Undergraduate Curriculum

The Geoscience curriculum provides a technical background in the field of Natural Resources.  Students may choose the traditional geology concentration, the environmental geology concentration, the geophysics concentration, or the hydrogeology concentration for their degree track.  All of the concentrations require courses from Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, and Statistics, as well as a balance of Liberal Arts courses.  Many Geoscience majors add courses in Engineering and Watershed Sciences to broaden their career opportunities.Emphasis is placed on integrating field studies in the Rocky Mountains with on-campus work in both the classroom and the laboratory.  A required Geology Summer Field Course (GEOL 436) provides a transition between academic studies and professional employment.  The course also serves as a capstone course that allows us to monitor and improve our curriculum to meet the changing needs of our students.

Photo of Geology students working in the field

Minor in Geology

The Geology minor is open to all majors at the university and is designed to provide a brief curriculum in Geology to enhance other majors.  This minor is used by students in a variety of disciplines including, Physics, Natural Resources Management areas and the Liberal Arts.  It is also one of the areas of concentration in the Physical Science Major offered by the College of Natural Sciences.

Undergraduate Course Offerings

Develops scientific understanding through introduction to earth processes, materials, resources, and hazards.
(AUCC 3A). Term offered: F, S, SS. Credit allowed for only one of the following: GEOL 120, GEOL 122, GEOL 124, GEOL 150.
Laboratory applications of introductory geology.
(AUCC 3A). Term offered: F, S, SS. Prerequisite: GEOL 120 or taken concurrently, or may be taken concurrently with GEOL 122, or may be taken concurrently with GEOL 124. Credit allowed for only one of the following:GEOL 120 and GEOL 121, GEOL 150.
Develops scientific understanding through introduction to geological processes, natural hazards, earth resources, and their impacts on society. Prerequisite: none.
(AUCC 3A). Term offered: F, S, SS. Credit allowed for only one of the following:  GEOL 150, GEOL 120, GEOL 122, GEOL 124.

GEOL 150 Physical Geology for Scientists and Engineers 
 – (4 credits) 

Earth Materials, structures, and surface processes. Geologic analysis using field data,topographic and geologic maps, and aerial photos. Term offered: F. Credit allowed for only one of the following: GEOL 120, GEOL 122, GEOL 124, or GEOL 150.

GEOL 154 Historical and Analytical Geology
 – (4 credits) 

Physical and biological history of Earth with introduction to laboratory, computer, and field techniques.
Term offered: S. Prerequisite: GEOL 120, GEOL 122, GEOL 124, or GEOL 150.

GEOL 232 Mineralogy
 – (3 credits)

Crystal structures, crystal chemistry, rock-forming and economically important minerals, crystal growth and defects, physical properties of minerals.
Term offered: F. Prerequisite: (CHEM 111, may be taken concurrently) and (GEOL 120 or GEOL 122 or GEOL 124 or GEOL 150) and (MATH 124 or MATH 155 or MATH 160 or MATH 161 or MATH 255).
Structure, flow, and composition of the deep Earth; introduction to geophysics; tests of plate tectonic theory.
Term offered: S. Prerequisite: (GEOL 120 or GEOL 122 or GEOL 124 or GEOL 150) and (MATH 124) and (MATH 125 or MATH 155 or MATH 160 or MATH 161 or MATH 255).

GEOL 332 Optical Mineralogy – (2 credits) 

Fundamental light optics in crystalline substances; optical indicatrix; isotropic, uniaxial, and biaxial substances; common minerals in thin section. Term offered: F. Prerequisite: GEOL 232, may be taken concurrently.

GEOL 342 Paleontology – (3 credits)

Description of invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants and their distribution in earth history. Term offered: F. Prerequisite: GEOL 154.

GEOL 344 Stratigraphy and Sedimentology
 – (4 credits) 

Description, genesis, correlation, and age of sediments, sedimentary rocks and layered rock sequences. Term offered: F. Prerequisite: GEOL 154 with a minimum grade of C-.

GEOL 364 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
 – (4 credits) 

Identification, classification, geochemistry, petrogenesis of igneous and metamorphic rocks; textural interpretation of hand samples and thin sections. Term offered: S. Prerequisite: GEOL 232 with a minimum grade of C-.

GEOL 366 Sedimentary Petrology and Geochemistry – (4 credits)

Composition, identification, and classification of sedimentary rocks; geochemical processes affecting sedimentary rocks and surficial deposits. Term offered: F. Prerequisite: CHEM 113 and GEOL 154 and GEOL 364.
Stress and strain in rocks, geometry of deformed rocks, and tectonic principles. Term offered: S. Prerequisites: (GEOL 154 and PH 141, may be taken concurrently) and (MATH 125 or MATH 155 or MATH 160 or MATH 161 or MATH 255).
Scientific, surveying, and mapping methods used in geologic field studies; proposal, map, and report preparation. Term offered: S. Prerequisite: GEOL 344 and GEOL 372, may be taken concurrently.

GEOL
 401 Geology of the Rocky Mountain Region – (1 credit)
Field course, geology of the local Rocky Mountain region. Term offered: F. Prerequisite: GEOL 154.

GEOL 424 Modern Gas and Oil (also offered as CIVE 424) – (3 credits)

Introduction to opportunities and challenges of modern oil development, including synergies with other energy sources. Term offered: S. Prerequisite: Junior standing or above; completion of AUCC category 3A.

GEOL 436 Geology Summer Field Course
 – (6 credits)

Geologic mapping, measuring sections, interpreting geologic history in Colorado. Required comprehensive reports, geologic maps, and cross sections. Term offered: SS. Prerequisites: GEOL 364 and GEOL 376.
Geophysical exploration methods emphasizing hydrocarbon and mineral exploration, hydrogeology, and engineering applications.
Term offered: F. Prerequisites: GEOL 372 and MATH 161 and PH 142.
Geology applied to environmental problems.
Term offered: S. Prerequisites: (GEOL 120, may be taken concurrently or GEOL 122 or GEOL 124 or GEOL 150) and (PH 141 and CHEM 111).

GEOL 447 Mineral Deposits
 – (3 credits)

Occurrence, origin, and exploration of economic metallic mineral deposits.
Term offered: F. Prerequisites: GEOL 366, may be taken concurrently and GEOL 372.

GEOL 452 Hydrogeology
– (4 credits)
Interaction of water and geologic materials; surface and groundwater; quantitative analysis and geologic effects on quality and flow of groundwater.
Term offered: F. Prerequisite: (GEOL 120 or GEOL 122 or GEOL 124 or GEOL 150 or GR 210) and (MATH 161 or MATH 255) and (PH 141).

GEOL 454 Geomorphology 
– (4 credits)

Origin of landforms; morphology and processes.
Term offered: S. Prerequisites: (GEOL 120 or GEOL 122 or GEOL 150 or GR 210) and (STAT 301 or STAT 307 or STAT 315).