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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.

Course Catalog

Requirements for a major

Earth Science

Total courses required 9.0 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 (1.0 total credit)
  • At least 4 course credits from the following courses (at least one of the four must be at the 300 or higher level): GEOS 105, GEOS 107, GEOS 117, GEOS 125, GEOS 190, 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 Four
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 first create resumes/LinkedIn profiles and then research and prepare mock applications to graduate schools and potential employers. They also explore areas of the geosciences by critically reading and analyzing the primary literature, making an oral presentation summarizing the selected manuscripts, and then leading class discussions to investigate the topic(s) in more depth.
Additional information Recommended courses from which to choose:
  • MATH 151 & MATH 152
  • PHYS 120 & PHYS 130
  • CSC 121 & 122
  • POLS courses (e.g., POLS 110, 170, 382)
  • ANTH 253
  • Additional GEOS, CHEM, and/or BIO courses
  • Winter Term/Summer 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 will satisfy their Writing in the Major requirement through writing assignments in advanced 300-level courses that have a WD (Writing in the Discipline) designation. In these courses, students will develop their writing-in-the-discipline skills within the context of multiple sub-disciplines in the geosciences (a minimum of at least three 300-level courses). Students not only will have the opportunity to prepare original papers/reports for different audiences using various lab report formats (e.g., EPA-style reports, etc.), but they also may have assignments where they provide feedback for other class participants and/or iteratively revise 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 for specified report formats, and 3) appropriately incorporate references and citations into their papers.

Environmental Geoscience

Total courses required 10.0 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 117, GEOS 190, GEOS 205, GEOS 220, 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+, BIO 102, BIO 342+, BIO 345+, CHEM 120, CHEM 130, ECON 245+, PHIL 232, POLS 265, 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 Five
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 first create resumes/LinkedIn profiles and then research and prepare mock applications to graduate schools and potential employers. They also explore areas of the geosciences by critically reading and analyzing the primary literature, making an oral presentation summarizing the selected manuscripts, and then leading class discussions to investigate the topic(s) in more depth .
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, 170, 382)
  • ANTH 253
  • Additional GEOS, CHEM, and/or BIO courses
  • Winter Term/Summer 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 will satisfy their Writing in the Major requirement through writing assignments in advanced 300-level courses that have a WD (Writing in the Discipline) designation. In these courses, students will develop their writing-in-the-discipline skills within the context of multiple sub-disciplines in the geosciences (a minimum of at least three 300-level courses). Students not only will have the opportunity to prepare original papers/reports for different audiences using various lab report formats (e.g., EPA-style reports, etc.), but they also may have assignments where they provide feedback for other class participants and/or iteratively revise 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 for specified report formats, and 3) appropriately incorporate references and citations into their papers.

Geology

Total courses required 10.0 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 2 must be at the 200 or higher level AND at least 1 of the 2 must be at the 300 or higher level): GEOS 105, GEOS 107, 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 Five
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 first create resumes/LinkedIn profiles and then research and prepare mock applications to graduate schools and potential employers. They also explore areas of the geosciences by critically reading and analyzing the primary literature, making an oral presentation summarizing the selected manuscripts, and then leading class discussions to investigate the topic(s) in more depth.
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, 170, 382 )
  • ANTH 253
  • Additional GEOS, CHEM, and/or BIO courses
  • Winter Term/Summer 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 will satisfy their Writing in the Major requirement through writing assignments in advanced 300-level courses that have a WD (Writing in the Discipline) designation. In these courses, students will develop their writing-in-the-discipline skills within the context of multiple sub-disciplines in the geosciences (a minimum of at least three 300-level courses). Students not only will have the opportunity to prepare original papers/reports for different audiences using various lab report formats (e.g., EPA-style reports, etc.), but they also may have assignments where they provide feedback for other class participants and/or iteratively revise 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 for specified report formats, and 3) appropriately incorporate references and citations into their papers.

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+, BIO 102, BIO 342+, BIO 345 +, CHEM 120, CHEM 130, ECON 245+, PHIL 232, POLS 265, 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