Undergraduate Courses

The Department of Geosciences offers a robust curriculum focused on many aspects of the geosciences. Many courses include both a lecture and laboratory component, and most 3000 and 4000 level courses require field trips as part of the class. Most courses above the 1000 level require prerequisite courses and/or consent of the instructor or department chair. For more information about course requirements of the degrees offered by the Department of Geosciences, please visit the Undergraduate page on our website. For more information about the courses below, including required prerequisites, see Baylor University’s Undergraduate Catalog.   

1401 Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters Survey of the natural disasters afflicting mankind. The course examines the causes and impact upon society of earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, subsidence, and floods. Weekly laboratory. Students taking GEO 1401 cannot receive credit for GEO 1403 or GEO 1405.

1402 World Oceans Introduction to oceanography emphasizing human interaction with the oceans: ocean resources, global environmental ethics, and conflicts resulting from ocean exploitation. One Saturday field trip required.

1405 The Dynamic Earth Survey of processes that have shaped the earth, including mountain building, volcanism, deposition of sediments, and landscape development. Plate tectonics integrates all the above into a dynamic theory of the deformation of the earth. Weekly laboratory. Students taking GEO 1405 cannot receive credit for Geo. 1401 or Geo. 1403.   

1406 Earth Through Time The history of the earth and its inhabitants with emphasis on the processes and principles by which this history is determined. Field trips, including one Saturday, required

1V90 Special Problems 1 to 3 sem. hrs. The current understanding of the earth as studied in a lab setting through group experimentation and projects. May be repeated with a change in content or topic.   

3312 Geography of North America Regional analysis of physical economic, and cultural phenomena in the United States and Canada with emphasis on Texas.

3313 Regional Geology A survey of regional stratigraphic, structural, physiographic, petrographic, and mineralogic provinces of the United States. Extensive library research is required.   

3319 Geophysics Introduction to the study of the earth by quantitative physical methods, especially by seismic reflection and refraction, gravity, magnetic, electrical, and radiation methods.   

3325 Earth Materials A study of mineral and rock groups, their composition, properties, occurrence, and identification. Field trips and laboratory exercises included. Rock, mineral, and fossil collections are required.   

3329 Aqueous Geochemistry An introduction to the processes that control the chemical composition of surface and groundwater. Emphasis on the differentiation between natural geochemical processes and human perturbations of the environment.   

3341 Marine Field Studies (Cross-listed as BIO 3341) Field examination of modern marine environments, including coral reefs, lagoons, deltas, and beaches. Individual research projects emphasize geology or biology of coral reefs. Offered during summer session.  

3344 Sedimentary Field Studies Field study of modern sediments and ancient sedimentary rocks. Physical and biological features of modern sedimentary environments are examined to provide the basis for interpreting ancient environments in the rock record. Offered during summer session.

3349 Hydrologic Processes Theory and principles of hydrology and hydrogeology focusing on the physical processes: the hydrologic cycle, definitions, equations, streams, flooding, erosion, sedimentation and transport, aquifers, groundwater flow and well hydraulics. One or more local field trips required.   

3365 Applied Petroleum Geoscience Basic and intermediate concepts related to hydrocarbon origin, migration and accumulation. Review of the design and application of standard analytical techniques and technologies used in hydrocarbon exploration and production.   

3427 Mineralogy Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic rocks in hand specimen; crystallography and systematic mineralogy. Occasional field trips.   

3430 Petrology Origin and evolution of Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic rocks. Includes optical mineralogy of principal rock-forming minerals and thin section study of rocks. Required field trip.   

3435 Invertebrate Paleontology (Cross-listed as BIO 3435) Introduction to taxonomy, morphology, evolution, paleoecology and stratigraphic aspects of invertebrate fossils. Emphasis on biostratigraphic and time-stratigraphic concepts, evolutionary trends, speciation, biometrics, facies, faunas, zonation, and correlation. Independent field and lab problems.

3442 Field Stratigraphy-Sedimentology Study of sediments and sedimentary rocks in the field. The interpretation of geologic history, based on outcrop investigation. Includes numerous written and oral reports, weekly field trips, and occasional weekend field trips. Recommended for junior year.   

3445 Structural Geology The structures of the earth's crust; their classification, origin, and economic aspects; methods of discovery of structures; solution of structural problems; elementary field methods. Two field trips are required.

4300 Senior Thesis Requires a GPA of 3.25 overall or 3.5 in Geology and consent of the instructor. Independent research problem. Result will be submitted in proper thesis format with an oral defense.   

4301 Senior Colloquium Requires Senior level standing. Readings and presentations that emphasize integration of major core courses in the major.   

4302 Mentored Research Experience Requires consent of instructor and Senior level standing. Research in laboratory or field with faculty or graduate student under direction of faculty. Requires a written report to faculty mentor.   

4303 Internship Requires consent of instructor and Senior level standing. Supervised work experience in a geology-related position with an outside agency or company. This course will allow undergraduates the chance to experience work in an area of their career interest.   

4312 Oceanography Physical, chemical, biological, and geological aspects of the oceans with special emphasis on the direct and indirect relationships of humans to the oceans. Such topics as mining the sea and its floor, farming the seas, and influence of the oceans on weather are included. Field trips and laboratory exercises. May not be taken for credit if GEO 1402 has been taken.   

4313 Astronomy A brief history of astronomy developments followed by a survey of the dimensions, motions, and interrelationships of bodies in our solar system. Additional emphasis is given to galaxies, stellar evolution, and cosmology.

4314 Meteorology Composition of the atmosphere, atmospheric processes, weather disturbances, and climate elements and controls. Emphasis is placed on climate classification and measurements of human inputs into the atmosphere.   

4322 Global Biogeochemical Cycles The chemistry of the earth’s surface. Emphasis on the dynamic chemical and biological reactions on land, in the oceans, and in the atmosphere and their influence upon the global budgets and cycling of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. Includes field trips.

4325 Economic Mineral Deposits Non-hydrocarbon economic mineral deposits. Origin and migration of ore-bearing fluids; mineralogy and geometry of ore bodies; relations of ore deposits to magnetism and tectonics. Field trip to Central Texas mining district.   

4328 Sedimentary Petrology Microscopic and field characteristics of sedimentary rocks. Emphasis on interpretation of depositional and diagenetic environments and relationships between geometry of rock bodies and sedimentary processes.   

4331 Evolutionary History of Plants The evolutionary history of plants as studied through the fossil record, including preservation, plant morphology and anatomy, and techniques used to reconstruct paleoenvironment and paleoecology. Weekly labs, with one weekend field trip.   

4332 Science Leadership: Community Environmental Research (Cross-listed as ENV 4332) Development of science leadership skills through community-based research on environmental problems.

4335 Volcanology Analysis of volcanic ejecta. Mechanisms of lava and pyroclastic eruptions. Geomorphological analysis of volcanic land forms. History of vulcanological studies and case studies of well-known volcanoes. Field trips.   

4336 Analytical Techniques in Geochemistry Principles and practice of X-ray fluorescence and electron probe analysis of geologic materials. Includes extensive laboratory work.

4337 Paleoecology Relationship of fossil plants and animals to their physical and biological environment. Examination of principles of paleosynecology and paleoautecology; data gathering, analysis, and techniques of interpretation.

4339 Advanced Marine Field Studies (Cross-listed as BIO 4339) Continuation of GEO 3341/5333. Field examination of marine environments. Individual research projects emphasize biology and geology of carbonate depositional regimes.   

4340 Geomorphology Development and modification of land-surface forms by atmospheric, fluvial, glacial, masswasting, volcanic, and tectonic agents. Emphasis is placed on the spatial aspects of landscape evolution.   

4341 Introduction to Hydrology Basic applied techniques in surface and ground water hydrology. Surface water hydrology will incorporate analysis of precipitation records, runoff processes, and calculation of flood hazard. Ground water hydrology will emphasize hydrogeology techniques, including simple models of ground water movement.   

4345 Water Management (Cross-listed as ENV 4345) Interdisciplinary field of water management. Scientific, technical, institutional, economic, legal, and political aspects of water management.

4346 Hydrogeology Hydrogeology (ground water hydrology) for geologists and engineers. Topics to be covered include evaporation and precipitation, soil moisture, principles of ground water flow, regional ground water flow, geology of ground water occurrence, flow to wells, ground water chemistry, and ground water development and management.

4348 Geoarchaeology (Cross-listed as ANT 4348) Concepts and methods of the geosciences applied to solving archaeological problems. Emphasis on stratigraphy, soils, climate, dating techniques, site formation, and site preservation related to both New World and Old-World archaeology.   

4361 Petroleum Geoscience Concepts Geologic controls on the formation and accumulation of oil and gas, including concepts, equipment, data types and analytical procedures used in exploration and production.

4371 Wetlands (Cross-listed as ENV 4371) Theory and application of the wetland concepts: classification, hydrology, biochemistry, soils, vegetation, construction, regulation, and delineation. Field lab.   

4373 Global Soil Systems (Cross-listed as ENV 4374) Fundamentals of soil genesis, classification, geomorphology, ecosystems, and environmental interpretation. Includes the role of soil biogeochemical cycles in past, current, and future global change issues. Field lab.   

4375 Natural Landscape Evaluation and Planning (Cross-listed as ENV 4375) Recognition of natural features that affect human uses. Evaluation of natural landscapes on a scale from complete preservation to full development. Experience in urban landscapes. Includes one or more Saturday field trips.

4386 Remote Sensing (Cross-listed as AVS 4386, BIO 4386, ENV 4386) Physical mechanisms of surface and atmospheric materials absorption, transmittance, reflection, and emittance of light measured by various remote sensing platforms. Survey various applications related to earth science, ecology, meteorology, and environmental science.   

4389 Quaternary Geology An examination through morphologic, stratigraphic, and biogeochemical proxy data of the nature of earth environments, focusing on the three most important components: Quaternary stratigraphies, Quaternary chronologies, and Quaternary environmental proxies and their interpretation.

4430 Vertebrate Paleontology (Cross-listed as BIO 4430) Evolutionary history and biogeography of vertebrate animals, based primarily on fossil evidence. Laboratory activities include study of fossil material, field excavations, and visits to museums.

4453 Advanced Three-Dimensional Seismic Interpretation Techniques used to extract geological information from three-dimensional seismic reflection data. Laboratory emphasizing interpretation of real data sets, integration of other geologic and geophysical data, and construction of subsurface maps and sections.   

4455 Introduction to Seismology. Theory of wave propagation in the Earth, earthquake mechanics, Earth structure, interpretation of seismograms, faults, seismotectonics, earthquake locations, magnitudes, and focal mechanisms.   

4457 Geophysical Exploration I Exploration geophysics, using gravity, magnetics, heat flow, telluric currents, resistivity, and other methods of remote sensing of hidden geological phenomena exclusive of seismic exploration. Laboratory work will emphasize geological interpretation of geophysical data.

4458 Geophysical Exploration II Exploration geophysics, using latest seismic techniques and well-log analyses, with emphasis on petroleum exploration.

4459 Engineering Geology Soil and rock mechanics. Analysis of geotechnical problems in the field and lab, report preparation, and computer evaluation of geotechnical problems.

4485 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (Cross-listed as AVS 4485, ENV 4485) The course covers the use of GIS to acquire primary geographic data, solve geographic problems, automate geographic analysis, and render explanations for geographic patterns and trends. Students will use the latest GIS software and data layers in a lab section.

4487 Advanced GIS Analysis (Cross-listed as AVS 4487, ENV 4487) Principles and techniques for geospatial data collection, manipulation, modeling, visualization, and analysis. Emphasis is placed on current raster modeling techniques, spatial statistical analysis methods, and using GIS as a predictive tool for environmental research.   

4656 Geophysical Field Training Practice in the efficient, accurate, and cost-effective acquisition of geophysical data in the field. The course will involve field practice with gravimeters, magnetometers, borehole drilling and logging devices, exploration seismic gear, surface electrical prospecting equipment, physical laboratory models, and digital data processing equipment as specific equipment is available from summer to summer. Field work will be conducted on a weekly schedule of at least five half days, with data reduction taking up the remaining time.   

46C3 Capstone Field Experience Includes extended field trip, oral and written reports, sample identification, and design of field problems. Synthesis of undergraduate curriculum through geological mapping and interpretation of field processes

4V90 Special Problems 1 to 5 sem. hrs. Course may be repeated with a change in content or topic.  

Department of Geosciences

Baylor Sciences Building, Room D.409

(254) 710-2361