GEOLOGY (GEOL)

College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Geology
Owens Science Hall (OWS) 153, (651) 962-5242
Theissen (chair), Clotts, Donatelle, Hickson, Lamb, McDermott, Visolva

Department Web Site: http://www.stthomas.edu/geology/

Geology is the field of study that tackles a wide range of issues facing society today: preparing for natural disasters, finding and extracting natural resources in responsible and sustainable ways, understanding and preparing for global environmental change, preventing, assessing and mitigating environmental pollution, and public health issues, to name a few. Many of us grew up thinking geologists simply study rocks. Although it is true rocks provide some of the fundamental clues to understanding these issues, geologists also study soil, sediments, lakes, groundwater, and the interior of the earth. Spatial analysis using ArcGIS, numerical computer modeling, and geochemical analysis using sophisticated instrumentation are common methods used by different geoscientists.

In the Geology Department, we strive to develop the whole student by emphasizing critical thinking and analytical, quantitative, public speaking and writing skills. Students have the opportunity to work collaboratively with geology faculty on research projects, in addition to learning the key field, lab and research skills of a professional geologist. These skills are transferable to many different fields and help prepare students for a range of career paths. The geology curriculum has been designed to provide students with a solid core, but with sufficient flexibility to allow students with particular interests to pursue a more customized Geology program. At the heart of this program are a number of hands-on learning opportunities, a fundamental and basic component of a St. Thomas geoscience degree. Department faculty emphasize the fact that geology must be learned by practicing skills and as a result offer analytical experiences in all courses that extend from a short afternoon trip to a multi-week field course on field methods and regional geology. Majors will visit many of the geologically significant localities throughout the upper Midwest as part of their program as well as use analytical instrumentation.

Major in Geology (B.A.)

Geology (B.A.) - Major Field Guide

Four credits from the following:

  • GEOL 111 Introductory Physical Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 114 The Science of Natural Disasters (4 credits)
  • GEOL 115 Environmental Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 162 The Earth’s Record of Climate (4 credits)

Plus:

  • GEOL 211 Earth Materials (4 credits) or GEOL 310 Environmental Geochemistry (4 credits)
  • GEOL 260 Regional Geology and Geological Field Methods (4 credits)
  • GEOL 320 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4 credits)
  • GEOL 340 Fundamentals of the Lithosphere I (Petrology) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 360 Fundamentals of the Lithosphere II (Structural Geology) (4 credits) 

Plus sixteen credits from the following (four credits of which must be at the 400-level and four credits of which must be at the 300 or 400 level):

  • GEOL 130 Earth History (4 credits)
  • GEOL 161 Medical Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 162 The Earth’s Record of Climate (if not chosen above) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 211 Earth Materials (if not chosen above) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 220 Oceanography (4 credits)
  • GEOL 252 Earth Surface Processes and Geomorphology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 310 Environmental Geochemistry (4 credits) (if not chosen above)
  • GEOL 410 Hydrogeology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 460 Advanced Field Methods (4 credits)
  • GEOL 461 Medical Geology (unless receiving credit for 161) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 462 The Earth’s Record of Climate (unless receiving credit for 162) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 491 Research (4 credits)

Note: GEOG 321 Geographic Information Systems and geology courses offered at Macalester College may fulfill one of these courses with permission of chair

Allied requirements

  • MATH 113 Calculus I (4 credits)

or

  • MATH 108 Calculus with Review I (4 credits) and MATH 109 Calculus with Review II (4 credits)

Plus one of the following sequences:

  • CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (4 credits) and CHEM 112 General Chemistry II (4 credits)
  • PHYS 111 Introduction to Classical Physics I (4 credits) and PHYS 112 Introduction to Classical Physics II (4 credits)
  • CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (4 credits) and PHYS 111 Introduction to Classical Physics I (4 credits) 

For students wishing to pursue careers in paleontology, geobiology, or geomicrobiology:

  • BIOL 207 Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution (4 credits) and BIOL 208 Biological Communication and Energetics (4 credits)

Biology may be substituted for one of the CHEM/PHYS sequences with permission of chair

Strongly recommended for students considering graduate study:

  • additional courses in the allied sciences and mathematics 

Major in Geology (B.S.)

Geology (B.S.) - Major Field Guide

Four credits from the following:

  • GEOL 111 Introductory Physical Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 114 The Science of Natural Disasters (4 credits)
  • GEOL 115 Environmental Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 162 The Earth’s Record of Climate (4 credits)

Plus:

  • GEOL 211 Earth Materials (4 credits) or GEOL 310 Environmental Geochemistry (4 credits)
  • GEOL 260 Regional Geology and Geological Field Methods (4 credits)
  • GEOL 320 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4 credits)
  • GEOL 340 Fundamentals of the Lithosphere I (Petrology) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 360 Fundamentals of the Lithosphere II (Structural Geology) (4 credits)
  • One 300- or 400- level GEOL elective (4 credits)

Plus sixteen credits from the following (four credits of which must be at the 400-level and four credits of which must be at the 300 or 400 level):

  • GEOL 130 Earth History (4 credits)
  • GEOL 161 Medical Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 162 The Earth’s Record of Climate (if not chosen above)(4 credits)
  • GEOL 211 Earth Materials (if not chosen above) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 220 Oceanography (4 credits)
  • GEOL 252 Earth Surface Processes and Geomorphology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 310 Environmental Geochemistry (4 credits) (if not chosen above)
  • GEOL 410 Hydrogeology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 460 Advanced Field Methods (4 credits)
  • GEOL 461 Medical Geology (unless receiving credit for 161) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 462 The Earth’s Record of Climate (unless receiving credit for 162) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 491 Research (4 credits)

Note: GEOG 321 Geographic Information Systems and geology courses offered at Macalester College may fulfill one of these courses with permission of chair 

Allied requirements

  • MATH 113 Calculus I (4 credits) or MATH 109 Calculus with Review II (4 credits)
  • MATH 114 Calculus II (4 credits)
  • CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (4 credits)
  • CHEM 112 General Chemistry II (4 credits)
  • PHYS 111 Introduction to Classical Physics I (4 credits)
  • PHYS 112 Introduction to Classical Physics II (4 credits)
  • MATH 303 Statistics for the Applied Sciences (4 credits) or STAT 220 Statistics I (4 credits)

For students wishing to pursue careers in paleontology, geobiology, or geomicrobiology:

  • BIOL 207 Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution (4 credits) and 208 Biological Communication and Energetics (4 credits)

Biology may be substituted for one of the CHEM/PHYS sequences with permission of chair

Depending on a student’s interest and career goals, substitutions may be made for other advanced courses in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics for certain listed courses, in consultation with the geology department chair.

Teacher Licensure

Elementary Education with a Co-major in Science and Mathematics for Elementary Education
Elementary Education with a Specialty in Science (5-8)
Co-major in Science (5-8) – Earth and Space Science (9-12) and a Co-major in Secondary Education

See Education.

Minor in Geology

Four credits from the following:

  • GEOL 111 Introductory Physical Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 114 Natural Disasters (4 credits)
  • GEOL 115 Environmental Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 130 Earth History (4 credits)
  • GEOL 161 Medical Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 162 The Earth’s Record of Climate (4 credits) 

Plus four credits from the following:

  • GEOL 211 Earth Materials (4 credits)
  • GEOL 310 Environmental Geochemistry (4 credits)
  • GEOL 320 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4 credits)

Plus:

  • GEOL 340 Fundamentals of the Lithosphere I (Petrology) (4 credits)

Plus eight credits from the following (only four of which may be at the 100-level):

  • GEOL 130 Earth History (4 credits)
  • GEOL 161 Medical Geology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 162 The Earth’s Record of Climate (if not chosen above)(4 credits)
  • GEOL 211 Earth Materials (4 credits) (if not chosen above)
  • GEOL 220 Oceanography (4 credits)
  • GEOL 252 Earth Surface Processes and Geomorphology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 260 Regional Geology and Geological Field Methods (4 credits)
  • GEOL 310 Environmental Geochemistry (4 credits) (if not chosen above)
  • GEOL 320 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4 credits) (if not chosen above)
  • GEOL 360 Fundamentals of the Lithosphere II (Structural Geology) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 410 Hydrogeology (4 credits)
  • GEOL 460 Advanced Field Methods (4 credits)
  • GEOL 461 Medical Geology (unless receiving credit for 161) (4 credits)
  • GEOL 462 The Earth’s Record of Climate (unless receiving credit for 162) (4 credits)
Course Number Title Credits
GEOL  102 Origins & Methods 4
GEOL  111 Intro Physical Geology 4
GEOL  114 Science of Natural Disaster 4
GEOL  115 Environmental Geology 4
GEOL  130 Earth History 4
GEOL  161 Medical Geology 4
GEOL  162 The Earth's Record of Climate 4
GEOL  211 Earth Materials 4
GEOL  220 Oceanography 4
GEOL  243 Individual Study 2 OR 4
GEOL  252 Earth Surface Proc/Geomorph 4
GEOL  260 Regional Geol & Field Meth 4
GEOL  269 Research 2 OR 4
GEOL  298 Topics 4
GEOL  310 Environmental Geochemistry 4
GEOL  320 Sedimentology/Stratigraphy 4
GEOL  340 Fund of Lithosphere I (Pet) 4
GEOL  360 Fund of Lithosphere II 4
GEOL  389 Research 2 OR 4
GEOL  393 Individual Study 2 OR 4
GEOL  410 Hydrogeology 4
GEOL  430 Advanced Earth History 4
GEOL  460 Advanced Field Geology 4
GEOL  461 Medical Geology 4
GEOL  462 The Earth's Record of Climate 4
GEOL  489 Topics 4
GEOL  491 Individual Study 4
GEOL  495 Individual Study 2 OR 4