The Geological Sciences Program enables students to study and understand processes that have shaped the earth and the solar system over the last 4.6 billion years.

Students will learn about both the internal and surface processes acting on the earth, including the forces behind plate tectonics and its surface manifestations, earthquakes and volcanoes. Students will take advantage of new and developing technologies such as the use of global positioning systems and geographic information systems in the mapping of geologic, soil, water and other environmental features.

Geological Sciences Program Chair: Dr. Kent Murray
Concentration Advisors: Dr. Kent Murray and Dr. Jacob Napieralski

Degree Requirements

The Concentration

All earth science students complete a core of natural science and mathematics courses followed by specialization in either geology or astronomy. An individualized specialization is also available for students who desire to combine coursework from both areas.

Visit the Geological Sciences webpage for information about the major.

Learn more about the Geology minor.

Core Courses
  • Introduction to Organismal and Environmental Biology
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • Calculus I and II
  • Introductory Physics I and II
  • Physical Geography
  • Physical Geology
  • Historical Geology
  • Astronomy with laboratory
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Remote Sensing
  • Oceanography
  • Geology Field Methods
  • Research/Internship
Electives in Earth Science
  • Economic Geography
  • Land Use Planning
  • Hazardous Waste Management
  • Energy Resources
  • Groundwater Hydrology
  • Geochemistry
  • Contaminant Hydrogeology
  • Groundwater Modeling
  • Glacial Geology
  • Engineering Geology
  • Topics in Chemistry
  • Topics in Geology
  • Topics in Environmental Science
  • Topics in Physics
  • Advanced Topics in Geology
Program Goals
  1. Communicating: Speak and write professionally.
  2. Reading: Demonstrate literacy in technical literature.
  3. Computing: Demonstrate competence with spreadsheet, word processing, and mapping software.
  4. Identifying: Recognize and describe common Earth materials.
  5. Acquiring: Obtain geologic data in the laboratory or field.
  6. Analyzing: Utilize scientific and quantitative reasoning.
  7. Solving: Integrate concepts and scientific interpretations to support views or guide decision making.

COVID-19 Update

Our laboratories will offer a combination of virtual experience, simulation and demonstration to provide as close to a true laboratory experience as possible.

Students taking Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Geology can expect a rigorous curriculum that will provide both lecture and laboratory experience yet maintain social distancing.

Internship, Co-op, and Research Opportunities

All earth science concentrators must complete either three credit hours of research under the guidance of a faculty member or an internship experience.

Example projects

Examples of recent student research projects include:

  • Groundwater transport of P in an agricultural watershed
  • The use of FC:FS ratios to determine the sources of bacteria in an urban watershed
  • Distribution and mobility of Pb in the soil at an outdoor shooting range
  • Relationship between groundwater and surface water quality in an urban watershed
  • Trends in soil geochemistry using geographic information systems
  • Land use impacts on groundwater and surface water quality
  • Brownfield redevelopment and the role of geology in land use planning
  • Chemical analysis of river sediments-Rouge River, southeastern Michigan
  • Copper toxicity in lake sediments, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan
  • Ground water vulnerability and land use planning
  • Statistical comparisons of heavy metal concentrations in river sediments
  • Air-flow geometry in the sparging of fine-grained sands
  • Particle size and chemical control of heavy metals in bed sediments of the Rouge River

Additional Faculty Research Sponsors include: Dr. Donald Bord, Astrophysics and stellar spectroscopy; Dr. Yiwei Deng, Chemistry of natural waters; Dr. Mao Huang, Contaminant hydrogeology, groundwater modeling.

Student Organizations

Earth Science/Geology students are welcome to join Students for Environmental Awareness (SEA). They may also be interested in other clubs and organizations in Natural Sciences, throughout CASL, and across campus.

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