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Duluth Campus

Geological Sciences B.S.

D Earth & Environmental Sci
Swenson College of Science and Engineering
  • Program Type: Baccalaureate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2021
  • Required credits to graduate with this degree: 120
  • Required credits within the major: 93 to 94
  • This program requires summer terms.
  • Degree: Bachelor of Science
The study of geology provides ways of understanding and appreciating dynamic earth processes, our physical environment, and our place in the long and complex history of the planet and solar system. It is by nature interdisciplinary and attracts students with broad interest in earth science, archaeology, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, environmental science, applied mathematics, oceanography, limnology, and/or physics. The BS degree in geological sciences can lead to rewarding careers in industry, government, conservation, law, business, and academia. Geology requires a solid base of knowledge in related sciences (chemistry and physics) and mathematics, as well as a solid core of geology courses. A summer course in field mapping is also required. Honors requirements: To attain department honors, students must undertake an independent research project and maintain a cumulative overall GPA of 3.00. The research can be part of a UROP, directed research, independent study, or an internship with a faculty member. Students must either make a brief oral presentation to the department summarizing their results and produce a research paper (minimum 10 pages) OR give an oral or poster presentation of their research results at a regional or national meeting (e.g., GSA, AGU, ILSG, or similar campus event).
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
General Requirements
The Board of Regents, on recommendation of the faculty, grants degrees from the University of Minnesota. Requirements for an undergraduate degree from University of Minnesota Duluth include the following:
  1. Students must meet all course and credit requirements of the departments and colleges or schools in which they are enrolled including an advanced writing course. Students seeking two degrees must fulfill the requirements of both degrees. However, two degrees cannot be awarded for the same major.
  2. Students must complete all requirements of the Liberal Education Program.
  3. Students must complete a minimum of 120 semester credits.
  4. At least 30 semester credits must be earned through UMD, and 15 of the last 30 degree credits earned immediately before graduation must be awarded by UMD.
  5. Students must complete at least half of their courses at the 3xxx-level and higher at UMD. Study-abroad credits earned through courses taught by UM faculty and at institutions with which UMD has international exchange programs may be used to fulfill this requirement.
  6. If a minor is required, students must take at least three upper division credits in their minor field from UMD.
  7. For certificate programs, at least 3 upper-division credits that satisfy requirements for the certificate must be taken through UMD. If the program does not require upper division credits students must take at least one course from the certificate program from UMD.
  8. The minimum cumulative UM GPA required for graduation will be 2.00 and will include only University of Minnesota coursework. A minimum UM GPA of 2.00 is required in each UMD undergraduate major and minor. No academic unit may impose higher grade point standards to graduate.
  9. Diploma, transcripts, and certification will be withheld until all financial obligations to the University have been met.
Program Requirements
Required Geology Core (42-43 cr)
Introductory Earth Science Course (3 - 4 cr)
GEOL 1110 - Geology and Earth Systems [LE CAT, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN] (4.0 cr)
or GEOL 1610 - Oceanography [LE CAT5, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN] (3.0 cr)
or GEOG 1414 - The Physical Geography [LE CAT, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN] (4.0 cr)
Core Courses (15 cr)
ESCI 2010 - Surface Processes (4.0 cr)
GEOL 2110 - Earth History (4.0 cr)
GEOL 2120 - The Earth's Dynamic Interior (3.0 cr)
GEOL 2311 - Mineralogy (4.0 cr)
Advanced Core Courses (24 cr)
GEOL 2312 - Petrology (5.0 cr)
GEOL 3420 - Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4.0 cr)
GEOL 3800 - Principles of Geophysics (4.0 cr)
GEOL 4450 - Structural Geology (5.0 cr)
GEOL 4500 - Field Geology (6.0 cr)
Courses Required From Other Programs (33 cr)
Mathematics
Calculus I
MATH 1290 - Calculus for the Natural Sciences [LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR] (5.0 cr)
or MATH 1296 - Calculus I [LE CAT, LOGIC & QR] (5.0 cr)
Calculus II
MATH 1297 - Calculus II [LOGIC & QR] (5.0 cr)
Physics
Introduction to Physics I and II
PHYS 1001 - Introduction to Physics I [LE CAT4, NAT SCI] (5.0 cr)
PHYS 1002 - Introduction to Physics II (5.0 cr)
or General Physics I and II with labs
PHYS 2013 - General Physics I [LE CAT5, NAT SCI] (4.0 cr)
or PHYS 2017 - Honors: General Physics I [NAT SCI] (4.0 cr)
PHYS 2014 - General Physics Lab I [NAT SCI] (1.0 cr)
PHYS 2015 - General Physics II (4.0 cr)
or PHYS 2018 - Honors General Physics II (4.0 cr)
PHYS 2016 - General Physics Lab II (1.0 cr)
Chemistry I and II with labs
CHEM 1153 - General Chemistry I [LE CAT, NAT SCI] (4.0 cr)
CHEM 1154 - General Chemistry Lab I [LE CAT, NAT SCI] (1.0 cr)
CHEM 1155 - General Chemistry II (4.0 cr)
CHEM 1156 - General Chemistry Lab II (1.0 cr)
Advanced Writing
WRIT 3150 - Advanced Writing: Science (3.0 cr)
Advanced Earth Science Electives (9 cr)
Take 9 or more credit(s) from the following:
· ESCI 3xxx
· ESCI 4xxx
· ESCI 5xxx
· GEOL 3xxx
· GEOL 4xxx
· GEOL 5xxx
Additional Advanced Electives (9 cr)
Take 9 or more credit(s) from the following:
Take 0 - 2 course(s) from the following:
· ESCI 3xxx
· ESCI 4xxx
· ESCI 5xxx
· GEOL 3xxx
· GEOL 4xxx
· GEOL 5xxx
· Take 1 - 3 course(s) from the following:
· AST 4110 - Observational Astronomy (3.0 cr)
· BIOL 3xxx
· BIOL 4xxx
· BIOL 5xxx
· CHEM 3xxx
· CHEM 4xxx
· CHEM 5xxx
· CS 3xxx
· CS 4xxx
· CS 5xxx
· GEOG 3401 - Weather and Climate (3.0 cr)
· GEOG 4401 - Climate Science (3.0 cr)
· GEOG 4451 - The Geography of Soils (4.0 cr)
· GEOG 4446 - Water Processes and Management (3.0 cr)
· GIS 3xxx
· GIS 4xxx
· GIS 5xxx
· LIM 5xxx
· MATH 3xxx
· MATH 4xxx
· MATH 5xxx
· PHYS 3xxx
· PHYS 4xxx
· PHYS 5xxx
· STAT 3xxx
· STAT 4xxx
· STAT 5xxx
· WRS 5101 - Water Policy (3.0 cr)
 
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GEOL 1110 - Geology and Earth Systems (LE CAT, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Earth systems science is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the processes operating within and the interactions between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. In this course we investigate the changing nature of the Earth; its composition, architecture, and antiquity; the internal and external processes that shape it through time; cycles of energy and matter; the development of life and impact of human activity; and both local environmental issues and global change.
GEOL 1610 - Oceanography (LE CAT5, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Origin and history of ocean basins, sea floor morphology, chemistry of sea water, currents, waves, tides, life in the sea, primary productivity, nutrient dynamics, human impact. prereq: Credit will not be granted if already received for 2610.
GEOG 1414 - The Physical Geography (LE CAT, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall, Spring & Summer
The environment is highly dynamic and is continually modified by human and environmental processes. This course examines these processes to better understand how the Earth's landscapes were formed and how they are currently being transformed. Specifically, students will understand the fundamental processes that govern the physical environment including Earth-sun relations, water resources, landforms, weather and climate, natural vegetation, and soils.
ESCI 2010 - Surface Processes
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02722
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Study of Earth surface processes emphasizing the origin and evolution of the earth's response of the physical environment to anthropogenic perturbations, climate change, and tectonic events; and application of physical, chemical, and mathematical principles to the study and interpretation of the environment. Surface processes will be explored through field and lab exercises designed to give the student hands-on experience in environmental characterization and monitoring. pre-req: GEOL 1110 or 1610 or GEOG 1414, MATH 1250 or 1290 or 1296, CHEM 1153 or 1173 or instructor consent
GEOL 2110 - Earth History
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
What is it that makes Earth habitable? What makes earth?s climate stable over geologic time? In this class, we will examine energy sources to earth?s surface and the processes that change them over geologic time. We will do this within a framework of mass balance ? comparing inputs to outputs at varying scales, investigating the evolution of climate, life and tectonics through time. Our goal is to identify, investigate, characterize, and assess the principal processes that shape earth?s surface environment from 4.54 billion years ago to present. To accomplish this aim, we will learn how geoscientists read Earth?s history, and what tools they use to do so. prereq: 1110 or 1130 or 1610 or Ast 1040 or Geog 1414 or instructor consent
GEOL 2120 - The Earth's Dynamic Interior
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Treatment of the origin, structure and internal composition of the Earth, synthesizing geological, chemical and physical knowledge bearing on the Earth's inaccessible interior. Emphasis is placed on dynamic processes at all depths in the Earth. prereq: 1110 or 1130 or 2110 or 1610 or Geog 1414
GEOL 2311 - Mineralogy
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01406
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Systematic study of minerals and their relationship to rocks. Emphasis will be placed on introductory crystal chemistry, crystallography and physical properties; optical mineralogy, and identification of minerals in hand specimen, thin section, and by x-ray diffraction. (Course fee assessed.) prereq: GEOL 1110 or 2110 and CHEM 1103 or 1113 or 1153 or 1173 or instructor consent
GEOL 2312 - Petrology
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Petrology of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, including their occurrence, petrogenesis and tectonic setting. Emphasis on the relationships between mineral assemblages, rock textures, geochemistry, origins, and rock-forming processes. Course fees assessed. prereq: 2311
GEOL 3420 - Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduction to the concepts, methods, and application of sedimentology and stratigraphy, including the description and interpretation of sediments and sedimentary rocks, their provenance, stratal packaging, and tectonostratigraphic setting. (Course fee assessed.) pre-req: GEOL 1110 or 1610 or GEOG 1414 or instructor consent
GEOL 3800 - Principles of Geophysics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
An introduction to the geophysical concepts and techniques used by practicing geoscientists. prereq: GEOL 2120, MATH 1297, PHYS 1002 or 2015 or 2018
GEOL 4450 - 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 mechanisms; elementary stress and strain theory. Labs include geometric, structural, and kinematic analysis, and a group project. Course fee assessed. prereq: 2312 or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for 3520
GEOL 4500 - Field Geology
Credits: 6.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Summer
Geological mapping of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic terranes and of Quaternary deposits and landforms; topographic maps and aerial photographs, including preparation of geologic maps and cross sections, and map unit descriptions. prereq: 4450, department consent; no grad credit
MATH 1290 - Calculus for the Natural Sciences (LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01420 - Math1290/1296/1596
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Differential and integral calculus needed for modeling in earth and life sciences. Computational software. Not intended for students in mathematics, engineering, or physical sciences. prereq: Math ACT 27 or higher or a grade of at least C- in Math 1250 or department consent
MATH 1296 - Calculus I (LE CAT, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01420
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
First part of a standard introduction to calculus of functions of a single variable. Limits, continuity, derivatives, integrals, and their applications. prereq: Math ACT 27 or higher or a grade of at least C- in Math 1250 or department consent
MATH 1297 - Calculus II (LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01421
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Second part of a standard introduction to calculus. Vectors, applications of integrals, transcendental functions, series, and multivariable functions and partial derivatives. prereq: A grade of at least C- in 1290 or 1296 or 1596
PHYS 1001 - Introduction to Physics I (LE CAT4, NAT SCI)
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Noncalculus general physics course primarily for certain preprofessional fields. Topics in mechanics, heat, and sound. prereq: Algebra, trig
PHYS 1002 - Introduction to Physics II
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Noncalculus general physics course primarily for certain preprofessional fields. Topics in light, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics. prereq: 1001 or 2013 or 2017
PHYS 2013 - General Physics I (LE CAT5, NAT SCI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Calculus-based introduction to Newtonian Mechanics, fluid mechanics, and heat. The companion laboratory, PHYS 2014 should be taken concurrently. The combination of PHYS 2013 and 2014 meets liberal education category 4. prereq: previous or concurrent registration in PHYS 2014. Prerequisite of Math 1290 or 1296 or 1596; credit will not be granted if already received for PHYS 2011.
PHYS 2017 - Honors: General Physics I (NAT SCI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Advanced coverage of General Physics topics that include Newtonian Mechanics, fluid mechanics, and heat. Mathematically and conceptually demanding problem solving techniques. The companion laboratory, PHYS 2014, should be taken concurrently. The combination of PHYS 2014 and PHYS 2017 meets liberal education natural science with lab. prereq: Previous or concurrent registration in PHYS 2014. Previous or concurrent registration in Math 1290 or Math 1296 or 1596, or physics major or instructor permission. Credit will not be granted if already received for PHYS PHYS 2011 or PHYS 2013.
PHYS 2014 - General Physics Lab I (NAT SCI)
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Calculus-based introduction to Newtonian Mechanics, fluid mechanics, and heat exemplified by laboratory study. This laboratory accompanies lecture PHYS 2013 and should be taken concurrently. The combination of PHYS 2013 and 2014 meets liberal education category 4. prereq: previous or concurrent enrollment in PHYS 2013 or 2017
PHYS 2015 - General Physics II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Calculus-based introduction to electricity, magnetism and optics. The companion laboratory, PHYS 2016, should be taken concurrently. prereq: previous or concurrent registration in 2016. Prerequisite of 2011 or 2013 or 2017 and 2014, Math 1297 or 1597; credit will not be granted if already received for PHYS 2012.
PHYS 2018 - Honors General Physics II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Advanced coverage of calculus-based introduction to electricity magnetism and optics. Mathematically and conceptually demanding problem solving techniques. The companion laboratory, PHYS 2016 should be taken concurrently. Prerequisites: Previous or concurrent registration in PHYS 2016; PHYS 2013 or 2017; co-registration in or prior completion of Math 1287 or 1597 or instruction permission. Credit will not be granted if already received for PHYS 2012 or 2015.
PHYS 2016 - General Physics Lab II
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Calculus-based introduction to electricity, magnetism and optics exemplified by laboratory study. This laboratory accompanies lecture PHYS 2015 and should be taken concurrently. prereq: Previous or concurrently enrollment in PHYS 2015 or 2018.
CHEM 1153 - General Chemistry I (LE CAT, NAT SCI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02278
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Fundamental principles of chemistry exemplified by study of elements, compounds, and their reactions. Covers fundamental concepts of the atom, molecule, stoichiometry, chemical reactions, thermochemistry, gas laws, atomic structure, periodic table, chemical bonding, and other selected topics. The companion laboratory, CHEM 1154, should be taken concurrently. The combination of CHEM 1153 and CHEM 1154 meets the lab component of NAT SCI, LE CAT 4. prereq: One year high school chem, Math ACT 24 or higher or a grade of least C- in Math 1005, Credit will not be granted if already received for 1151 or 1161 or 1173. Fall semester, SCSE majors only.
CHEM 1154 - General Chemistry Lab I (LE CAT, NAT SCI)
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02279
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Basic laboratory skills while investigating the fundamental principles of chemistry. Covers fundamental concepts of the atom and molecule, stoichiometry, acid-base reactions, oxidation-reduction reactions, thermochemistry, characteristic properties of anions, gas laws and spectrophotometry. This laboratory accompanies lecture CHEM 1153. The combination of CHEM 1153 and CHEM 1154 meets liberal education category 4 requirements. prereq: Previous or concurrent enrollment in CHEM 1153 or 1173; credit will not be granted if already received for CHEM 1151, 1161 or 1174.
CHEM 1155 - General Chemistry II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02280
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Fundamental principles of chemistry exemplified by study of elements, compounds, and their reactions. Covers intermolecular forces, properties of liquids, solids and solution, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, solubility, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, nuclear chemistry, and other selected topics. Solid knowledge of college algebra and General Chemistry I is required. The companion laboratory course CHEM 1156 should be taken concurrently. prereq: 1151 or 1153 or 1161 or 1173; credit will not be granted if already received for 1152, 1162 or 1175.
CHEM 1156 - General Chemistry Lab II
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02281
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Fundamental principles of chemistry exemplified by laboratory study of elements, compounds, and their reactions. Covers titration, intermolecular forces, colligative properties, kinetics, chemical equilibria, and qualitative analysis. This laboratory accompanies lecture CHEM 1155. prereq: 1151 or 1161 or 1154 or 1174, concurrent or previous enrollment in CHEM 1155; credit will not be granted if already received for Chem 1152, 1162 or 1176.
WRIT 3150 - Advanced Writing: Science
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Study and practice of writing tasks in science, including oral presentations. Exploration of rhetorical situations in professional practice, including research methods, document design, editing, effective collaboration, and ethical issues in the production of professional documents, such as instructions, lab reports, proposals, short and long reports, and career documents. prereq: 1) WRIT 1120 or MNTC completed 2) minimum 60 credits earned
AST 4110 - Observational Astronomy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Applied principles of astronomical observation; review of optical telescopes and mounts; locating and tracking objects; remote telescope operation, CCD, CMOS, and film astrophotography, astrometry, photometry, spectroscopy, astronomical image processing and analysis. prereq: Phys 2015 or 2018 or instructor consent
GEOG 3401 - Weather and Climate
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Weather and climate are critical to both Earth systems and human societies, yet they are frequently misunderstood. The goal of this course is to develop a scientific understanding of atmospheric processes and how they are responsible for weather events and climatic patterns. Atmospheric composition, structure, and motion are studied, along with precipitation processes, air masses, fronts, cyclonic storms, and the the distribution and classification of climates. prereq: 1414 or GEOL 1110 or 1130 or instructor consent
GEOG 4401 - Climate Science
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This course examines the complex relationship between the atmosphere, oceans, and the biosphere over space and time, and how they relate to Earth's climate. Specifically, this course will study the basic forces that drive Earth's climate systems, how climate differs between the equator and the poles and between oceans and continents, and how these difference results in variations in Earth's climate. In addition, we will explore the global balance and distribution of energy and the transfer of that energy throughout the atmosphere, the role of land and ocean surfaces in climate forcing, how global atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns are related, and examine long-term climate forcing (ENSO, NAO, MJO, etc.) Lastly, we will understand how these processes have varied in the past, and how current variations are leading to fundamental changes to our climate system. pre-req: GEOG 3401
GEOG 4451 - The Geography of Soils
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course gives students a fundamental understanding of the soil as a living resource. The course covers basic soil science and the critical need for sustainable soil management in the context of current agricultural and climate change. The course includes outdoor field excursions, hands-on soil study both in the field and in the lab. Course includes a weekend field trip. prereq: 1414 or Geol 1110 or grad student or instructor consent
GEOG 4446 - Water Processes and Management
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Introduction to the surface water processes and water resources management, including precipitation, runoff generation, channel processes, spatial and temporal variations in water distribution, aspects of water quantity and quality, and watershed management problems. Prereq: Geog 1414 or Geol 1110 or Graduate students or Instructor consent.
WRS 5101 - Water Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02011 - CE 5201/WRS 5101
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Socio-cultural, legal, and economic factors that affect water resources management. Historical trends in water policy, resulting water laws in the United States. Federal state and local institutional structures for water management. prereq: Grad student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for CE 5201