Duluth campus
 
Duluth Campus

Earth Sciences Minor

D Earth & Environmental Sci
Swenson College of Science and Engineering
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Minnesota Duluth, 230 Heller Hall, 1114 Kirby Drive, Duluth, MN 55812 (218-726-8385; fax: 218-726-8275)
  • Program Type: Graduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2022
  • Length of program in credits (master's): 6
  • Length of program in credits (doctoral): 12
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
The Earth Sciences minor includes areas of economic geology, geophysics, glacial geology and geomorphology, hydrogeology, igneous and metamorphic petrology, isotope and aqueous geochemistry, limnogeology, paleoclimatology, planetary geology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, surface processes, forest/vadose zone hydrology, and structure-tectonics. Several of these areas are strengthened by collaboration with the Large Lakes Observatory and the Natural Resources Research Institute.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
Special Application Requirements:
Students interested in the minor are strongly encouraged to confer with their major field advisor and director of graduate studies, and the Earth Sciences director of graduate studies regarding feasibility and requirements.
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
Minor coursework offered on both the A-F and S/N grading basis must be taken A-F.
Coursework (6-12 credits)
Masterís students select 6 credits, and doctoral students select 12 credits in consultation with the Earth Sciences director of graduate studies
EES 5091 - Independent Study in Earth & Environmental Science (1.0-2.0 cr)
EES 5095 - Earth & Environmental Special Topics (Various Titles to be Assigned) (1.0-3.0 cr)
EES 5100 - Seminar (1.0-2.0 cr)
EES 5103 - Geological Paleolimnology (3.0 cr)
EES 5150 - Organic and Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry (3.0 cr)
EES 5201 - Watershed Hydrology (3.0 cr)
EES 5210 - Glacial and Quaternary Geology (4.0 cr)
EES 5250 - Hydrogeology (4.0 cr)
EES 5251 - Well Hydraulics (3.0 cr)
EES 5260 - Fluvial Geomorphology (3.0 cr)
EES 5270 - Field Methods in Snow Hydrology (1.0 cr)
EES 5310 - Advanced Petrology (3.0 cr)
EES 5311 -  Igneous Petrogenesis (3.0 cr)
EES 5321 - Theory, Practice of Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis in Lectures (3.0 cr)
EES 5355 - Economic Geology (4.0 cr)
EES 5356 - Ore Deposits and Economic Geology (3.0 cr)
EES 5360 - Geologic, Geophysical, and Geochemical Methods of Exploration (4.0 cr)
EES 5400 - Astrogeology (3.0 cr)
EES 5450 - Structural Geology (5.0 cr)
EES 5480 - Tectonics (3.0 cr)
EES 5601 - Introduction to Stream Restoration (3.0 cr)
EES 5603 - Stream Crossing Design (2.0 cr)
EES 5711 - Geochemistry (4.0 cr)
EES 5730 - Geochronology (3.0 cr)
EES 5815 - Exploration Geophysics (4.0 cr)
EES 5820 - Global Geophysics (3.0 cr)
EES 5863 - Ecosystems Ecology and Biogeochemistry (3.0 cr)
EES 8094 - Research in Earth & Environmental Science (1.0-6.0 cr)
EES 8200 - Professional Issues in Earth and Environmental Science (1.0 cr)
EES 8602 - Stream Restoration Practice (2.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
Masters
This sub-plan is optional and does not fulfill the sub-plan requirement for this program.
Doctoral
 
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EES 5091 - Independent Study in Earth & Environmental Science
Credits: 1.0 -2.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Individual research in lab or field problems. prereq: Graduate Student or instructor consent; maximum number of 4 credits between GEOL 5091 and EES 5091
EES 5095 - Earth & Environmental Special Topics (Various Titles to be Assigned)
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 12.0]
Course Equivalencies: 03065
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Topics not covered in regular curriculum. Topic announced before course offered. Maximum of 4 repeats for a maximum of 12 credits allowed between GEOL 5095 and EES 5095 and ESCI 5095
EES 5100 - Seminar
Credits: 1.0 -2.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Oral and written presentation on topics of current significance to geoscientists. Participation by department staff. prereq: instructor consent; a maximum of 4 credits will be granted between GEOL 5100 and EES 5100
EES 5103 - Geological Paleolimnology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Lim 5103/5002/GEOL 5103
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Geological aspects of freshwater systems: origins, tectonic and climatic settings of lakes, geophysical mapping, physical sedimentary processes, sedimentary geochemistry, and geochronology. Particular focus on paleolimnology, the analysis of lake sediment to reconstruct past climate and environment prereq: MATH 1296 or 1596, PHYS 1002 or 2015 or 2018, CHEM 1155 or 1175 or grad student; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL or LIM 5103
EES 5150 - Organic and Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Production and chemical composition of natural organic matter (OM), diagenesis and catagenesis of OM; stable isotopic fractionation processes of C, H, O, N & S in natural systems, fractionation theory, isotopic indicators of climate, oceanographic/limnologic processes, trophic structure, microbial processes. pre-req: Graduate standing or instructor approval; credit will not be granted if already received for ESCI 5150
EES 5201 - Watershed Hydrology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: ESCI 5201/GEOL 5201
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
This is an upper-division hydrology course covering the hydrologic cycle in the context of wildland watersheds. The course will cover the major components of the hydrologic cycle, including precipitation, snow hydrology, canopy interception, evapotranspiration, infiltration, soil water storage, runoff, streamflow and groundwater flow. The impacts of watershed management on water quantity and quality will be discussed using regional, national, and global examples, with an emphasis on solving real-world problems using hydrologic datasets. This course includes a 2-hour lab that meets once per week. pre-req: MATH 1290 or 1296 or grad student; no credit granted if already received for EES or ESCI or GEOL 4201 or ESCI or GEOL 5201
EES 5210 - Glacial and Quaternary Geology
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Physics of glacier flow, processes of erosion and deposition, survey of glacial landforms, history and chronology of glaciation. Survey of geological and biological responses to changing environment resulting from climatic fluctuations during last three million years of Earth history. Field studies on the glacial deposits of Minnesota. (2 hrs lect, 2 hrs field lab) prereq: EES or GEOL 1110 or 1610 or GEOG 1414 and PHYS 1001 or 2013 or 2017 and MATH 1290 or 1286; or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 4210 or 5210
EES 5250 - Hydrogeology
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
A quantitative introduction to hydrogeology and aquifer mechanics with emphasis on environmental applications, including, unsaturated flow, interaction between surface water and groundwater, wellhead protection, well hydraulics, inverse methods, and solute transport. Offered alternate years. prereq: Math 1290 or 1296 amd PHYS 1002 or 2013 or 2017; or grad student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for EES or GEOL 4250 or GEOL 5250
EES 5251 - Well Hydraulics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Hydraulics of groundwater flow to wells: equations of flow; analysis of steady and non-steady radial flow; aquifer response to stress; analysis of monitoring well networks, pumping tests, and single-point aquifer performance tests. prereq: PHYS 1001 or 2013 or 2017 and MATH 1290 or 1296 or instructor consent or grad student; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 5251
EES 5260 - Fluvial Geomorphology
Credits: 3.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Fluvial geomorphology covers the physical processes operating in stream channels and watersheds including watershed-scale hydrology and topography; reach-scale fluid mechanics and sediment transport; and channel patterns, forms, and classification systems. Other topics included will be river history, human alterations to rivers, and river restoration efforts. prereq: (MATH 1290 or 1296) and (PHYS 1001 or 2013 or 2017) and (EES or ESCI or GEOL 2010 or EES or GEOL 3520 GEOL 3420) or graduate student standing; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 5260
EES 5270 - Field Methods in Snow Hydrology
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
This course will give a brief overview on the basic principles governing snow in the hydrologic cycle and will then focus on field applications in snow hydrology including snow course measurements and characterizing snow profiles. pre-req: graduate student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for ESCI 5270
EES 5310 - Advanced Petrology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Physico-chemical principles applied to origin of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Phase equilibria in important mineral systems. Lab study and interpretation of igneous and metamorphic rocks using petrographic microscope. (2 hrs lect, 2 hrs lab) prereq: EES or GEOL 2312 or grad student; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL or EES 4310 or GEOL 5310
EES 5311 - Igneous Petrogenesis
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
This course will investigate igneous processes including formation, differentiation, and crystallization of magmas. Thermodynamics of phase equilibria between silicate melts, minerals, and magmatic fluids will be emphasized. pre-req: EES or GEOL 2312, MATH 1297; credit will not be granted if already received for EES or GEOL 4311 or GEOL 5311
EES 5321 - Theory, Practice of Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis in Lectures
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: CHE 5321/GEOL 5321
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Presents the basic physics of scanning electron microscopy, including electron beam generation, image formation, signal detection, and beam-sample interactions. Basic sample preparation methods for scanning electron microscopy will be presented and demonstrated in laboratory sessions. How characteristic x-rays are produced in a sample and how they are measured and quantified will also be presented. Use of the SEM to collect data and instruction on how to organize collected data in a logical manner. prereq: Minimum 75 credits, Chem 1155 or 1175, Phys 1002 or 2015 and 2018, or Grad student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 5321 or CHE 5321
EES 5355 - Economic Geology
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Geologic description, distribution, and genesis of economic mineral deposits; processes leading to their formation; relationship to plate tectonics; exploration techniques and criteria for finding new deposits. Course fees assessed. prereq: EES or GEOL 3326 and 3150 or graduate student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 5355
EES 5356 - Ore Deposits and Economic Geology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Geologic description, distribution, and genesis of economic mineral deposits; physical processes leading to deposit formation; relationship of mineral deposits to plate tectonics; exploration techniques and criteria for finding new deposits. pre-req: Graduate student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for EES or GEOL 4356 or GEOL 5356.
EES 5360 - Geologic, Geophysical, and Geochemical Methods of Exploration
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Team-taught course will introduce various geologic, geophysical, and geochemical exploration methods used to locate and evaluate the economic viability of metallic ore bodies in a variety of geologic settings. In labs, students will develop skills in ore microscopy, drill core logging, and geophysical field methods. Case studies will be used to highlight various exploration methods and ore deposit types. prereq: EES or GEOL 4350 or 5350, (MATH 1290 or 1296) or grad student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for EES or GEOL 4360 or GEOL 5360.
EES 5400 - Astrogeology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
In this astrogeology course we will explore the formation and evolution of celestial bodies in our solar system such as planets and their moons, asteroids, comets, and meteorites. Topics will include determining internal structure of planetary bodies, dynamical processes, how to read the surface record (geology) of various bodies and leverage that record to understand internal processes and planet evolution, and comparative planetology with the goal to understand first-order cause and effect of planetary dynamics. pre-req: Minimum 60 credits and Astronomy minor or Geology major or minor or Physics major or minor or graduate student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for EES or GEOL 4400 or GEOL 5400
EES 5450 - Structural Geology
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduction to brittle and ductile deformation, including joints, faults, shear zones, and folds; deformation mechanism; elementary stress and strain theory. Labs include geometric, structural and kinematic analysis, and a group project. Course fee assessed. pre-req: graduate student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for ESIC 5450
EES 5480 - Tectonics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Ancient and active plate-tectonic processes. Topics include tectonic theory, plate motions, evolution of divergent, convergent and transform margins, anatomy of orogenic belts, and neotectonics. Examines tectonic phenomena in the context of geological, geophysical and surficial processes. Offered alternate years. prereq: EES or GEOL 2120, 4450, or grad student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 5480
EES 5601 - Introduction to Stream Restoration
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
This course provides an interdisciplinary overview of the background science essential to participate in a stream restoration project. Students will learn how to assimilate geologic hydrologic, and ecological data at the watershed and research scales to plan a restoration project and evaluate/critique existing stream restoration projects. prereq: Math 1290 or 1296 or 1596, PHYS 1001 or 2013 or 2017, minimum 60 credits or graduate student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 5601
EES 5603 - Stream Crossing Design
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Overview of road-stream crossing design with emphasis on stream simulation for aquatic organism passage. Includes field data collection, analysis, and design of road-stream crossings. Meets concurrently with CE 5203. CE 5203 includes additional work on traditional culvert hydraulics and design. pre-req: EES or GEOL 3210 or 3420 or 5260 or 5601 or BIOL 5833 or CE 3225 and instructor consent ; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 5603
EES 5711 - Geochemistry
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
What geochemical processes occur at the intersection of the biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere? How did earth?s surface geochemistry change over geologic time and how can we tell? In this course, we will investigate questions that relate to the co-evolution of life and Earth through a geochemical lens. Overall, the course will divide into two parts: (1) the geochemical structure of Earth from the core to the surface; and (2) practical applications for geochemistry and geochemical techniques. Discussion will begin with an overview the discipline of geochemistry, which will serve as a framework to interpret the geochemical evolution and structure of the internal and external components of Earth. Following this portion, we will examine modern advances of analytical techniques and applications in geochemistry. Prereq: Math 1290 or MATH 1296 or Math 1297 and Chem 1153 or CHEM 1173 or grad student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for >EES or GEOL 4710 or GEOL 5711
EES 5730 - Geochronology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Covers both radiometric and non-radiometric methods of dating primarily Earth but also solar-system materials (meteorites). The chronometers discussed will cover a range of timescales, from early solar-system history to recent human-influenced history. Offered alternate years. prereq: EES or GEOL 2311, one year of college chemistry or grad student; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 5730
EES 5815 - Exploration Geophysics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Review of principle geophysical techniques used in the exploration industries. Emphasizes the application of these techniques for solving near-surface problems. Includes review of case histories and group projects. prereq: EES or GEOL 1110, Math 1297 or grad student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 4815 or 5815
EES 5820 - Global Geophysics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Build upon material presented in 2120, exploring the contribution of geophysics to our understanding of the Earth and the processes that control its appearance and behavior. Offered alternate years. prereq: EES or GEOL 2120, Math 1290 or 1296 or grad student, instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 5820
EES 5863 - Ecosystems Ecology and Biogeochemistry
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: BIOL 5863/ESCI 5863
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Ecosystems ecology is the integrated study of the flows of materials and energy through ecosystems, which includes both the living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components. Biogeochemistry is a major subfield of ecosystems ecology, and deals with the cycling of nutrients through ecosystems. In this class, we will discuss the integration of ecosystmes and biogeochemistry in terrestrial environments, specifically focusing on how human activities influence ecological systems and vice versa. It is my hope that you walk away from this course with a better understanding of how large environmental issues such as climate change and invasive species affect ecological systems. pre-req: BIOL 2801, CHEM 1153 or CHEM 1173 or graduate student; credit will not be granted if already received for ESCI 5863 or BIOL 5863
EES 8094 - Research in Earth & Environmental Science
Credits: 1.0 -6.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Individual research. prereq: instructor consent, credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 8094
EES 8200 - Professional Issues in Earth and Environmental Science
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduces the incoming graduate student in geological sciences to professional practice, standards and ethics, including peer review, proposal writing, ethical problems, the purpose of a university. prereq: Graduate student or instructor consent, credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 8200
EES 8602 - Stream Restoration Practice
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Practicum course provides the capstone for the Stream Restoration Science & Engineering post-baccalaureate certificate program. Students synthesize previous coursework on stream restoration, apply basic hydraulic and geomorphic analyses on a reach of a stream, and complete a group design for a stream restoration site. prereq: EES or GEOL 5601 and instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOL 8602