DEPARTMENT of

CHEMISTRY | GEOSCIENCE | PHYSICS

Geoscience Courses


CLIMATE AND CLIMATE CHANGE GEOS 121 1V GEOS (3.00 credits)
Climate change is a far-reaching subject that intersects with many scientific and societal issues. Given the overwhelming scale of the problem it can be difficult to envision how this affects each of us on an individual level. This course will explore climate change both from a scientific standpoint, by addressing the impacts and solutions of climate change, and societal level by discussing how communities are affected by these changes. For example, students will explore both how greenhouse gases alter the energy budget of our planet, and how the politics of global warming has affected different communities. We will utilize an active approach to learning with discussion, activities, and field trips at the forefront to encourage all learners to understand the problem from multiple perspectives. 
ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY GEOS 206 EV GEOS (3.00 credits)
Environmental geology focuses on the interaction between humans and geological processes. In particular, knowledge of geological risks and interconnectedness of Earth systems has become integral for human survival and resource distribution. In this course we will explore the natural hazards around us (including floods, volcanoes, landslides, and earthquakes) and learn evidence-based mitigation strategies. We will also explore human impacts on the environment (water contamination, air pollution, mining) and use this to understand the Earth from a broader systems viewpoint, which seeks to incorporate knowledge from many fields of study. The class will feature numerous activities and discussions to encourage students to consider the benefits and tradeoffs of our interactions with the planet. Prerequisites: None.
FROM STONES TO BONES GEOS 349 GEOS (2.00 credits)
The Earth is the only planet we know that harbors life. It has seen many changes throughout its 4.5-billion-year journey from molten rock to life bearing planet. In this course we will explore the processes that built the planet and the evolution of the organisms that now make up our fossil record. With an emphasis on deep time, we will study the evolution of organisms including: microbial organisms, plants, DINOSAURS, mammals, and humans. Class will be a mixture of activities and discussion on the Earth and the fossil record. Prerequisite: Completion of natural science course, or ENVS 250, or junior standing, or consent of the instructor.
GEOSCIENCE EXCURSIONS GEOS 292 GEOS (1.00 - 3.00 credits)
In these field experiences, students will discover and investigate facts, concepts, and laws of science for themselves, much as scientists do in their professional lives. Cross-listed: None. Offered: No Information Provided. Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor.
GEOSCIENCE SEMINAR GEOS 480 K GEOS (1.00 credits)
A seminar for upper-level geoscience-related majors to practice scientific communication skills and participate in discussion of topics in current research with fellow students and faculty. Students present a topic from the primary geoscience literature. One seminar-format meeting per week. Cross-listed: None. Offered: No Information Provided. Prerequisite: None.
HISTORICAL GEOLOGY GEOS 203 S GEOS (4.00 credits)
GEOS 203 S covers the broad topics of the physical evolution of the earth and its relationship to the development of life through geologic time. Topics include geologic time; origin of life; paleobiology, evolution and classification of fossil plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates; plate tectonics; and geologic history of the Upper Midwest. The laboratory experiences are intended to train students to solve problems, apply principles, distinguish between fact and assumption, use models, and to acquaint students with some of the important techniques for geologic investigations. Cross-listed: None. Offered: No Information Provided. Prerequisite: GEOS 102.
INDEPENDENT STUDY - GEOSCIENCE GEOS 479 GEOS (1.00 - 4.00 credits)
Independent study of selected topics in the earth sciences developed by the student with the approval and direction of the instructor. Cross-listed: None. Offered: No Information Provided. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
INDEPENDENT STUDY - GEOSCIENCE GEOS 379 GEOS (1.00 - 4.00 credits)
Independent study of selected topics in the earth sciences developed by the student with the approval and direction of the instructor. Cross-listed: None. Offered: No Information Provided. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
INTRODUCTION TO GIS GEOS 214 GEOS (2.00 credits)
Geographic information systems (GIS) uses computational methods to investigate problems with a geographic component. The applications are expansive and are utilized in everything from epidemiology, geological surveys, wildlife research, infrastructure planning, and even political polling. This course will cover the basics of how the shape of the Earth is measured, how map projections are created and used, and how large databases can be utilized for solving environmental issues. We will be using ArcGIS software extensively throughout the course. The class will feature workshop style learning and guided problem solving from a variety of fields. Students wishing to gain additional experience in larger GIS projects should consider taking GEOS 215 as a follow up to this course.Prerequisite(s): Math placement level 2 or completion of M-tag.
NATIONAL PARKS GEO AND PRESERVATION GEOS 210 E GEOS (3.00 credits)
The National Park Service and the parks it administers are a uniquely American idea.  We will examine the National Parks role in preserving some of our country's most unique geological, ecological and cultural features.  An examination of the development of the National Park and National Park Service idea will be followed by in depth case studies centered around specific parks.  These case studies will use the natural sciences to describe the unique features of these parks and the environmental issues that are facing them today.
OCEANS AND ATMOSPHERE GEOS 103 S GEOS (4.00 credits)
The oceans and atmosphere are deeply connected to one another and have a major impact on our way of life. In this course, we will study the physical materials, processes, and features of both, while acknowledging that climate change may be altering their effects on society. Students will consider the nature of change in Earth systems and how humanity is becoming a significant agent of such change. This course makes use of case studies, focusing on real world problems related to climate change, to explore the private and public questions you may face as a private citizen in the future concerning our planet's oceans and atmosphere. Prerequisites: Math placement level 2 or completion of M-tag Corequisites:
PALEOECOLOGY GEOS 341 GEOS (3.00 credits)
Paleoecology is the study of the fossil record and the ecological relationships of extinct organisms. It uses tools that cut across the fields of biology and geology to provide information not only about the past, but about how the modern world we live in came to be. We will focus throughout the course on analytical techniques used by paleoecologists to study the past as well as cover ethical and societal issues pertaining to this field. Prerequisite: One course with a BIO or GEOS prefix, junior standing, or consent of the instructor.
PALEONTOLOGY LAB GEOS 350 GEOS (2.00 credits)
This course will complement the lessons of GEOS 349 by taking a deeper dive into the organisms that have existed on the planet over the past 4.5 billion years. We will focus on comparative anatomy and description of organisms in the fossil record to understand the evolution of life on the planet as well as how modern organisms came to be. The course will heavily feature guided and independent work on real fossils. Must be taken concurrently with GEOS 349. Corequisite: Must be taken concurrently with GEOS 349.
PHYSICAL GEOLOGY GEOS 102 S GEOS (4.00 credits)
Physical geology is the study of the major physical materials, processes, and features of the Earth. This includes rocks, minerals, water, volcanoes, groundwater, soils, and so much more. By studying these topics, students will come to appreciate geologic features of their surroundings and how maintaining our standard of living depends on the Earth and its resources. This course makes frequent use of case studies, focusing on real world problems, to cover topics such as: the nature of science, history of the planet, and natural resource exploration. The topics raised in this course will prompt students to consider what types of questions they might need to ask when matters of private or public policy contain an important geologic component. One class field trip will be required. Prerequisites: None.
PROJECTS IN GIS GEOS 215 GEOS (1.00 credits)
This is the second of a two-part course on geographic information systems (GIS). Completion of both courses will provide a well-rounded introductory experience in geographic information systems. In this half of the course, students will collect and present their own data in several projects using geographic data. One overnight field trip will be required for this course. Prerequisite(s): GEOS 214
SPECIAL TOPICS IN GEOSCIENCE GEOS 469 GEOS (3.00 credits)
Advanced study of topics of special current interest in geoscience and related fields. Seminar/discussion format. Prerequisites: None.
SURVEY OF ASTRONOMY GEOS 150 S GEOS (4.00 credits)
Modern exploration of the physical universe. Topics include the sky and celestial motions, our solar system, nebulae, galaxies, and cosmology with emphasis on origin and evolution. Observing sessions may be required outside of scheduled class time.  Prerequisites: Math placement level 2 or higher, completion of M-tag course, or completion of any MATH course (100 level or higher).
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH GEOS 489 GEOS (1.00 - 3.00 credits)
Opportunities are available for students to engage in geological research, in conjunction with collaborative student-faculty research projects or with projects done with researchers from various governmental agencies. Cross-listed: None. Offered: No Information Provided. Prerequisite: consent of the instructor.