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Online M.S. in Geology Course Schedule

Course Schedule

Fall 2021

Spring 2022

Summer 2022

  • GEOL 5460 — Earth Systems Evolution (4 credits)
  • GEOL 5520 — Sedimentary Systems and Processes (4 credits)
  • GEOL 5700 — Groundwater Fundamentals and Practices (4 credits)
  • GEOL 6921 — Colloquium in Geology (1 credit)
    • Taught by TBA

Fall 2022

  • GEOL 5060 — Geodata Analysis (4 credits)
    • Taught by TBA
  • GEOL 5180 — Solid Earth Geochemistry (4 credits)
  • GEOL 6921 — Colloquium in Geology (1 credit)
    • Taught by TBA

Course Descriptions

GEOL 5060 — Geodata Analysis

This course is designed to introduce the principles of surface and subsurface data 2D and 3D visualization, analysis, and management and the applications of geospatial techniques in addressing geological, environmental, or petroleum resource exploration problems. Topics include geospatial data organization and preparation, exploratory data analysis, geospatial data correlation and regression, spatial interpolation and modeling, reservoir volume calculation, and well production data analysis and performance evaluation.

Learning outcomes:

  • Students will be able to summarize and manage geospatial data.
  • Students will be able to produce surface and subsurface data visualizations and analyze data using ArcGIS Pro and Petrel.
  • Students will be able to explain spatial autocorrelation and the role of autocorrelation in geospatial modeling.
  • Students will be able to use core geostatistical components and functionality of ArcGIS Pro.
  • Students will be able to analyze geospatial data distributions using geostatistical measures.
  • Students will be able to conduct geospatial models and conduct uncertainty analysis.
  • Students will be able to assess well production data to optimize future production operations in Petrel.
  • Students will be able to conduct well production forecasting.
  • Students will be able to apply appropriate data analytical techniques to address real world geological or environmental problems.

GEOL 5080 — Planetary Geology

Students examine current issues and questions regarding the geology of the solid inner planets, moons, and small bodies of our solar system. The laboratory component allows students to work with data from spacecraft missions and sample-based studies.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to outline the geological evolution of the solar system and major planets in addition to several moons and small bodies.
  • Students will be able to compare and contrast solid bodies in the solar system with each other with respect to geology.
  • Students will be able to explain the fundamental geological processes (in addition to physical, chemical, and biological processes) at work on solid bodies in the solar system.

GEOL 5180 – Solid Earth Geochemistry

This course addresses the magmatic and metamorphic evolution of the Earth using major element, trace element, and radiogenic and stable isotope geochemistry. Students learn how to generate, present and use geochemical data as tracers of geologic processes, with an emphasis on solid earth processes.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to describe the distribution of an element (and its isotopes) as it cycles through the Earth's major reservoirs (core, mantle, crust).
  • Students will be able to use geochemical data to interpret the formation and evolution of igneous and metamorphic rocks.
  • Students will be able to read and critically evaluate articles in geochemical journals.
  • Students will be able to access, organize and synthesize data from published geochemical databases (PetDB, NAVDAT, GEOROC, etc.).
  • Students will be able to use common software programs to analyze, model, and present geochemical data to others.
  • Students will be able to convey geochemical information in oral, graphical, and written formats.
  • Students will be able to design an appropriate sampling and analytical strategy to address geochemical questions.

GEOL 5390 — Stream Geomorphology

Study of stream processes and human interactions with rivers, including the qualitative and quantitative techniques used to study natural and disturbed streams. Emphasis is placed on processes, river mechanics, and fluvial hydrology.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to use common numerical and quantitative techniques for stream analysis.
  • Students will be able to critically evaluate readings and produce written analyses.
  • Students will be able to produce models of open channel flow in one-dimension.
  • Students will be able to explain the major controls on channel geometries and morphologies.
  • Students will be able to explain how stream ecology is linked to river morphologies and behaviors.
  • Students will be able to calculate parameters of sediment entrainment, transport, and deposition.
  • Students will be able to synthesize data to generate a simple watershed-scale hydrological model.
  • Students will be able to explain linkages between human activities and stream properties.

GEOL 5460 — Earth Systems Evolution

Synthesis of the coupled histories of the Earth’s interior, surface, and life.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to explain the major factors that control the earth’s climate system.
  • Students will be able to explain major biogeochemical cycles on Earth.
  • Students will be able to explain the interactions between plate tectonics, biogeochemical cycles, and climate.
  • Students will be able to explain feedback loops between ocean, land, and atmospheric systems.
  • Students will be able to explain how earth and life co-evolved at key transitions.
  • Students will be able to analyze authentic data and use it to critically analyze assertions about changes in the Earth system.
  • Students will be able to describe differences in the major phases of Earth’s evolution: Archean, Proterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic.
  • Students will be able to describe how the past helps understand global change occurring today.

GEOL 5520 — Sedimentary Systems and Processes

Advanced coverage of depositional processes and environments. Latter part of course focuses on global sedimentation and events. Students read, present, and discuss current literature, as well as write a term paper.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to describe processes operating in a broad spectrum of siliciclastic and carbonate, marine and non-marine sedimentary environments.
  • Students will be able to describe the essential criteria for differentiating deposits of different sedimentary environments.
  • Students will be able to apply knowledge of modern sedimentary processes and environments to interpret similar processes and environments in the geologic record.
  • Students will be able to apply techniques of analyzing sedimentary systems to problems related to the energy, environmental, and mineral industry.
  • Students will be able to identify and select relevant peer-reviewed literature on sedimentary systems.
  • Students will be able to summarize information about different sedimentary environments from reference works.
  • Students will be able to discuss essential aspects of specific depositional environments in written format.

GEOL 5700 — Groundwater Fundamentals and Practices

Students learn fundamental concepts and theories related to occurrence, movement, storage, reaction, contamination, and remediation of surface and groundwater and their applications to real-world problems through case studies. Topics include water issues, hydrologic cycle, surface water-groundwater interaction, groundwater sustainability, streams and watersheds, types of properties of aquifers, groundwater flow and quality, basic well hydraulics, and contamination and remediation.

Learning outcomes:

  • Students will be able to explain the components and the hydrologic cycle.
  • Students will be able to explain groundwater-surface water interaction and sustainability.
  • Students will be able to characterize aquifer types.
  • Students will be able to solve groundwater flow and reaction problems.
  • Students will be able to describe methods for hydrogeologic investigations.
  • Students will be able to calculate properties and sustainable yield of an aquifer.
  • Students will be able to describe basic and advanced concepts of contamination and remediation.
  • Students will be able to describe major water issues using hydrogeologic concepts and theories.

GEOL 5750 — Watershed and Stream Hydrology

This course provides students with a comprehensive introduction to physical hydrologic processes and techniques at the watershed scale. Students examine the hydrological cycle and its components, water budget, hydrological pathways, streamflow and flow frequency analysis, surface water and groundwater interactions, and hydrologic modeling and emerging technologies.

Learning outcomes:

  • Students will be able to define the key processes in the hydrologic cycle.
  • Students will be able to conduct water budget analysis in a watershed.
  • Students will be able to delineate flow pathways at the watershed scale.
  • Students will be able to explain how surface erosion can be controlled or maintained at acceptable levels in different landscapes and vegetative types.
  • Students will be able to calculate streamflow discharge from knowledge of streamflow velocity and cross-sectional area of the stream.
  • Students will be able to conduct flood frequency analysis.
  • Students will be able to explain hydrologic processes that influence fluvial geomorphology and the resulting landscape features.
  • Students will be able to quantify surface water and groundwater exchanges occur in streams and explain how groundwater recharge occurs in different landscape settings.
  • Students will be able to explain hydrologic modeling processes.

GEOL 6921 — Colloquium in Geology

Advanced seminar on current research in geology.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will participate in weekly research lectures on advanced ideas in geological thought.
  • Students will be able to ask insightful questions and discuss data and ideas.