Academic Bulletin 2022-2023 
    Apr 16, 2024  
Academic Bulletin 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Professors Misner

Geology is the study of the Earth—the materials that make it up, the processes that shape it, the record of ancient and modern environments, and the history of the planet and its life forms since its origin. Like other sciences, geology is based upon observation and problem solving. Unlike most sciences, however, it is an outdoor science with the Earth as its laboratory. It is also an interdisciplinary science, utilizing principles of physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics to unravel the mysteries of Earth and other planets. By studying geology, you develop an understanding of earth processes; an understanding of the interactions between the solid earth (lithosphere), the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere; you also learn to appreciate the place and role of humanity living on the Earth today as well as within the context of geologic time.

Geology has both theoretical and applied aspects. The study of geology provides the knowledge needed to answer fundamental questions about how our planet works. In addition, the knowledge of the Earth gained through geology serves humanity by helping to better understand the past, manage the present, and predict the future. As stresses due to increased population and resource development have increased rapidly in the past few decades, so has the recognized need for geologists with their special understanding of the subsurface and how the Earth operates. Environmental geology is the application of geologic principles and knowledge to a wide spectrum of topics defined by possible interactions between humanity and the physical Earth. Geologic principles have been applied to problems of the environment since the birth of geology. Some topics studied within environmental geology are water resources and contamination; river flooding; groundwater; coastal processes; impact of climate change; hazards such as landslides, earthquakes, and volcanoes; energy and mineral resources; and land use.

Learning Outcomes for Students Completing a Geology 

  1. Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of: the physical and chemical properties of the lithosphere and hydrosphere (minerals, rocks, soils, and water); geologic time and earth history; and crustal materials and dynamics in the context of plate tectonics theory;
  2. Demonstrate skills in: mineral, rock, and soil identification; interpretation of topographic and geologic maps; and interpreting and evaluating geological data, hypotheses, and ideas;
  3. Gain an understanding of the societal relevance of earth systems;
  4. Effectively communicate this knowledge and these skills using written and/or oral methods.

Off-Campus Study in Marine Geology

Students who are eligible can participate in our sponsored program with the Duke Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina (eligibility requires a 3.0 GPA and approval from the International Education Office). Students may receive credit for Geology minor requirements. Contact the Office of International Education in the Maytum Center for Student Success for more information on this program.


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