/ Geological and Environmental Science Department

Courses

Our courses, whether in environmental science or geology, actively engage students as they learn skills they'll use professionally and in graduate study.

Starting in Environmental Science

A hot spring pool with blue-green center and yellow edges surrounded by white tufa rockEnvironmental science is interdisciplinary. You’ll work and study with students from across the sciences in courses that emphasize teamwork and communication. You’ll learn about global environmental systems while also applying your knowledge in hands-on projects that address local issues.

You should have a semester of college-level chemistry before taking courses in the environmental science program.  You can then take any 200-level environmental science course.

Starting in Geology

 

Students observe sedimentary structures in a sandstone wall looming over their headsThe geology curriculum covers a broad cross-section of geological specialties, including sedimentology, geomorphology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, structural geology, mineralogy and paleontology. Our program emphasizes field trips so you can see geology rather than just read about it. Most courses include lab or weekend field trips, while regional geology courses devote Spring Break or a May Term to visiting a different region in North America where you can experience new geological settings first hand.

You can take either GES 125: Michigan Field Geology or GES 100: Planet Earth, as your first geology course. Majors typically also take GES 111: How the Earth Works during their first semester. GES 203: Historical Geology, is a good course to take the following Spring Semester. Geology majors should also take General Chemistry early in their college career.

GES professors are happy to plan a course schedule that fits your specific situation.

View full course information in the catalog 

Example Schedules

Environmental Science Minor in Five Semesters

Or two years if you've already taken chemistry!

Add electives to total 16 credits each semester.

Year One
Fall Semester
  • General Chemistry 125 + 127 (4 credits)
Year Two
Fall Semester
  • Earth Environmentatal Systems I (3 credits)
  • Flagged course in major (4 credits)
Spring Semester
  •  Earth Environmental Systems II (3 credits)
  • Lab Methods in Environmental Science (2 credits)
Year Three
Fall Semester
  • Advanced Environmental Seminar (2 credits)
  • Flagged course in major (4 credits)
Spring Semester
  • Environmental Public Policy (2 credits)
B.A. Geology Major in Two Years

Add electives to total 16 credits each semester. Upper-level courses are taught alternate years. Courses offered may vary from the titles suggested here. Geochemistry may vary in semester offered.

Year One
Fall Semester
  • Michigan Field Geology or Planet Earth (4 credits)
  • How the Earth Works (2 credits)
  • Chemistry 125 or 131 (4 credits)
Spring Semester
  • Historical Geology (4 credits)
  • Regional Geology (2 credits)
  • Any science besides geology (4 credits)
Year Two
Fall Semester
  • Mineralogy or Surficial Geology (4 credits)
  • Sedimentology or Paleontology (4 credits)
Spring Semester
  • Petrology or Structural Geology (4 credits)
  • Hydrogeology or Geochemistry (4 credits)
B.S. Geology Major

Add electives to total 16 credits each semester

Year One
Fall Semester
  • Michigan Field Geology (4 credits)
  • How the Earth Works (2 credits)
  • Chemistry 125 or 131 (4 credits)
  • First Year Seminar (2 credits) 
Spring Semester
  • Historical Geology (4 credits)
  • Math (4 credits)
Year Two
Fall Semester
  • Surficial Geology (4 credits)
  • Biology (4 credits)
Spring Semester
  • Regional Geology (2 credits)
  • Structural Geology (4 credits)
Year Three
Fall Semester
  • Mineralogy (4 credits)
  • Physics (4 credits)
Spring Semester
  • Petrology (4 credits)
  • Regional Geology (2 credits)
Year Four
Fall Semester
  • Sedimentology (4 credits)
  • Senior Seminar (4 credits)
  • Computer Science (4 credits)
Spring Semester
  • Hydrogeology (4 credits)
  • Math (4 credits)
B.S. Geology Major and Environmental Science Minor

Add electives to total 16 credits each semester

Year One
Fall Semester
  • Michigan Field Geology (4 credits)
  • How the Earth Works (2 credits)
  • Chemistry (4 credits)
  • First Year Seminar (2 credits)
Spring Semester
  • Historical Geology (4 credits)
  • Math (4 credits)
  • Chemistry (4 credits)
  • Earth Environmental Systems II (3 credits)
Year Two
Fall Semester
  • Surficial Geology (4 credits)
  • Biology (4 credits)
  • Earth Environmental Systems 1 (3 credits)
  • Math (4 credits)
Spring Semester
  • Regional Geology (2 credits)
  • Biology (4 credits)
  • Lab Methods in Environmental Science (2 credits)
  • Structural Geology (4 credits)
Year Three
Fall Semester
  • Mineralogy (4 credits
  • Environmental Geochemistry (4 credits) 
Spring Semester
  • Petrology (4 credits)
  • Regional Geology (2 credits)
  • Environmental Public Policy (4 credits)
Year Four
Fall Semester
  • Advanced Environmental Seminar (2 credits)
  • Senior Seminar (4 credits)
Spring Semester
  • Hydrogeology (4 credits)
  • Math (4 credits)