The geology curriculum prepares undergraduates for graduate study in geology and geophysics and related fields and for a wide range of professional careers, including teaching, research, resource exploration and development, and environmental management and remediation. The curriculum has three areas of concentration: geology, environmental geology, and geophysics. All three areas are designed to provide students with a sound foundation in geology and to prepare them for entry into a graduate program or directly into a professional career.
Geology students in all areas of concentration follow the same basic curriculum during the first four semesters of study. Emphasis for all students is on fundamental geologic processes operating on and within the earth through time. Students during this time receive a firm foundation in mineralogy, the history of the biosphere, petrology, structural geology and sedimentology, as well as basic courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. The geophysics concentration has additional emphasis on mathematics and physics starting in the fifth semester. Laboratory and field studies are integrated into the curriculum at all levels and include a six-week field geology course at the department’s permanent field camp in the Colorado Front Range, taken ideally between the sixth and seventh semesters.
The curriculum is designed to leave much of the final two to three semesters of study relatively unstructured so that students, with the guidance and approval of the department, can develop a program of advanced course work most appropriate to their area of concentration and career objectives. Students in any concentration area take, in addition to the first five semesters of courses, 12 hours of geology 4000-level electives.
Undergraduate thesis research is encouraged. Geology students may earn a maximum of nine hours of GEOL 3909 , which can be followed by GEOL 3999 for the semester that the student defends their undergraduate thesis to a committee. Ideally, the first GEOL 3909 course would be taken in the junior year and continue through the senior year. One 4000-level geology course may be substituted for a minimum of three hours of GEOL 3909 and three hours of GEOL 3999 , or the HNRS equivalent for undergraduate thesis research (e.g. HNRS 4000 ).
For exceptional undergraduate geology majors (overall GPA>3.5), the department offers an accelerated BS - Masters Degree Program. This program bridges the undergraduate program and MS program into a five-year program of study that includes undergraduate research, including a senior thesis, and completing graduate course work while an undergraduate student.
Graduate and undergraduate majors in geology must pay a $35 field service fee each semester. This fee helps offset course-related costs, such as transportation costs associated with course field trips and course materials. Part-time students enrolled in seminar courses only and students registered for thesis or dissertation only are exempt from the fee. Additional information concerning fees for field geology courses is available from the Geology field camp director, Department of Geology & Geophysics.