The Department of Geology is committed to a mission which integrates teaching, the advancement of knowledge, and public service.
The mission includes both the education of specialists and the general education of students who will become the decision makers in society. To accomplish this, the Department has developed a strong, modern, professional program for its majors and a series of courses which broaden the human experience for non-majors. A core curriculum of basic courses for the majors is supplemented by a wide range of specialty courses emphasizing applied geology. The Department also serves a large number of students through the general education requirements and through providing courses ancillary to other degree programs. These courses develop in the student the understanding of the scientific method and provide examples of geological problems and their solutions to prepare the students to be informed citizens. Faculty members are expected to remain current in their areas of expertise, to attempt to anticipate future societal needs from the geologic standpoint, and to assure that the graduate and undergraduate programs are responsive to these needs. See our Geology Departmental Handbook (.pdf) or Geology Faculty Handbook Online for official policies and procedures.
To assure attainment of the educational mission, faculty members are actively engaged in the advancement of knowledge through research. The graduate program is an integral part of this research effort and every attempt is made to provide an atmosphere which stimulates the research growth of faculty and students. The results of these efforts are disseminated regularly by oral presentations at professional meetings and by publication in journals.
Faculty and students of the Department of Geology provide continuing public service through speaking engagements, the dissemination of technical advice and information, and membership activities in various civic and professional organizations. This service aspect is a direct function of the strong research and graduate programs in the Department of Geology.
The Department of Geology offers a comprehensive course of study leading to B.A., B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. The primary undergraduate degree is the B.S., intended for students aspiring to careers as professional geologists. The B.A. degree is available for those who have an interest in geology but do not plan a geological career. A special B.A. degree in Earth Science as well as a comparable program in the College of Education prepares students planning to teach earth science in secondary schools.
The M.S. and Ph.D. are advanced degrees for professional geologists. In the graduate programs, strong emphasis is placed on research designed not only to advance the understanding of the geological sciences, but also to solve societal problems. Because problems having geological solutions, such as water resource management, energy and minerals exploration, hazardous waste disposal, site evacuation, and environmental pollution are currently major forces in the affairs of society, the educational and research efforts of the Department are being focused in these areas.