Courses

Effective August 2022, Geology @KSU is changing to Earth Sciences @KSU. 

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The following is the planned schedule of course offerings for the Department of Geology/Earth Sciences. Please note that some courses are offered in both the Fall and Spring, some courses are offered in the Fall or Spring only, and some are offered in alternating years. Special Topic (GEOL/ESCI 4/ 5/ 60095 ST:) course descriptions are available at the bottom of the page.

Geology Field CampPlease contact the department office, undergraduate advisors, graduate coordinator, or the course instructor for additional information regarding offered courses. This plan may change during the course of a semester. Check back here for changes.

Geology/Earth Sciences Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Geology/Earth Sciences Graduate Course Descriptions

2021-2022 Catalog Information

Check the Registrar's Schedule of Classes for current course schedules.

Geology Field Camp is offered every summer, during Summer Session I.

Basic Science Core Courses Offered Each Semester

  • GEOL/ESCI 11040 (3) How the Earth Works 100% web sections available
  • GEOL/ESCI 11041 (1) How the Earth Works Lab (pre or co-requisite: How the Earth Works) 
  • GEOL/ESCI 11042 (3) Earth and Life through Time (optional field trip) 100% web sections available
  • GEOL/ESCI 11043 (1) Earth and Life through Time Lab (pre or co-requisite: Earth and Life through Time) (optional field trip) 100% web sections available
  • GEOL/ESCI 21080 (3) All About the Oceans 100% web sections available
  • GEOL/ESCI 21062 (3) Environmental Earth Science 100% web sections available

Courses Offered Primarily for the Geology/Earth Sciences Major

  • ESCI 23063 (4) Earth Materials I (Fall at Kent Campus, Spring at Stark Campus)
  • ESCI 31080 (4) Structural Geology (Fall) (required field trip)
  • ESCI 34061 (4) Principles of Paleontology (Fall at Kent Campus, Spring at Stark Campus) 
  • ESCI 31070 (4) Earth Materials II (Spring at Kent Campus, Fall at Stark Campus) (required field trip)
  • ESCI 32066 (4) Geomorphology (Spring)
  • ESCI 44070 (4) Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (Spring) (required field trip)
  • ESCI 41092 (6) Summer Field Camp (Summer I)
  • ESCI 42030 (3) Remote Sensing (taught by Geology faculty in Fall)

Geology/Earth Sciences Upper Division and Graduate Course Offerings Plan

SPRING 2023 

  • ESCI 4/50095 (3) Earth's Energy Systems (Williams & Ortiz)
  • ESCI 50380 (3) Biogeochemistry (Tessin)
  • ESCI 4/52035 (3) Scientific Methods in Geology 
  • ESCI 4/51080 (3) Tectonics and Orogeny
  • ESCI 4/52065 (3) Watershed Hydrology
  • ESCI 4/53043 (3) Environmental Mineralogy
  • ESCI 60091 (1) Colloquium Seminar (repeatable)
  • ESCI 60091 (1) Writing in the Earth Sciences (not repeatable)
  • ESCI 60091 (1) Field Work and Competencies in the Environmental Sciences (not repeatable)

Special Topic and Seminar Course Descriptions

Seminar: Advances in Water Resources
Advances in Water Resources Seminar provides an avenue for discussion and presentation of fundamental scientific advances in the understanding of physical processes relevant to our Water Resources. Its scope includes readings from a combination of book excerpts and research papers to advance fundamental understanding of flow and transport processes in porous media. A specific emphasis will be laid on how geologic sediments interacts with the fluid dynamics inside pores and upscaling of related hydraulic and dispersive phenomenon. Aspects of geologic heterogeneity from pore-scale to field scale will be considered. How natural and anthropogenic forcing can be implemented as boundary conditions of geosystem models will be discussed. Students will have an ability to develop and hone their research skills while adding diversity to their research experiences. Instructor: K. Singh

ST: Climate Change Impacts on the Water Cycle 
This course will involve readings, discussion, and data analysis of climate change impacts on freshwater resources, particularly precipitation, snow, surface water and groundwater. The focus will be on on-going anthropogenic climate change, but we will also place our discussions in the paleoclimate context. We will read and discuss relevant sections of IPCC reports, US National Climate Assessment, and recent journal articles on the topic. We will also learn techniques for analyzing historical and projected hydroclimatic trends. A portion of the semester will be devoted to a small group or individual project aimed at determining the climate change signal (or not) in one a historical record for a specific geographic region. This course is designed for graduate students have previously taken or are currently enrolled in watershed or groundwater hydrology. Instructor: A. Jefferson.

ST: Computational Modeling in Geosystems 
Computational modeling offers a great advantage to study past to future evolution of various processes in earth's water systems, and test and predict 'what if' scenarios related to changing environmental conditions. Students will learn about how various geophysical phenomenon can be represented and studied using computational models, and thus, allow them to use computational methods in their research studies or preparation for graduate school. Course will cover principles and hands-on computational modeling exercises of physical, chemical and mechanical processes in surface and groundwater systems. Computational packages, e.g., Matlab and Comsol Multiphysics will be used to simulate multiscale processes which occur in various earth's environments. Instructor: K. Singh.

ST: Advanced Topics in Hydrology
This course is designed to give students flexibility to select hydrology topics relevant to them from a list of specialized online hydrology course modules. Modules are offered by leading faculty in these specialized research areas from across the country.  Students are expected to enroll in the Urban Hydrology module taught by Dr. Jefferson and then select two other modules from a choice of seven topics. Each module, which is equivalent to one-third of a semester course, is designed to facilitate interaction among the instructor and students and contain some evaluation elements (problem sets, projects, presentations, exams etc.). Students should have completed at least one hydrology or hydrogeology course and should discuss the availability and scheduling of modules with Dr. Jefferson before enrolling.

ST: Volcanology
Volcanic eruptions are one of the principal forces that affect and modify the Earth’s surface. This course provides an introduction to the dynamics that govern the generation of magmas, their transport through the crust, emplacement and evolution in shallow reservoirs, and ultimately their eruption to the surface. Study of the physical and chemical properties of magmas, eruptive mechanisms, volcanic products, and the relationship between volcanism and tectonism will be emphasized. Case studies of individual volcanic events illustrate principles of volcanology and show the diversity in character of volcanism and its deposits we see today and within the geologic record. Finally, volcanic processes on Earth are applied to extraterrestrial volcanism, resources, and society. Probable fieldtrip. Prereqs: Earth Materials II/Petrology. Instructor: D. Hacker

ST: Techniques and Instrumentation in Geology
This course is an “active learning” course where students will be exposed to statistics, analytical techniques, and instrumentation in the fields of Earth and Environmental sciences. In this class students will gain the necessary skillsets in interpreting geological specimens through experimental design using mass spectroscopy, statistics, and laboratory work. Instructor: J. Williams. 

ST: Fluvial Processes
Fluvial Processes is an investigation of how water and sediment move in rivers, how they interact to shape form and function of rivers, and how rivers adjust in response to their environmental controls. In this class, students use field techniques and data analysis to describe and quantify fluvial form and process in pursuit of answering original research questions. Students also read and interpret the scientific literature on fluvial geomorphology. Instructor: A. Jefferson.

ST: Tectonics and Sedimentation
The course will review how geological thinking developed concerning orogenesis and large tectonostratigraphic sequences leading up to modern plate tectonic theory (i.e., "geosynclinal theory"). It will then cover examples of major tectonostratigraphic sequences and facies patterns that are characteristic of typical tectonic settings, and some other aspects of basin analysis. It will include some student presentations. Instructor: N. Wells

ST: Urban Hydrology
In this course we will investigate the science and management of water in cities and built environments, through case studies and problem-based learning. We will investigate current issues with municipal water supplies, wastewater treatment, stormwater management, green infrastructure, and urban streams. The course will include readings, discussions, data analysis, and one or more field trips. Students from Geology and other departments are welcome to contribute to the interdisciplinary experience. For more information, contact: Dr. Anne Jefferson.

ST: Environmental Soil Science
Soil is a critical natural resource that sustains human life. In this course, students will explore the geochemical composition of soils and the physical, biological, and chemical processes involved in rock weathering, soil formation, and the environmental transport of nutrients and toxic elements. 

ST: Advanced Sedimentology
Fluid dynamics, grain transport, sedimentary structures, granulometry, bedform and facies sequences, and facies architecture. Interpretation of continental and marine classic depositional environments and processes. Prereqs: Sedimentology and Stratigraphy or Special Approval. Instructor: N. Wells.

ST: Paleomagnetism
This course explores how paleomagnetic and rock magnetic techniques can be applied to a range of problems in earth science, including: plate motions and paleogeography; deformational processes; the structure and age of the crust; reconstructing past depositional and environmental conditions; and the behaviour and evolution of the geomagnetic field. Emphasis will be placed on building a real-world understanding of theoretical concepts through data analysis and discussions of the current scientific literature. Instructor: C. Rowan.

ST: Vertebrate Paleontology
An in-depth exploration of the evolution and phylogeny of vertebrates through deep time, including investigations into paleobiology and comparative anatomy. Students will be able to understand the current synopsis of the vertebrate tree of live, including placing the major and minor clades and identifying the morphological synapomorphies of those clades. The course involves critically analyzing readings from the primary literature and practice applying current methods in evolutionary and paleobiological analysis. By the end of the class, students are able to synthesize their understanding of phylogeny and analytical techniques in vertebrate paleontology in a research project. 

ST: Geology and Human Health
Why is the presence of lead in drinking water a concern? What is so dangerous about asbestos? Why are some soils more beneficial than others? These and other questions are the focus of the course “Geology and Human Health”. Students will investigate and discuss the influence of natural earth materials and natural geologic processes on human health, highlighting both negative and positive influences. They will achieve this by researching the chemical or toxic nature of selected earth materials as well as studying the adverse health condition of naturally hazardous events. As not all earth materials cause harm, students will also study the beneficial impact of earth materials or processes and the role of mitigation and law to ensure safe conditions in the natural environment. Instructor: E. Taylor