Your studies in geology will integrate the disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics in the study of Earth processes and history.

Geology Course Offerings

GEOL 105 Geology (Core: PN)
A study of geological phenomena involved in the formation of the Earth’s surface and subsurface features, the interrelationship between humans and the geological environment, and the application of the science of geology to problems resulting from the increasingly intense use of the materials of the Earth’s crust. The course includes lectures, discussions, labs and field trips.

GEOL 107 Environmental Geology (Core: PN)
This course provides an introduction to geologic processes with a special emphasis on the interaction of these processes with humankind. Topics include geologic hazards (e.g., earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding), geologic resources and human impact on the natural environment such as groundwater contamination and mining. Includes lectures, discussion, labs and field trips.

GEOL 109 Dinosaurs and Their Environment (Core: PN)
This course explores the origin, evolution and extinction of dinosaurs as well as the environment at the time the dinosaurs were alive. Dinosaurs are also used to learn about how science is used to evaluate the Earth, both past and present. Fundamental geological principles that affected the distribution and life history of dinosaurs are also covered. Includes lectures and labs.

GEOL 115 General Oceanography (Core: PN)
This course provides an overview of the ocean sciences, with emphasis on the interplay between its geological, physical, chemical and biological processes. The impact of oceans on Earth’s climate will be examined, as well as possible human impact on climate and global sea level changes. Other human concerns, including marine pollution problems and species extinction, will be addressed.

GEOL 225 Hydrogeology
This course provides an overview of the hydrologic cycle with emphasis placed on the study of groundwater. Discussions include the fundamental characteristics of aquifers (porosity and permeability), the geologic settings of groundwater and the basic physics of groundwater flow. This course also provides an introduction to surface water in streams and its geomorphic effects. The course includes lectures, discussion, laboratory and field exercises. A basic knowledge of high school algebra and trigonometry is assumed. Prerequisite: GEOL 105. Offered every other year.

GEOL 250 Geomorphology
This course provides an overview of the geologic processes responsible for shaping and modifying the Earth’s surface. Emphasis is placed on the study of the following topics: physical and chemical weathering, soils, mass wasting, streams, glaciers, wind and desert processes, karst features, coastal processes, tectonic geomorphology, and landscape evolution. Includes lectures, discussions, labs and field trips. Prerequisite: GEOL 105. Offered every other year.

GEOL 275 Historical Geology
This course focuses on the major events in Earth’s history. In particular, the history of life through time, changes in sea level and climate, and the evolution of Earth’s lithosphere are studied, with a focus on the North American continent. Interpretation of the rock and fossil records will be a key component. Includes lectures, discussions and labs. Prerequisite: GEOL 105. Offered every other year.

GEOL 280 Introduction to Paleontology
This course focuses on the fossil record from a geological perspective. A major component of the course will involve learning how to use the distribution of fossils to correlate rock units. Other topics will include identification of major fossil groups, the preservation of fossils and the relationship between fossil organisms and their environments. Prerequisite: GEOL 105. Recommended: GEOL 275.

GEOL / EDUC 287 Integrated Science Methods and Introductory Geology 1 (Core: PN)
This is the first half of a yearlong sequence that integrates the teaching of science methods for elementary pre-service teachers with a science course. Students will learn the basic concepts and skills of geology in conjunction with how to teach those concepts and skills to elementary students. The content of part one and part two of the course will be similar to combined content of EDUC 285 and GEOL 105 Introductory Geology. To fulfill the requirement of science methods in the education program, students must complete part one and part two of the yearlong sequence.

GEOL / EDUC 288 Integrated Science Methods and Introductory Geology 2
This is the second half of a yearlong sequence that integrates the teaching of science methods for elementary pre-service teachers with a science course. Students will learn the basic concepts and skills of geology in conjunction with how to teach those concepts and skills to elementary students. The content of part one and part two of the course will be similar to combined content of EDUC 285 and GEOL 105 Introductory Geology. To fulfill the requirement of science methods in the education program, students must complete part one and part two of the yearlong sequence. Prerequisite: GEOL / EDUC 287.

GEOL 300 Mineralogy
This course is an introduction to the basic concepts of mineral formation and identification. The lecture portion of the course conveys the principles and concepts of mineralogy. The laboratory portion of the course will focus on the descriptive aspects of the science emphasizing the occurrence of the common minerals and developing the ability to identify hand samples. Topics also included are crystallography, crystal chemistry and microscopic identification of minerals. Prerequisite: GEOL 105.

GEOL 320 Petrology
This course provides an overview of the formation, occurrence and recognition of the igneous and metamorphic rocks. The lecture portion of the course will cover the theoretical aspects of rock development with particular emphasis on the tectonic framework. The laboratory portion will emphasize macroscopic and microscopic identification of the various rock types and their associated textures. Prerequisite: GEOL 300.

GEOL 322 Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
A lecture and laboratory course that examines the origin and characteristics of sediments and sedimentary rocks, transportation mechanisms and geologic environments in which sediments are deposited, unification and diagenesis, classification schemes for sedimentary rock nomenclature and the arrangement and correlation of sedimentary rocks. Prerequisites: GEOL 105 and GEOL 300. Offered every other year.

GEOL 325 Structural Geology
This course explores the processes of deformation of the Earth’s crust and how this deformation is recorded by rocks. Emphasis is placed on the correct observation and interpretation of features such as faults, folds and shear zones. Includes lectures, discussions, labs and field trips. Prerequisites: GEOL 300 and GEOL 320.

GEOL 350 Glacial and Quaternary Geology
An introduction to glacial process and environments. Emphasis is placed on the origin of landforms and landscapes produced by glaciations. Related topics covered in this course include Quaternary climate change, eolian (wind) processes, river and lake systems, and periglacial processes. Includes lectures, discussion, laboratory and field trips. Prerequisite: GEOL 105. Infrequently offered.

GEOL 354 Field Geology (2 or 4 credits)
This course provides an extended field experience for geology majors. Usually includes two to three weeks of travel and study of the geology and natural history of Costa Rica. The course focuses on plate tectonic processes, active volcanism and arid sedimentary environments in a modern geologically active region. Special emphasis is placed on careful observation, description and interpretation of geologic phenomena. Prerequisites: GEOL 105 and instructor’s consent. Infrequently offered.

GEOL 389 Special Topics (2 or 4 credits)
A course designed for group study of a subject matter of special interest. Typically applied to an extended field trip offered during winter break or spring break with associated lectures, labs, research and/or literature review. Special topics courses that include a field trip require an additional fee to cover expenses, such as travel. Prerequisites: GEOL 105 and instructor’s consent.

GEOL 428 Environmental Geology Research
Original field or laboratory study and research in the area of environmental geology. Course requirements vary depending on the research focus and must be agreed upon by the student and supervising instructor. This course is designed to satisfy the senior thesis requirement of the environmental science major. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent.

GEOL 450 Geology Field Camp (6 credits)
A summer field course that integrates basic geologic skills and knowledge in the construction of geologic maps. The field camp is typically six to eight weeks in duration, and students normally attend the course during the summer between their junior and senior years. This course is not offered by St. Norbert College. Students must enroll in a field camp offered by another institution. Prerequisites: geology major and approval of field course by the geology discipline.

GEOL 490 Independent Study
A course that allows students to pursue an area of study on an individual basis with consultation and evaluation by a geology faculty member. Course methodology and objectives will be mutually agreed upon by the faculty member and the student. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent.

GEOL 492 Directed Research
An arranged course involving substantial laboratory and/or field research in an area of interest to the student and under the supervision of one or more geology faculty members. This course may be based on a group project. Students who wish to use a summer research experience performed at another institution for GEOL 492 credit must have the discipline’s approval prior to undertaking the research. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent or discipline approval.

GEOL 496 Senior Thesis
Original field or laboratory research in geology under the supervision of a faculty member in the discipline. The student is required to write a thesis summarizing the objectives, methods, data and significant results of the research. In addition, presentation of research results at a professional meeting is encouraged. Prerequisites: geology major and instructor’s consent.