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Majors & Minors

Course Catalog

Geosciences

Geoscientists study the Earth, including the materials that compose the planet, the processes that continuously change the planet, and the evolution of the earth and life through time. Because these studies involve investigations of relationships between the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere, the Geosciences are inherently interdisciplinary by nature and include aspects of chemistry, biology, and physics. Geoscientists also are addressing increasingly challenging problems that confront a growing human population as we begin the twenty-first century: dwindling water, mineral, and energy resources; earthquake prediction and natural hazard identification; human impacts on the environment at regional and global scales; and safe disposal of toxic and radioactive waste materials. The goal of the Department of Geosciences is to expose students to the complex interplay of Earth systems through active, hands-on learning. Therefore, a DePauw education in the Geosciences goes far beyond the traditional classroom. Students work in modern laboratories with extensive mineral, rock, fossil, and map collections. They use computers to model complex systems and simulate geological processes. They receive training on emerging technological tools such as GPS (global positioning systems) and GIS (geographic information systems). They participate on field trips that take them to some of the best geological exposures in the world. Many students spend a summer working closely with faculty on important research problems using state-of-the-art instrumentation. These student-faculty collaborations commonly result in student presentations at national meetings and co-authored publications in refereed journals.


Requirements for a major

Earth Science

Total courses required 8.5 GEOS + 2.25 CHEM/PHYS
Core courses GEOS 110, GEOS 280, GEOS 310, GEOS 350, GEOS 450
Other required courses
  • CHEM 130 & CHEM 170 (1.25 total credit)
  • PHYS 103 or PHYS 104
  • At least 4 course credits from the following courses (at least one of the four must be at the 300 or higher level): GEOS EXP (Weather & Climate Change), GEOS 105, GEOS 107, GEOS 115, GEOS 125, GEOS 205, GEOS 210, GEOS 220, GEOS 230, GEOS 315, GEOS 320, GEOS 330, GEOS 370, GEOS 380, GEOS 470*, GEOS 480*, GEOS 490*, UNIV 170.
    *only a total of 1 course credit counts towards major
Number 300 and 400 level courses Three and one-half
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior requirement consists of GEOS 450. The Department of Geosciences Senior Seminar provides students with the opportunity to integrate skills and expertise learned in previous coursework at DePauw as well as to prepare for opportunities after graduating from DePauw. Students research and prepare mock applications to graduate schools and potential employers. They also explore two areas of the geosciences in-depth by critically reading and analyzing the primary literature and leading class discussions. Later, they prepare and present both oral and poster presentations on selected research topics to peers and the Department.
Additional information Recommended courses from which to choose:
  • MATH 151, MATH 152
  • PHYS 120, PHYS 130
  • CSC 121-122
  • POLS (Political Science) courses (e.g., POLS 110, 160, 382)
  • ANTH 253
  • Additional GEOS, CHEM, and/or BIO courses
  • Winter Term internship in a geoscience-related field
  • Off-campus study in an approved geoscience program
  • Summer geology field camp
Writing in the Major

Writing is an important skill for professional geoscientists. Whether publishing the results of research in a peer-reviewed journal, communicating the findings of a consulting project to a client in a technical report, or explaining our science to the general public, geoscientists must be able to communicate their ideas with writing that is clear, concise, and accurate. Furthermore, students are able to better refine and develop their thoughts and ideas as they strive to convey their message to others in writing. To facilitate the development of these skills, all students majoring in Earth Science, Environmental Geoscience, or Geology must take GEOS 3xx,Writing in the Geosciences, during their junior or senior year. In this course, students will further develop their writing skills by reading and discussing texts about writing in the geosciences, writing original papers for different audiences, providing feedback for other participants in the class, and editing and revising their own work. Students will be evaluated based on their ability to 1) effectively communicate their ideas using appropriate geologic terms and concepts, 2) adapt their writing style for different audiences, and 3) appropriately incorporate references and citations into their papers. Students must pass Writing in the Geosciences to satisfy the writing in the major requirement.

Environmental Geoscience

Total courses required 9.5 GEOS + 4 in other departments
Core courses GEOS 110, GEOS 280, GEOS 310, GEOS 350, GEOS 450
Other required courses
  • GEOS 125, GEOS 230
  • At least 3 course credits from the following courses (at least two must be at the 300 level or higher): GEOS 205, GEOS 220, GEOS EXP Weather, Climate and Climate Change, GEOS 315, GEOS 330, GEOS 370, GEOS 380, GEOS 470*, GEOS 480*, GEOS 490* (*only 1 course credit counts towards major)
  • At least four course credits from the following*: ANTH 253+, CHEM 120, CHEM 130, BIO 145, BIO 342+, BIO 345+, ECON 335+, PHIL 232, UNIV 170
    *Students should consult with the department chair regarding other courses that might fulfill this requirement.
    +These courses have prerequisites.
Number 300 and 400 level courses Four and one-half
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior requirement consists of GEOS 450. The Department of Geosciences Senior Seminar provides students with the opportunity to integrate skills and expertise learned in previous coursework at DePauw as well as to prepare for opportunities after graduating from DePauw. Students research and prepare mock applications to graduate schools and potential employers. They also explore two areas of the geosciences in-depth by critically reading and analyzing the primary literature and leading class discussions. Later, they prepare and present both oral and poster presentations on selected research topics to peers and the Department.
Additional information Recommended courses from which to choose:
  • MATH 151, MATH 152
  • PHYS 120, PHYS 130
  • CSC 121, CSC 122
  • POLS courses (e.g., POLS 110, 160, 382)
  • Additional GEOS, CHEM, and/or BIO courses
  • Winter Term internship in a geoscience-related field
  • Off-campus study in an approved geoscience program
  • Summer geology field camp
Recent changes in major The requirement that majors complete two out of three areas outside the Geosciences department was dropped and the requirement that majors complete four courses from a list of related courses outside the department was added. Effective Fall 2011.
Writing in the Major

Writing is an important skill for professional geoscientists. Whether publishing the results of research in a peer-reviewed journal, communicating the findings of a consulting project to a client in a technical report, or explaining our science to the general public, geoscientists must be able to communicate their ideas with writing that is clear, concise, and accurate. Furthermore, students are able to better refine and develop their thoughts and ideas as they strive to convey their message to others in writing. To facilitate the development of these skills, all students majoring in Earth Science, Environmental Geoscience, or Geology must take GEOS 3xx,Writing in the Geosciences, during their junior or senior year. In this course, students will further develop their writing skills by reading and discussing texts about writing in the geosciences, writing original papers for different audiences, providing feedback for other participants in the class, and editing and revising their own work. Students will be evaluated based on their ability to 1) effectively communicate their ideas using appropriate geologic terms and concepts, 2) adapt their writing style for different audiences, and 3) appropriately incorporate references and citations into their papers. Students must pass Writing in the Geosciences to satisfy the writing in the major requirement.

Geology

Total courses required 9.5 GEOS + 1.25 CHEM
Core courses GEOS 110, GEOS 280, GEOS 310, GEOS 350, GEOS 450
Other required courses
  • GEOS 210, GEOS 320
  • CHEM 130 & 170 (1.25 credit)
  • At least 3 course credits from the following courses (at least one must be at the 300 level or higher): GEOS 205, GEOS 220, GEOS 230, GEOS 315, GEOS 330, GEOS 370, GEOS 380, GEOS 470*, GEOS 480*, GEOS 490*
    *only 1 course credit counts towards major
Number 300 and 400 level courses Four and one-half
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior requirement consists of GEOS 450. The Department of Geosciences Senior Seminar provides students with the opportunity to integrate skills and expertise learned in previous coursework at DePauw as well as to prepare for opportunities after graduating from DePauw. Students research and prepare mock applications to graduate schools and potential employers. They also explore two areas of the geosciences in-depth by critically reading and analyzing the primary literature and leading class discussions. Later, they prepare and present both oral and poster presentations on selected research topics to peers and the Department.
Additional information Recommended courses from which to choose:
  • MATH 151, MATH 152
  • PHYS 120, PHYS 130
  • CSC 121, CSC 122
  • POLS courses (e.g., POLS 110, 160, 382 )
  • ANTH 253
  • Off-campus study in an approved geoscience program
  • Additional GEOS, CHEM, and/or BIO courses
  • Winter Term internship in a geoscience-related field
  • Summer geology field camp
Writing in the Major

Writing is an important skill for professional geoscientists. Whether publishing the results of research in a peer-reviewed journal, communicating the findings of a consulting project to a client in a technical report, or explaining our science to the general public, geoscientists must be able to communicate their ideas with writing that is clear, concise, and accurate. Furthermore, students are able to better refine and develop their thoughts and ideas as they strive to convey their message to others in writing. To facilitate the development of these skills, all students majoring in Earth Science, Environmental Geoscience, or Geology must take GEOS 3xx,Writing in the Geosciences, during their junior or senior year. In this course, students will further develop their writing skills by reading and discussing texts about writing in the geosciences, writing original papers for different audiences, providing feedback for other participants in the class, and editing and revising their own work. Students will be evaluated based on their ability to 1) effectively communicate their ideas using appropriate geologic terms and concepts, 2) adapt their writing style for different audiences, and 3) appropriately incorporate references and citations into their papers. Students must pass Writing in the Geosciences to satisfy the writing in the major requirement.


Requirements for a minor

Earth Science

Total courses required Five
Core courses GEOS 110
Other required courses
  • At least three additional GEOS course credits, including at least one at the 300 level or above.
  • At least one course credit from the following: CHEM 130, PHYS 103, PHYS 104.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Environmental Geoscience

Total courses required Seven
Core courses GEOS 110, GEOS 125, GEOS 230
Other required courses
  • One GEOS course credit at the 300 level or above
  • At least three course credits from the following*: ANTH 253+, CHEM 120, CHEM 130, BIO 145, BIO 342+, BIO 345+, ECON 335+, PHIL 232, UNIV 170.
    *Check with department chair about other courses that might count. +Course has prerequisite.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Geography

Total courses required Four
Core courses GEOS 115
Other required courses
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Geology

Total courses required Five
Core courses GEOS 110
Other required courses At least four additional GEOS course credits, including at least one at the 300 level or above.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One