Core Graduate Courses

GEOL 2001 Scientific Writing and Communication - 3 Credits

The geologic odyssey course is required for all new MS and PhD students in geology and planetary science. It is designed to introduce students to the professors and science carried out in the department. Each week will be run by a different professor who will present their background, research, and conduct a "micro-class" on some aspect of this work.


GEOL 2002 Mineralogy-Petrology - 3 Credits

In this course, the student will gain an understanding of the basics of mineralogy and petrology, including crystal structure, optical mineralogy using a petrographic microscope, mineral chemistry, mineral associations in different rock types and soil, and the processes and conditions under which igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and minerals form and are altered.    


GEOL 2015 Colloquium - 1 Credit

Geology colloquium is a required course for MS and PhD students in geology and planetary science each term. It is a formalization of the seminar series with weekly guest speakers from industry, academia, and government.  Each seminar will focus on a different research topic in the earth sciences and describe active and on-going projects of immediate interest to students.


GEOL 2021 Adv Petrology - 3 Credits

The origin and characteristics of the common igneous rocks and minerals are studied in light of natural and synthetic rock systems.  Main topics covered are equilibrium relations of the main silicate systems, petrogenesis of the principal igneous rock types and their relation to plate tectonic regimes, and generation and source of magma.


GEOL 2049 Paleoclimatology - 3 Credits

This course presents the different types of data used to study the earth's climatic history and long-term climatic variability. Particular emphasis is given to the climatic changes during the last Cenozoic -- the so called glacial ages. Topics of discussion include time scales of climatic change, types of paleoclimatic records and their limitations, numerical climate models, the causes of climatic change, and the importance of paleoclimatic research in forecasting the future.


GEOL 2054 Soils: Geobiochemical Landscapes - 4 Credits

An overview of soils with a strong emphasis on landscape scale process.  The course consists of lecture and laboratory/field work.  The lecture will include description of physical and chemical soil properties and processes, discussion of major soil classifications and description of ramifications at the landscape scale.


GEOL 2060 Geomorphology - 4 Credits

This course is a survey of the major landform features found on the earth's surface.  Each landform type is first described qualitatively and then examined in terms of the processes, such as stream flow or glacial activity, which cause its development.  The purpose of the course is to familiarize students with geomorphic principles.


GEOL 2110 Plate Tectonics - 3 Credits

The geometry and kinematics of plate tectonics are developed together with the geophysical evidence for plate motions in the first half of the course.  The second half involves a geological examination of convergent, divergent, and transform-dominated terranes.

GEOL 2120 Basin Analysis - 3 Credits

The integrated study of sedimentary basins as geodynamic entities, including tectonic environment, geologic history and associated strength of the lithosphere, rock weathering and erosion, and sediment transport.  The class will give students a background in driving mechanisms for basin formation and subsidence, sedimentary record preservation and alteration, sedimentary geometry, facies and petrology and provide a basic understanding of the continuum mechanics equations that approximate basin formation.


GEOL 2150 Surface water Hydrology - 4 Credits

This course shall provide an Earth systems science overview of the processes that govern the hydrologic cycle including precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff and discharge, infiltration, and groundwater. The course shall emphasize the movement of water through the atmosphere, over the land surface, and within the unsaturated and saturated zones.


GEOL 2151 Groundwater Geology - 4 Credits

This course focuses on physical and chemical processes controlling water movement and composition in sub-surface environments.  The lab focuses on practical field methods for the characterization of groundwater.


GEOL 2446 Advanced GIS - 3 Credits

Using advanced geographical information systems technologies and geospatial analysis techniques students will extend their knowledge of geographical information systems to include raster, geostatistical, network, model, and 3d/4d based analysis completing complex analysis of real world data sets.


GEOL 2449 GIS, GPS, and Computer Methods - 3 Credits

The goals of this course are to gain expertise in spatial analysis and geographical information systems.


GEOL 2460 Applied Remote Sensing & GPS Techniques - 3 Credits

Designed as a follow on to the introduction to remote sensing course this advanced class emphasizes field-oriented problems, data collection, and validation. The ultimate goal is to explore the connection between re motely-gathered imagery and the real-world factors which influence those data. Students taking the course should have had at least 1 semester of high school or college physics.

GEOL 2461 Advanced Remote Sensing - 3 Credits

This course is offered in conjunction with the introduction to remote sensing (geol-1460) - this course provides a foundation in the theory and techniques of remote sensing and geospatial data visualization spanning the electromagnetic spectrum from the ultraviolet to microwave wavelength region. Topics will include light/matter interaction, optics and sensor design, image analysis using commercial software, as well as current applications of remote sensing to science and engineering problems. The course and integrated image-processing laboratory are designed to provide you with an appreciation of current remote sensing issues, the geologic and human processes that impact remotely-gathered data, and how those processes can be measured using remote sensing. Students taking this course will participate in an independent research project involving remote sensing theory/data analysis. Students with no prior remote sensing background will also be required to participate in the geol-1460 lecture and computer labs.


GEOL 2468  Quantitative Resarch Methods in Earth Science in Matlab - 4 Credits

Quantitative methods are essential for solving problems in Geologic and Environmental Sciences and are often implemented by programming in specialized software.  This course focuses on methods for quantitative data exploration and hypothesis testing with Mat lab.  The course will introduce students to programming with Mat lab, and use Mat lab to implement and explore a variety of quantitative methods, including: uni- and multi- variate statistics, dimensional analysis, signal processing, spatial extrapolation, and numerical modeling.  Classes will include lectures and group assignments that will use various methods to detect patterns in data, pose hypotheses regarding these patterns, and test them.


GEOL 2469 Topographic Analyses - 3 Credits

Topographic analysis: Landscape topography can reveal valuable information about the processes, evolution, and external conditions that formed a landscape. This class will introduce students to different methods of topographic analysis and the information they can provide. It will include examination of algorithms for analysis of digital elevation models (DEMs), ways for filtering DEMs for features of interest, and analysis of different topographic attributes and how they relate to factors such as climate, tectonics, and anthropogenic modifications. Methods will be executed and developed using Matlab and ArcGis. The class will focus on the analysis of a specific environment (the specific environment/s will vary from year to year and may include: urban areas, mountain-ranges, Arctic vs Tropical topography etc.). It will use the analyses methods we will learn, together with literature on this specific environment to explore questions regarding the topographic characteristics and environmental conditions that prevail in this environment. Knowledge of Arc GIS and Matlab required.

GEOL 24XX Dynamic Geomorphology - Coming Soon

GEOL 2501 Organic/ Stable Isotope Geochemistry - 3 Credits

This is mainly a lecture course that will examine the carbon cycle and the life cycle of the organisms that are responsible for the eventual accumulation of organic materials in sediments.  The processes involved in the simultaneous preservation and transformation of organic materials into coal, petroleum, natural gas, kerogen and other dispersed organics will be reviewed in light of modern concepts of thermal maturation processes.  The structures of naturally-occurring organic materials in sediments will be discussed.

GEOL 2510 Aquatic and Sedimentary Geochemistry - 3 Credits

This course will examine the chemistry and geochemistry of modern and ancient aquatic and sedimentary systems, including oceans and fresh waters.  Students will gain an understanding of the biogeochemical processes occurring in aquatic systems, and the geochemical signatures they leave in the sedimentary record.

GEOL 2520 Radiogenic Isotope Geology and Geochronology - 3 Credits

Introduction to isotope systematics (including mass dependent fractionation, radioactive decay, generation of cosmogenic nuclides, and nucleosynthesis), and application of isotope systems to problems in geochronology, geology, hydrology, oceanography, biology, and Cosmo chemistry.

GEOL 3410 Exploration Geophysics - 3 Credits

This course focuses on exploration geophysics including reflection seismic, well log, gravity, electromagnetic, magnetic, electrical, and other methods.

GEOL 3853 Ecosystems: Land-Water-Atmosphere Interactions - 3 Credits

Understanding the science of watersheds is critical to improving water quality.  This course will examine surface water hydrology, biogeochemistry, and management of watersheds.  In addition, we will focus on how varying land uses influence the dynamics of hydrology and biogeochemistry across these systems.  Student will develop an understanding of the biogeochemistry of various major elements in watersheds, including nitrogen, carbon, sulfur, and mercury, and how these elemental fluxes are exchanged through atmospheric-terrestrial-aquatic interactions.  Students will be expected to demonstrate critical thinking, communication, and analytical skills through student-led lectures, journal discussions, and projects.