Geology and Environmental Geosciences (GEOL)

Geology is the natural science that involves the nature and history of Earth, including scientific analysis of environmental problems. The Bucknell geology curriculum engages students with concepts and issues related to Earth and its environments through coursework, field studies, and scientific research. A geology degree equips students with analytical skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, experience in teamwork, and solid grounding in field-based science. Geology includes diverse subdisciplines ranging from geologic hazards and geochemistry to hydrogeology and engineering geology. At an introductory level, geology coursework provides students with basic knowledge of Earth and its systems and how that knowledge can provide an understanding of potential solutions to environmental problems. Knowledge of Earth, its processes, hazards, history, resources, and limitations can be an important component of a liberal arts education and also can provide a foundation for advanced work in the discipline.

An undergraduate degree provides the foundation needed for employment or graduate degree specialization. In addition to gaining acceptance to some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the country, recent graduates have secured employment in environmental or engineering consulting firms, governmental agencies, oil and gas companies, and educational institutions. Students also have used our courses toward certification as teachers in Earth and space sciences.

At Bucknell University, students can major in either environmental geoscience or geology, and each of these is available in both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree programs. These four tracks are united in having a common core of six geology courses:

GEOL 203Physical/Environmental Geology1
GEOL 204Evolution of the Earth1
GEOL 304Crystallography-Mineralogy1
GEOL 309Sedimentology and Stratigraphy1
GEOL 314Structural Geology1
GEOL 316Geomorphology1

A Bachelor of Science track is appropriate for students who have decided to begin a career in geoscience or pursue a graduate degree in a geologic/environmental profession. Students who elect a Bachelor of Arts track have greater curricular flexibility, allowing for a second major or minor. Recent Bachelor of Arts graduates have attended graduate school or secured employment in geoscience, environmental science, environmental law or policy, education, business, medicine, and science writing.

Bachelor of Arts Major in Geology

Consists of eight geology courses and two additional courses.

Core Courses
Program Requirements
GEOL 203Physical/Environmental Geology1
GEOL 204Evolution of the Earth1
GEOL 304Crystallography-Mineralogy1
GEOL 309Sedimentology and Stratigraphy1
GEOL 314Structural Geology1
GEOL 316Geomorphology1
Two courses at the 300-level or above with the exception of GEOL 319 and GEOL 3202
MATH 201Calculus I1
or MATH 216 Statistics I
PHYS 211Classical and Modern Physics1
or CHEM 201 General Chemistry

Students are encouraged to take a summer field course in geology, to elect additional courses in science and mathematics, and to participate in independent study research opportunities through GEOL 319 Undergraduate Research and/or GEOL 320 Undergraduate Research.

Bachelor of Science Major in Geology

Requires 10 geology courses and five to six additional science/math courses:

Core Courses
Program Requirements
GEOL 203Physical/Environmental Geology1
GEOL 204Evolution of the Earth1
GEOL 304Crystallography-Mineralogy1
GEOL 309Sedimentology and Stratigraphy1
GEOL 314Structural Geology1
GEOL 316Geomorphology1
GEOL 340Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology1
Select three of the following:3
Paleontology
GEOL 321Special Topics in Geology
or GEOL 322 Special Topics in Geology
Introduction to Geochemistry
Geophysics
Hydrogeology
Applied Environmental Geomorphology
A supervised research experience approved by the department.
MATH 201
  & MATH 202
Calculus I
   and Calculus II
2
MATH 211Calculus III1
or MATH 216 Statistics I
PHYS 211Classical and Modern Physics1
Chemistry requirement 11-2
A summer course in field geology is recommended.
1

CHEM 201 General Chemistry and CHEM 202 General Chemistry or CHEM 211 Organic Chemistry I and CHEM 212 Organic Chemistry II or CHEM 221 Inorganic Chemistry I

Below is the recommended sequence for the Bachelor of Science major.

First Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
MATH 2011MATH 2021
GEOL 20321GEOL 2041
 2 2
Sophomore
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
CHEM 201, 202, or 2211MATH 211 or 2161
GEOL 3041GEOL 3401
GEOL 3161 
 3 2
Junior
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
PHYS 2111GEOL 3091
Elective in geology3  
GEOL 3141 
 2 1
Senior
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Elective in geology3 Elective in geology3 
 0 0
Total Credits: 12
2

GEOL 250 Geology for Engineers may be substituted for GEOL 203 Physical/Environmental Geology by consultation with the department.

3

Three courses chosen from GEOL 305 Introduction to Geochemistry, GEOL 317 Paleontology, GEOL 334 Geophysics, GEOL 321 Special Topics in Geology or GEOL 322 Special Topics in Geology and GEOL 336 Hydrogeology.

Bachelor of Arts Major in Environmental Geosciences

The Bachelor of Arts major in environmental geosciences consists of eight courses and two additional courses:

Core Courses
GEOL 203Physical/Environmental Geology1
GEOL 204Evolution of the Earth1
GEOL 304Crystallography-Mineralogy1
GEOL 309Sedimentology and Stratigraphy1
GEOL 314Structural Geology1
GEOL 316Geomorphology1
GEOL 305Introduction to Geochemistry1
Select one of the following:1
Geophysics
Hydrogeology
Applied Environmental Geomorphology
Additional requirements for the major include:
MATH 201Calculus I1
or MATH 216 Statistics I
PHYS 211Classical and Modern Physics1
or CHEM 201 General Chemistry

Students are encouraged to take a summer field geology course, a course in statistics, and to participate in independent study research opportunities through GEOL 319 Undergraduate Research and GEOL 320 Undergraduate Research.

Electives are recommended in science and mathematics, as well as from other departments offering environmental sciences and engineering courses.

Bachelor of Science Major in Environmental Geosciences

The Bachelor of Science major in environmental geosciences requires 10 geology courses and six additional science/math courses:

Core Courses
GEOL 203Physical/Environmental Geology1
GEOL 204Evolution of the Earth1
GEOL 304Crystallography-Mineralogy1
GEOL 309Sedimentology and Stratigraphy1
GEOL 314Structural Geology1
GEOL 316Geomorphology1
Program Requirements
GEOL 305Introduction to Geochemistry1
GEOL 334Geophysics1
GEOL 336Hydrogeology1
One approved 300-level or above geology course from the list published by the department1
A supervised research experience approved by the department
Additional requirements for the major include:
MATH 201
  & MATH 202
Calculus I
   and Calculus II
2
MATH 211Calculus III1
or MATH 216 Statistics I
PHYS 211Classical and Modern Physics1
Two courses from approved list of courses from either biology, chemistry, or civil engineering: 42
OPTION 1: Select two courses in biology:2
BIOL 208Principles of Ecology and Evolution1
BIOL 334Limnology1
BIOL 341Organic Evolution1
BIOL 351Field Botany1
BIOL 353Ecosystem Ecology1
BIOL 358Invertebrate Zoology1
BIOL 359General Entomology1
OPTION 2: Select two courses in chemistry (or one if selecting CHEM 221):3-4
General Chemistry
   and General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry I
   and Organic Chemistry II
Inorganic Chemistry I (with approval of the adviser)
OPTION 3: Select two courses in engineering:2
Environmental Engineering
Water Resources Engineering
Geotechnical Engineering I
Hydrology
Groundwater
Hazardous Waste Management
Environmental Geotechnology
Civil Engineering Fluid Mechanics
Solid Mechanics I
Additional recommended courses:
Environmental policy course (e.g. ENST 211, ENST 221, ENST 245, ENST 260)
A summer course in field geology is strongly recommended
Additional courses in statistics and advanced mathematics
4

Additional courses from biology, chemistry, or civil engineering may be substituted with the approval of the department.

The recommended sequence for the Bachelor of Science major in environmental geology is as follows. (The sequence may be altered in consultation with adviser.)

First Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
MATH 2011MATH 2021
GEOL 20351GEOL 2041
 2 2
Sophomore
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
GEOL 3141GEOL 3051
GEOL 3161GEOL 3091
 2 2
Junior
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
PHYS 2111Science/engineering elective (see Electives table below) 
GEOL 3041GEOL 3361
Science/engineering elective (see Electives table below)  
 2 1
Senior
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Elective in geology6 Elective in geology6 
 0 0
Total Credits: 11
5

GEOL 250 Geology for Engineers may be substituted for GEOL 203 Physical/Environmental Geology by consultation with the department

6

Three courses chosen from GEOL 305 Introduction to Geochemistry, GEOL 317 Paleontology, GEOL 334 Geophysics, GEOL 321 Special Topics in Geology or GEOL 322 Special Topics in Geology, GEOL 336 Hydrogeology.

Electives

Science Electives
BIOL 208Principles of Ecology and Evolution1
BIOL 334Limnology1
BIOL 341Organic Evolution1
BIOL 351Field Botany1
BIOL 353Ecosystem Ecology1
BIOL 358Invertebrate Zoology1
BIOL 359General Entomology1
Engineering Electives
CENG 240Environmental Engineering1
CENG 320Water Resources Engineering1
CENG 350Geotechnical Engineering I1
CENG 421Hydrology1
CENG 425Groundwater1
CENG 444Hazardous Waste Management1
CENG 451Environmental Geotechnology1
ENGR 222Civil Engineering Fluid Mechanics1
ENGR 229Solid Mechanics I1
CHEM 211
  & CHEM 212
Organic Chemistry I
   and Organic Chemistry II
2

Independent supervised research experiences are strongly encouraged by the department and research opportunities are available through GEOL 319 Undergraduate Research or GEOL 320 Undergraduate Research.

The department encourages majors who are completing independent research experiences and who meet requirements to become candidates for Honors in geology.

The department attempts to make it possible for students to enroll in study abroad programs. At times this involves changing sequences of recommended courses. Consultation with major adviser is essential.

Speaking Within the Major

Within the discipline of geology, we seek to develop formal presentation skills oriented toward presenting scientific data and interpretations at an appropriate level for a college graduate seeking professional employment or advanced learning at graduate school.

This requirement is met by all BS and BA geology majors through the successful completion of the following required coursework:

GEOL 304Crystallography-Mineralogy1
GEOL 309Sedimentology and Stratigraphy1
GEOL 316Geomorphology1
BS students will also meet this requirement through the successful completion of the required research experience.

Non-required courses that also meet this outcome:

GEOL 321Special Topics in Geology1
GEOL 322Special Topics in Geology.5-1
GEOL 334Geophysics1
GEOL 336Hydrogeology1
GEOL 338Applied Environmental Geomorphology1

Information Literacy Within the Major

Information literacy within the discipline of geology will introduce all majors to appropriate databases and resources in order to locate appropriate scientific references including journals, serials, books, theses, geological maps, state and government publications, and conference proceedings and other relevant information sources. Students will critically evaluate these works and learn to interpret basic figures and plots within the larger context of the geology curriculum. Students will integrate and summarize information from multiple resources for assignments that incorporate either written work, oral presentation or GIS-based exercises.

This requirement is met by all BS and BA geology majors through the successful completion of the following required coursework:

GEOL 314Structural Geology1
GEOL 317Paleontology1
BS students will also meet this requirement through the successful completion of the required research experience.

Non-required courses that meet this requirement for BA students include:

GEOL 321Special Topics in Geology1
GEOL 322Special Topics in Geology.5-1

Writing Within the Major

Writing within the context of the geology curriculum emphasizes background reading, organization, content and mechanics of writing, with a goal of integrating and summarizing information from multiple resources and conveying scientific data and interpretations using figures and text.

This requirement is met by all BS and BA geology majors through the successful completion of the following required coursework:

GEOL 309Sedimentology and Stratigraphy1
BS students will also meet this requirement through the successful completion of the required Supervised Research Experience (described below).

Non-required courses that meet this requirement for the BA include:

GEOL 321Special Topics in Geology1
GEOL 322Special Topics in Geology.5-1
GEOL 338Applied Environmental Geomorphology1

Culminating Experience Within the Major

BS students satisfy the Culminating Experience within the major by completing the Supervised Research Experience (described below).

The Culminating Experience for BA students is designed to provide more flexibility to allow for students on a non-professional track to better tailor this experience to their broad interests. All BA geology majors will meet the Culminating Experience through one of three options:

  • Successful completion of the Supervised Research Experience.

  • Successful completion of a summer field course, subject to approval by the department.

  • Successful completion of an internship, subject to approval by the department.

During their junior year, students submit a written proposal to the department summarizing a work plan for satisfying the Culminating Experience. The faculty vet proposals and set criteria for successful completion. A grade of C- or above is typically expected for successful completion of summer field camp. A positive support letter from the primary supervisor is typically expected for successful completion of an internship.

Supervised Research Experience

To satisfy the Supervised Research Experience, students plan and execute a research project supervised by a faculty member during their junior or senior year. All BS majors must complete this requirement for their Culminating Experience. BA majors may elect to complete this requirement for their Culminating Experience. Students consult with a faculty research adviser to develop a written proposal summarizing the research objective, work plan and significance. The proposal is then vetted by the department faculty. Research projects are one-semester minimum duration during the academic year or eight weeks minimum duration during the summer. Research may be conducted off-campus under the supervision of an off-campus co-adviser. If the research takes place during the academic year, students must successfully complete GEOL 319 Undergraduate Research and/or GEOL 320 Undergraduate Research (0.5 credit course for supervised independent research). Results are presented orally to the department and archived in a written thesis, manuscript, or scientific report following guidelines approved by the department.

Students may choose from three minors in the area of geology:

Geology Minor

Requires four or five courses.

GEOL 203Physical/Environmental Geology1
or GEOL 250 Geology for Engineers
GEOL 204Evolution of the Earth1
Select two 300-level geology courses except: GEOL 319, GEOL 3202

Engineering Geology Minor

Requires four courses.

GEOL 250Geology for Engineers1
GEOL 314Structural Geology1
Select two 300-level geology courses except: GEOL 319, GEOL 320, GEOL 3402

Environmental Geology Minor

Requires four courses.

Select one of the following:1
GEOL 203Physical/Environmental Geology1
GEOL 250Geology for Engineers1
Select three of the following:3
GEOL 305Introduction to Geochemistry1
GEOL 316Geomorphology1
GEOL 334Geophysics1
GEOL 336Hydrogeology1
GEOL 338Applied Environmental Geomorphology1

Independent supervised research experiences are strongly encouraged by the department, and research opportunities are available through GEOL 319 Undergraduate Research and GEOL 320 Undergraduate Research.

The department encourages majors who are completing independent research experiences and who meet requirements to become candidates for Honors in geology.

The department attempts to make it possible for students to enroll in study abroad programs. At times this involves changing sequences of recommended courses. Consultation with major adviser is essential.

Courses

GEOL 107. Global Change - Past and Present. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Introduction to major transformations of the physical, biological, and chemical components of Earth systems from a geological perspective including climate, tectonics, biodiversity, sea-level, and ocean circulation. Not open to students who have taken GEOL 204. Preference given to first-years and sophomores.

GEOL 108. When Rocks Attack. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Students explore popular depictions of natural disasters to assess their geologic plausibility. Not open to students who have taken GEOL 117 or GEOL 203 or GEOL 250. Preference given to first-years and sophomores.

GEOL 109. Energy and Natural Resources. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
This class examines the origin, development, and use of natural resources for energy production with an emphasis on petroleum, natural gas, and nuclear energy and their impact on the environment. Not open to students who have taken GEOL 117, GEOL 203, or GEOL 250. Only open to first-years and sophomores.

GEOL 117. Environmental Geohazards. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Geologic environmental hazards. Emphasis on hazards recognition and assessment in seminars, and field applications. Topics include: soils, slopes, floods, fans, earthquakes, land use, coastal, and groundwater hazards. Preference given to first-years and sophomores. Not open to Geology majors, except by permission of instructor, or students who have taken GEOL 108 or GEOL 316.

GEOL 203. Physical/Environmental Geology. 1 Credit.

Offered Both Fall and Spring; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
Introduction to Earth's dynamic systems, processes that operate within plate tectonics making Earth a unique planet, and human interaction with Earth. Geologic factors and limitations that affect use or management of the environment. Not open to students who have taken GEOL 250. Prerequisite: first- or second-year status, others by permission. Preference given to Geology majors.

GEOL 204. Evolution of the Earth. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
Introduction to the evolution of life, climate, plate tectonics, and catastrophes through time provides perspective for making decisions about ongoing and future environmental change. Preference given to first-years and sophomores.

GEOL 230. Environmental GIS. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:4
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in geologic mapping, environmental monitoring, and hydrologic modeling. Introduction to global positioning,(GPS), environmental databases, spatial analyses, and terrain modeling. modeling.

GEOL 250. Geology for Engineers. 1 Credit.

Offered Spring Semester Only; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
Basic principles, including properties of rocks and soils, hydrology, surface processes, rock mechanics, environmental parameters, geological hazards, and engineering case histories. Not open to students who have taken GEOL 203. GEOL 250 is restricted to first and second year civil and environmental engineering students and others by permission.

GEOL 298. Stream Restoration. 1 Credit.

Offered Alternate Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3,Other:4; Repeatable
Scientific principles to integrate physical and biological approaches to stream restoration in watershed management. Team-taught field course highlights developing restoration plan for Bucknell's Miller Run. Crosslisted as ENST 298.

GEOL 299. Watershed Systems Science. 1 Credit.

Offered Alternate Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3,Other:4; Repeatable
Watersheds regulate water flow and ecosystem health on our landscape. Team-taught field course integrating physical, chemical, and biological processes in watersheds, using the Susquehanna and tributaries. Crosslisted as ENST 299.

GEOL 304. Crystallography-Mineralogy. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3,Other:3
Principles of crystallography and mineralogy; crystal morphology, structure, chemistry, physical properties, genesis, occurrence, and identification of important minerals by various techniques including x-ray diffraction. Prerequisite: GEOL 203 or GEOL 250 or permission of the instructor.

GEOL 305. Introduction to Geochemistry. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
Element distribution, basic thermodynamics and kinetics, mineral and gas solubility, phase diagrams, stable and radioactive isotopes, oxidation-reduction processes, surface geochemistry, composition of natural water. Prerequisite: MATH 201, CHEM 201 - CHEM 202, or permission of the instructor.

GEOL 309. Sedimentology and Stratigraphy. 1 Credit.

Offered Spring Semester Only; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
Principles and techniques of the study of depositional processes and environments. Emphasis on semester-long sedimentary basin analysis project including analysis of Paleozoic outcrops near campus. Prerequisite: GEOL 204.

GEOL 314. Structural Geology. 1 Credit.

Offered Fall Semester Only; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
Orientation and geometric analyses of rock structures, kinematics and mechanics of rock deformation at all scales. Prerequisite: GEOL 203 or GEOL 250 or permission of the instructor.

GEOL 316. Geomorphology. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
Physical processes shaping the Earth's surface and evolution of resulting landforms. Emphasis on linkages between landscape components and understanding complex relationships between process and form. Prerequisite: GEOL 203 or GEOL 250 or permission of the instructor.

GEOL 317. Paleontology. 1 Credit.

Offered Alternate Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
Principles of evolution and ecology applied to investigation of ancient life. Emphasis on analysis of field collections of marine invertebrate fossils from Paleozoic outcrops near campus. Prerequisite: GEOL 204 or permission of the instructor.

GEOL 318. Undergraduate Research. .5-1 Credits.

Offered Summer Session Only; Lecture hours:Varies; Repeatable
Research course for qualified students in any branch of geology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

GEOL 319. Undergraduate Research. .5-1 Credits.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:Varies; Repeatable
Research course for qualified students in any branch of geology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

GEOL 320. Undergraduate Research. .5-1 Credits.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:Varies; Repeatable
Research course for qualified students in any branch of geology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

GEOL 321. Special Topics in Geology. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3; Repeatable
Investigation, report, or discussion on currently significant topics in geology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

GEOL 322. Special Topics in Geology. .5-1 Credits.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:Varies; Repeatable
Investigation, report, or discussion on currently significant topics in geology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

GEOL 325. Independent Study. .5-1 Credits.

Offered Both Fall and Spring; Lecture hours:Varies,Other:Varies; Repeatable
Independent study course for qualified students in any branch of geology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

GEOL 326. Independent Study. .5-1 Credits.

Offered Both Fall and Spring; Lecture hours:Varies,Other:Varies; Repeatable
Independent study course for qualified students in any branch of geology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

GEOL 334. Geophysics. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3,Other:3
Introduction to geophysical principles and methods(seismic, gravity, magnetic, electrical, electromagnetic and GPR) applied to both near-surface and solid earth studies. Emphasis placed on active learning by hands-on geophysical data collection focused on environmental and engineering applications. Prerequisites: One 200-level geology course and MATH 201 and permission of the instructor. Introductory physics recommended.

GEOL 336. Hydrogeology. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
Water properties, fundamental flow equations, surface and subsurface flow, well hydraulics, regional flow, and contamination. Prerequisites: Any one of the following: GEOL 203 or GEOL 250 and MATH 192, MATH 201 and permission of the instructor.

GEOL 338. Applied Environmental Geomorphology. 1 Credit.

Offered Alternating Spring Semester; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
Surviving on a complex and dynamic earth surface. Understanding environmental problems and geologic hazards with geologic principles set in a multidisciplinary framework. Prerequisites: GEOL 316 and permission of the instructor.

GEOL 340. Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology. 1 Credit.

Offered Spring Semester Only; Lecture hours:3,Other:4
This class examines the mineralogy, petrography, geochemistry, origin and tectonic significance of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Prerequisite: GEOL 304.

Faculty

Professors: Christopher G. Daniel (Chair), Carl S. Kirby, R. Craig Kochel, Jeffrey M. Trop

Associate Professors: Mary Beth Gray, Ellen K. Herman

Assistant Professor: Robert Jacob

Visiting Assistant Professors: Andrew P. Fornadel, Michael Meyer

Laboratory Director: Brad C. Jordan