific-computing software package, with a focus on topics relevant to students' major fields of study. Lectures and formal labs.

    • GEOL 260 - GIS and Remote Sensing

      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Winter 2015 and alternate years
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105. For GEOL or ENV majors only, or by instructor consent.

      A laboratory course introducing the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing in geological/environmental analyses and decision making. Students use state-of-the-art software with a wide variety of spatial geologic, environmental, economic and topographic data derived from satellites; remote databases and published maps to evaluate geologic conditions; local landscape processes; environmental conditions; and hypothetical land-use cases.

    • INTR 202 - Applied Statistics

      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: INTR 201.

      An examination of the principal applications of statistics in accounting, business, economics, and politics. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability, estimation, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis.

    • MATH 102 - Calculus II or higher

      FDR: FM
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: The equivalent of MATH 101 with C grade or better. Note: Students wanting to take this course should add to the waiting list when open; additional sections may be added.

      A continuation of MATH 101, including techniques and applications of integration, transcendental functions, and infinite series.

  5. At least 24 credits in geology at the 200 or 300 level and at least 7 credits at the 300 level, distributed as follows.
  6. (Courses may be used to meet more than one requirement in this category.)

    • Field skills:

       one course chosen from:

      • GEOL 230 - Field Methods in the Appalachians

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2015 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent and GEOL 100 or 101.

        An introduction to the study of geology in the field with special attention to the methods used by geologists to make, record, and interpret field observations. The course includes study of and field trips in the central Appalachian region.

      • GEOL 231 - Environmental Field Methods

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2016
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: Instructor consent and either GEOL 100, 101 or 105.

        An introduction to the study of standard methods, equipment and tools used in environmental field investigations. Special attention is given to methods used by geologists to measure, record, and report field observations associated with groundwater, surface water, soil and air. Focus is given to the validity of data obtained using various investigative strategies as well as data handling and presentation. The course has an intensive field component using the local watershed as a model environmental system.

      • GEOL 275 - Introductory Geophysics

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, 101 or 105 and PHYS 111 or 112.

        Corequisite: GEOL 395 Geophysics Lab.

        A review of the geophysical methods used to study the interior of the Earth, the magnetic field, isostasy, and earthquake seismology. Attention is given to the methods used in geophysics to collect and analyze data. A gravimeter, a magnetometer, seismic refraction and electrical resistivity equipment are used to collect field data. The data, corrections, and interpretations are incorporated into a technical report for each of the four surveys.

    • Solid earth:

      one course chosen from:

      • GEOL 211 - Earth Materials I: Rocks and Minerals

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        A laboratory course introducing Earth materials, including minerals and rocks, with an emphasis on a hands-on approach to identifying and interpreting minerals and their associations in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Students learn the techniques and principles of hand sample identification, optical mineralogy and petrography, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy.

      • GEOL 250 - Structural Geology and Tectonics

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Winter 2016 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: MATH 101 and GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Description and methods of analysis of large- and small-scale structural features of the Earth's crust. Topics also include the analysis of geometry, strain and stress as they relate to deformation in the earth. Rock mechanics, application of structural geology in environmental engineering and resource exploration, geometric and computational techniques used in structural analysis, interpretation of geologic maps, and the structural development of mountain systems are also covered. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 275 - Introductory Geophysics

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, 101 or 105 and PHYS 111 or 112.

        Corequisite: GEOL 395 Geophysics Lab.

        A review of the geophysical methods used to study the interior of the Earth, the magnetic field, isostasy, and earthquake seismology. Attention is given to the methods used in geophysics to collect and analyze data. A gravimeter, a magnetometer, seismic refraction and electrical resistivity equipment are used to collect field data. The data, corrections, and interpretations are incorporated into a technical report for each of the four surveys.

      • GEOL 360 - Tectonics and Thermochronology

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        An introduction to mountain belts and thermochronologic techniques used to quantify tectonic processes. Topics include: orogenic wedges, metamorphic core complexes, rifting, strike-slip systems, orogenic plateaus, the relationship between tectonics and climate, and the use of bedrock and detrital thermochronology to measure rates of faulting, erosion, and exhumation. Concepts are discussed in the context of natural examples, including the Appalachians, the European Alps, the Himalaya, the Andes, and the Basin and Range Province of the southwestern United States.

    • Hydrosphere/biosphere/atmosphere:

      one course chosen from:

      • GEOL 141 - Global Climate Change

        FDR: SC
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Not offered in 2014-2015
        Credits: 3


        A study of Earth's complex climate system and the impact of human activities on future climates. Through readings, discussions, data analyses and modeling exercises, the past and future changes in temperature, ocean circulation, rainfall, storminess, biogeochemistry, glacial ice extent and sea level are explored.

      • GEOL 205 - History and Evolution of the Earth

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 3


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        An introductory examination of the origin and physical evolution of the Earth as inferred from the rock record. Areas of particular emphasis include: (1) the origin of the solar system and differentiation of the planets; (2) the evolution of the terrestrial atmosphere and hydrosphere; (3) explanations for the development of life; (4) organic evolution and interpretations of "mass extinctions;" (5) the changing configuration of continental blocks and ocean basins by continental drift, seafloor spreading, and plate tectonics; and (6) the growth of continental blocks and their mountain systems.

      • GEOL 311 - Earth Materials II: Geochemistry

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        A laboratory course emphasizing the principles and tools of the chemical composition of Earth materials to interpret petrogenesis. The course focuses on processes occurring below and at the Earth's surface. Topics include: crystal chemistry, magmatic and metamorphic processes, trace element and isotope geochemistry, oxidation and reduction, and water-rock interactions. The laboratory includes both a local field and laboratory component and focuses on using analytical techniques to evaluate chemical composition including electron microscopy, ion chromatography, X-ray diffraction, and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

    • Surface processes:

      one course chosen from:

      • GEOL 240 - Hydrology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Winter 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Systems and processes of water movement on and below the Earth's surface. Encompasses the theoretical and applied aspects of soil moisture, runoff, flooding, groundwater movement, and water-well use. Numerical evaluation of flow properties from field and lab data describing water movement in soils, aquifers, and streams. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 247 - Geomorphology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Investigation of landforms from maps, aerial photographs, digital data, and the analysis of the surficial processes by which they are formed. Laboratory activities include identification and interpretation of topography, field measurements of landscape form and process, and a required weekend field trip. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 330 - Sedimentation and Stratigraphy

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Properties, origins, and dynamics of sediments and sedimentary rocks. Correlation, organization, and historical interpretation of the sedimentary rock record. Field and laboratory analyses of sedimentary rocks. Laboratory course.

    • Two lab courses chosen from:
      • GEOL 211 - Earth Materials I: Rocks and Minerals

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        A laboratory course introducing Earth materials, including minerals and rocks, with an emphasis on a hands-on approach to identifying and interpreting minerals and their associations in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Students learn the techniques and principles of hand sample identification, optical mineralogy and petrography, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy.

      • GEOL 240 - Hydrology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Winter 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Systems and processes of water movement on and below the Earth's surface. Encompasses the theoretical and applied aspects of soil moisture, runoff, flooding, groundwater movement, and water-well use. Numerical evaluation of flow properties from field and lab data describing water movement in soils, aquifers, and streams. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 247 - Geomorphology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2014
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Investigation of landforms from maps, aerial photographs, digital data, and the analysis of the surficial processes by which they are formed. Laboratory activities include identification and interpretation of topography, field measurements of landscape form and process, and a required weekend field trip. Laboratory course.

      • GEOL 250 - Structural Geology and Tectonics

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Winter 2016 and alternate years
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: MATH 101 and GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Description and methods of analysis of large- and small-scale structural features of the Earth's crust. Topics also include the analysis of geometry, strain and stress as they relate to deformation in the earth. Rock mechanics, application of structural geology in environmental engineering and resource exploration, geometric and computational techniques used in structural analysis, interpretation of geologic maps, and the structural development of mountain systems are also covered. Laboratory course.

    • One lab course chosen from:
      • GEOL 311 - Earth Materials II: Geochemistry

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        A laboratory course emphasizing the principles and tools of the chemical composition of Earth materials to interpret petrogenesis. The course focuses on processes occurring below and at the Earth's surface. Topics include: crystal chemistry, magmatic and metamorphic processes, trace element and isotope geochemistry, oxidation and reduction, and water-rock interactions. The laboratory includes both a local field and laboratory component and focuses on using analytical techniques to evaluate chemical composition including electron microscopy, ion chromatography, X-ray diffraction, and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

      • GEOL 330 - Sedimentation and Stratigraphy

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2015
        Credits: 4


        Prerequisite: GEOL 100, GEOL 101 or GEOL 105.

        Properties, origins, and dynamics of sediments and sedimentary rocks. Correlation, organization, and historical interpretation of the sedimentary rock record. Field and laboratory analyses of sedimentary rocks. Laboratory course.

  7. Thesis:
  8. at least four credits from either:

    • GEOL 472 - Senior Research Thesis (2-2)

      Credits: 2-2
      Planned Offering: Fall-Winter
      Credits: 2-2


      Prerequisite: GEOL-100 GEOL-101 or GEOL-105 and instructor consent.

      Candidates for the Bachelor of Science degree in geology are urged to undertake research on a field or laboratory problem which can lead to the presentation of a senior thesis. Work on this project should be started in the spring term of the junior year. Interested students should consult members of the faculty who will help define the problem and provide guidance during research.

    • or
    • GEOL 493 - Honors Thesis (3-3)

      Credits: 3-3
      Planned Offering: Fall-Winter
      Credits: 3-3


      Prerequisite: GEOL-100 GEOL-101 or GEOL-105, honors candidacy and instructor consent.

      Honors Thesis.

  9. Additional credits chosen from:
    • Engineering
    • Geology
    • Mathematics
    • BIOL 111 - Fundamentals of Biology

      FDR: SL: BIOL 113 is a corequisite for students seeking laboratory science credits
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: For BIOL 111/113: Limited seating available for sophomores, juniors and seniors. Interested upper-division students should contact Helen I'Anson, in the Biology department, for consent as soon as the class schedule is available and before registration begins. Suitable for First-Years interested in pursuing a major in biology, neuroscience or environmental studies or the pre-health curriculum.

      Corequisite: BIOL 113.

      An intensive investigation of scientific thought and communication applied to topics that vary among sections and terms. Specific subjects, chosen from within the scope of modern biological investigation according to the expertise of individual instructors, are examined in the context of major concepts such as evolution, regulation, growth, and metabolism. This course, and its companion laboratory, are prerequisites for all higher level biology courses.

    • BIOL 113 - Biology Laboratory

      FDR: SL: see note in BIOL 111
      Credits: 1
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 1


      Prerequisites: For BIOL 111/113: Limited seating available for sophomores, juniors and seniors. Interested upper-division students should contact Helen I'Anson, Head of the Biology department, for consent as soon as the class schedule is available and before registration begins. Suitable for First-Years interested in pursuing a major in biology, neuroscience or environmental studies or the pre-health curriculum.

      Corequisite: BIOL 111.

      A laboratory course to accompany BIOL 111. Students are trained in basic techniques of biological research by demonstrations and investigatory exercises, including data analysis and scientific communication.

    • BIOL 140 - Natural History of Rockbridge County

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: Non-biology majors only. Open to biology majors only by instructor consent.

      An introduction to the flora and fauna of Rockbridge County, with heavy emphasis on first-hand field experience. Readings include historical and current descriptions of biological communities and species typical of this area of Virginia, The close relationship between natural history and the fields of ecology and evolution is explored. Discussions and field trips emphasize the history of natural communities in the Shenandoah Valley and Southern Appalachians, the changes to these communities caused by human, and conservation strategies. Students should be prepared to be outside in all weather, hike in rough terrain, and enjoy field exploration (including early mornings and night excursions).

    • BIOL 210 - Human Parasitology or higher

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: BIOL 111 and 113.

      A survey of the phenomenon of animal parasitism, including discussion of the chief distinguishing structures, life cycles, and functions of major pathogenic parasites infecting humans and other animals.

    • CHEM 106 - Disorder and Chaos

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring
      Credits: 4


      An interdisciplinary introduction to the concepts underlying nonlinear dynamics and fractal geometry emphasizing the theories of chaos and complexity. Students study mathematical and computer modeling of physical and social systems and interpret the results of these models using graphical methods and written descriptions. Methods and concepts from calculus are demonstrated but no mathematics beyond high-school algebra is assumed. The laboratory component consists of a series of projects from diverse areas of the natural sciences, including pendulum motion, oscillating chemical reactions, and natural growth patterns. Laboratory course.

    • CHEM 156 - Science in Art

      FDR: SC
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: Instructor consent.

      This course develops students' fundamental understanding of certain physical, chemical, biological, and geological concepts and utilizes that vocabulary and knowledge to discuss 17th-century Dutch art. The emphasis is on key aspects of optics, light, and chemical bonding needed to understand how a painting "works" and how art conservators analyze paintings in terms of conservation and authenticity, using techniques such as X-ray radiography, X-ray powder diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, Raman microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, infrared microscopy, infrared reflectography, gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, UV-vis spectroscopy, UV photography, and laser ablation methods. When possible, the course develops modern notions of science with those of the 17th century in order to see how 17th-century science influenced 17th-century art.

    • CHEM 165 - Dynamic Systems Modeling and the Global Climate or higher

      FDR: SC
      Credits: 4
      Credits: 4


      Scientists agree with economists, doctors, investors, and CEOs that computer models are the best tools that we have available for understanding complex systems and addressing predictive challenges therein. In this course, you learn to design, create, and implement models of simple systems, beginning with creating a model that reproduces measureable behavior of a system in which we all have interest - the temperature of the earth. Students learn about the atmosphere, its chemistry, and its dynamics and build a "simple" model to reproduce actual measureable data. You learn to think about the design of models in terms of sources, sinks, stocks, flows, feedback, events, rates, and equilibrium. Finally, you independently identify a system to model that is either relevant to the atmosphere, to the biosphere, or of general interest to you. Readings include selections from an introductory text on computational science, excerpts from texts on global climate that involve both the policy and the science of the atmosphere, and whatever material needed to complete the final project.

    • CSCI 112 - Fundamentals of Programming II or higher

      FDR: SC
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: CSCI 111.

      A continuation of CSCI 111. Emphasis is on the use and implementation of data structures, introductory algorithm analysis, and object-oriented design and programming with Python. Laboratory course.

    • PHYS 150 - The Immense Journey: Harmonices Mundi or higher

      FDR: SL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Fall. When departmental resources permit
      Credits: 4


      The classical astronomy of the solar system is traced by a study of Greek astronomy and the revolutionary ideas of Kepler and Newton. The apparent and real motions of the earth, moon, and planets are studied in detail, as well as special phenomena such as eclipses, tides, and objects such as comets and asteroids. Emphasis is on comprehension and application of principles rather than memorization of facts. The laboratory stresses the observational aspects of astronomy. Elementary geometry, algebra, and trigonometry are used in the course. Laboratory course.

  10. A comprehensive examination in geology.