Undergraduate Courses

To find courses offered in an upcoming term: go to The Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences course database and select Geology from the Arts & Sciences menu.

Key

CG: core course for geology major
CEG: core course for environmental geology major
CES: core course for environmental studies major
EG: elective course for geology major
EEG: elective course for environmental geology major
EES: elective course for environmental studies major
This is the same as GEOL 1335, but it fulfills the University Writing Requirement.  Pittsburgh has had a checkered past when it comes to air quality issues, and faces an uncertain future. Once known as "hell with the lid off" due to industrial emissions, Pittsburgh and its environs once had some of the worst air in the nation. In 1948, a noxious cloud killed 22 in nearby Donora and sickened... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
This course will focus on environmental issues related to water quality, including the effects of Marcellus Shale waste water on public and private drinking water supplies. The emphasis will be on southwestern Pennsylvania, but we'll look at the effects of Marcellus Shale industry operations on a state and regional basis too. Emphasis is placed on a balanced, in depth presentation of the issues... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
This is the same as GEOL 1337, but it fulfills the University Writing Requirement.  This course will focus on environmental issues related to water quality, including the effects of Marcellus Shale waste water on public and private drinking water supplies. The emphasis will be on southwestern Pennsylvania, but we'll look at the effects of Marcellus Shale industry operations on a state and... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
This term's focus is on mining issues. Mining and oil and gas extraction has a long, important and sometimes dark history in Pennsylvania. Almost since the first black chunk was pried from the first mine, coal has been King in the Keystone State. It has fueled industries, heated homes, and powered trains and river tugs. It has been politically powerful. It has also colored streams, creeks and... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
This is the same as GEOL 1339, but it fulfills the University Writing Requirement.  This term's focus is on mining issues. Mining and oil and gas extraction has a long, important and sometimes dark history in Pennsylvania. Almost since the first black chunk was pried from the first mine, coal has been King in the Keystone State. It has fueled industries, heated homes, and powered trains and river... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
This course is one in a series that focuses on environmental issues in southwestern Pennsylvania. Forests are made up of trees. "Timber" is what they yell when the trees are cut and fall. With maturing forests scraping the sky in Pennsylvania and other parts of the northeastern United States, and controversial restrictions on national forest timbering in the Pacific Northwest, there is tremendous... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
This is the same as GEOL 1341, but it fulfills the University Writing Requirement.  This course is one in a series that focuses on environmental issues in southwestern Pennsylvania. Forests are made up of trees.  "Timber" is what they yell when the trees are cut and fall. With maturing forests scraping the sky in Pennsylvania and other parts of the northeastern United States, and controversial... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Various geophysical techniques‑‑seismic, gravimetric, magnetic, and electro‑magnetic‑‑are frequently utilized in the exploration of the Earth's crust for mineral or petroleum deposits of economic value. The basic principles of these techniques, the interpretation of geophysical data, and their application to geology will be discussed in quantitative detail. Offered every other year. Lecture 3... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
The goals of this course are to develop an understanding of the principles and applications of well logging,  an understanding of geological lithology, unit and stratigraphic characteristics, structure geology, fault structure and other geological concepts relevant to well log analysis. We focus on the student's ability the ability to interpret well logs and field analysis based upon well logs,... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
The goal of this course is to gain expertise in the methods of Geographic Information Systems using the GeoTRANS and ArcGIS software packages on PC based workstations. No previous computer classes are required. Students will be graded on the basis of approximately 5 computer assignments, in-class exercises, a project, and final exam. This course is a core course for the GIS Certificate. Offered... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
The goal of this course is to continue to gain expertise in ArcGIS, GeoTrans and software related to GPS process and computer workstations. Students will use GIS instruments to collect GIS data, import and export DEM and DLG data in a variety of format, be introduced to map projections, ModelBuilder models, and work with the TIN, grid, and network modules of ArcGIS on computer workstations.... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: GEOL 1445. [EG EEG]
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... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
This course explores the complex interactions of Earth's rock, water, air, and life systems that determine the chemical characteristics of our environment. We will examine the distribution, cycling, and transport of chemical compounds in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and terrestrial environment on local and global scales. Topics will include water chemistry, organic and inorganic pollution and... Read More
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: GEOL 0055 and CHEM 0110 or permission of instructor. [CES EG EEG]
This course will provide students with an introduction to the principles of ecosystem ecology and associated applications to environmental change. Broad course themes include descriptions of the physical environment, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, ecological biogeography, and human ecology.
Number of Credits: 4
An introductory course in comparative planetology. The morphology and nature of the features found on the surfaces of the planets of our solar system will be examined, and the processes by which they were formed will be discussed, along with our present understanding of the reasons for the similarities and differences.Offered alternate years during Fall. Lecture 3 hours.
Number of Credits: 3
Prerequisites: GEOL 0055 or consent of instructor. [EG EEG]
This course places the student in an "on-the-job" setting in which he/she receives practical experience in a supervised training environment. Students must receive permission (and number of credits) through advisor or faculty member.Offered every terms. Off-site work and regular meetings with instructor.1-4 Credits
Number of Credits: 4
Prerequisites: Department Consent Required. [CES]
This course permits undergraduates to explore specific topics in the geological sciences. The course is designed in a more flexible format than a directed study, stressing a higher degree of independent library research.Offered every terms. No prerequisites. Department Consent Required.Regular meetings with instructor.
Number of Credits: 4
Prerequisites: None
This course provides the opportunity for undergraduates to obtain "hands on" experience in geology by actively inter-acting with faculty members on research projects.Offered every term. Variable research hours and regular meetings with instructor.1-4 Credits
Number of Credits: 4
Prerequisites: Department Consent Required. [EG EEG]
Number of Credits: 1-3 This course explores various topics in geology, environmental science, and environmental studies. Topics and class structure vary from term to term.  
This course is the culmination of an undergraduate research project.  This class allows a student to write a formal thesis under the supervision of a faculty member.  The thesis will be evaluated by this faculty member plus two others agreed upon by the faculty member and student.  The thesis will also be presented in the form of a public oral lecture. 1-3 Credits
This class uses a month of day hikes to explore the myriad natural resources in and around the greater Yellowstone region.  The first ten days focus on unraveling the forces that have produced the spectacular geology of the region as well as the underlying natural resources that plants, animals, and humans need to make a living.  The biology section focuses on the diverse ecosystems of the region... Read More
Number of Credits: 4
This 6-week course is a unique introduction to the practices of paleontology, ecology, and archeology, with a strong emphasis on field techniques. This program focuses on the rich resources of Pitt’s Spring Creek Preserve outside Laramie, WY, which includes pristine beds of dinosaur fossils, Native American artifacts, and an intact, mixed-grass prairie. We explore ecological systems ranging from ... Read More
Number of Credits: 6
Prerequisites: No pre-requisites
Field camp provides extensive exposure to the fundamental field methods used by Earth scientists. This field experience is necessary to most careers in geology and is a requirement for admission to most graduate programs. Attendance at any accredited field camp offering at least 4 semester units of credit is acceptable. Offered through outside institutions, usually in the summer.
Prerequisites: Department Consent Required. Prerequisites variable, depending on program. [CG CEG CES]

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