Geological Sciences (GSCI/AST) Courses


PDF schedules of Earth Science course offerings for the next four years:
All Courses and 200-Level +

*Note that many upper level courses are only offered every two years*

GSCI 100 Search in Geological Sciences

(3 cr.): Examination of various topics, contemporary issues and problems in earth sciences. Three hours of lecture per week. Cannot be used to meet requirements for majors or minors in earth science. No credit given to students having take GSCI 100 or GSCI 101 with the same topic. Course may be repeated one time with a different topic. Study Area IV. Offered irregularly.

GSCI 101 Search in Geological Sciences with Laboratory

(3 cr.): Examination of various topics, contemporary issues and problems in earth sciences. Two lectures and one, two-hour lab per week. Cannot be used to meet requirements for majors or minors in earth science. No credit given to students having taken GSCI 100 or GSCI 101 with the same topic. Course may be repeated one time with a different topic. Study Area IV. Offered irregularly.

GSCI 102 Earth and the Human Environment

(3 cr.):Topics in geology, meteorology, and astronomy with an emphasis on the relationships and interconnectedness between the natural environment and human activity. May not be applied to a major or minor in Earth Sciences. Study Area IV.

AST 112 Search for Life on Other Planets

(3 cr.): Prereq.: MATH 099 or equivalent. Exploration of the solar system and beyond, using introductory concepts in astronomy, biology, and geology to examine natural phenomena and address scientific questions about the possibilities of life outside Earth. May not be applied to a major or minor in Earth Sciences.

AST 113 The Cosmos

(3 cr.): Prereq.: MATH 099 or equivalent. Topics in modern astronomy with an emphasis on the process of scientific discovery and the scale and evolution of the universe. May not be applied to a major or minor in Earth Sciences.

GSCI 121 The Dynamic Earth

(3 cr.): Basic concepts of geology and the dynamic processes operating on and within the earth and how those processes can impact humans. Topics include formation of rocks, erosion and landscape evolution, plate tectonics, an interpretation of earth processes from geological data. Volcanic, earthquake, flooding, coastal erosion and landslide hazards and glaciation are also covered. No credit given to students with credit for GSCI 131. Study Area IV.

GSCI 125 The Dynamic Earth Lab

(1 cr.): Prereqs.: GSCI 121 (may be taken concurrently). Laboratory investigations into geology and the dynamic processes operating on and within the earth and how those processes can impact humans. Topics include minerals and rocks, erosion and landscape evolution, plate tectonics, an interpretation of earth processes from geological data. Volcanic, earthquake, flooding, coastal erosion and landslide hazards and glaciation. No credit given to students with credit for GSCI 135. Study Area IV.

GSCI 129 Introduction to Meteorology

(4 cr.): Prereq.: MATH 099 or placement exam. Introductory course dealing with atmospheric composition, structure, and basic motions. The nature of high and low pressure systems, severe weather, how the National Weather Service works. Three lectures and one two-hour laboratory per week. Study Area IV. Offered every semester.

GSCI 131 Environmental Geoscience

(3 cr.): Investigation of Earth Environmental Systems including streams, lakes, estuaries, coastal, groundwater, and the physical ocean, as well as the impact of humans on those environments. Topics will also include material and energy resources, waste disposal, and climate change. No credit given to students with credit for GSCI 121. Study Area IV.

GSCI 135 Environmental Geoscience Lab

(1 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 131 (may be taken concurrently). Laboratory investigations of Earth environmental systems including streams, lakes, estuaries, coastal, groundwater, and the physical ocean, as well as the impact of humans on those environments. Topics will also include material and energy resources, water disposal, and climate change. No credit given to students with credit for GSCI 125. Study Area IV.

GSCI 141 Earth and Life History

(3 cr.): Introduction to the principles and interpretation of Earth history, emphasizing the evolution of the lithosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere through geologic time. Emphasis will be made on the historical aspects of plate tectonics, the geologic development of North America, and important events in biological evolution. Study Area IV.

GSCI 145 Earth and Life History Lab

(1 cr.): GSCI 141 (may be taken concurrently). Optional laboratory to accompany GSCI 141 Earth and Life History. Introduction to the principles and interpretation of Earth history, emphasizing the evolution of the lithosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere through geologic time. Emphasis will be made on the historical aspects of plate tectonics, the geologic development of North America, and important events in biological evolution. Study Area IV.

AST 208 Planetary Astronomy

(4 cr.): Prereq.: MATH 101 or placement exam. Study of the bodies of the solar system, their motions, compositions, and evolution. Topics will include physical laws of motion and radiation, comparison of the surfaces, atmospheres, and interiors of solar system objects, and the formation of the solar system. Three lectures and one two-hour laboratory per week. Study Area IV. Offered every Fall.

AST 209 Stellar and Galactic Astronomy

(4 cr.): Prereq.: MATH 101 or placement exam. Study of stars and galaxies as separate bodies and members of clusters. Topics will include astrophysical properties of stars and galaxies, stellar and galactic evolution, and cosmology. Emphasis will be placed on observational and experimental methods astronomers use to study the universe. Three lectures and one two-hour laboratory per week. Study Area IV. Offered every Spring.

GSCI 221 Mineralogy

(4 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 125 or 135, CHEM 161 and 162. Study of minerals, their formation, occurrence, properties, composition, and classification. Topics include crystal chemistry, internal crystal structures, optical and other physical properties, identification of crystal forms and mineral specimens, and an introduction to petrology. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. One or more one-day field trips. Offered in Fall of odd-numbered years.

GSCI 223 Stratigraphy and Sedimentology

(4 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 145, GSCI 290. Study of the processes and patterns of sedimentation as well as the spatial and temporal distribution of strata. Both ancient and modern depositional environments will be investigated. Three, one-hour lectures; one, three-hour lab; and one or more one-day field trips. Offered in the Spring of even-numbered years.

AST 278 Observational Astronomy

(4 cr.): Theory and practice of observational astronomy. Topics include solar and lunar observation, naked eye observation, and coordinate systems, telescope usage and design. Two lectures and two two hour labs per week. Fall. Study Area IV. Offered every Fall.

GSCI 290 Field Methods in Geology

(2 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 125 or 135. Methods and equipment used in field geology, including use of a Brunton compass, outcrop description and sketching, basic mapping techniques, sampling methods, notebook maintenance, use of global positioning system (GPS) technology, geologic maps and cross sections, field safety, and report writing. One, tree-hour lab per week. Lab sessions will typically involve outdoor activities. Two or more half-day field trips required. NOTE: Required for all sophomore Earth Science majors. Offered every Fall.

GSCI 321 Structural Geology

(4 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 125 or 135, GSCI 290 (may be taken concurrently). Study of the geometry and origin or rock structures that are products of earth deformation. These include folds and faults, as well as microstructures. Emphasis will be placed on recognition and interpretation of structures through field and laboratory studies. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. One or more one-day field trips are required. Offered in the Fall of even-numbered years.

GSCI 322 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

(4 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 145 and GSCI 221. Study of igneous and metamorphic processes and environments of formation. Application of chemical principles to the origin of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Identification and petrographic analysis of rocks will be emphasized in the laboratory. One or more one-day field trips. Offered in the Spring of even-numbered years.

GSCI 360 Research Methods in the Geological Sciences

(1 cr.) Prereq.: Junior standing as an Earth Science major. Required of all Geological Sciences majors. Investigation of the process of research, from the scientific method through writing a scientific proposal. Presentation of research results by report writing, PowerPoint, and poster presentations will be included. One one-hour class per week. Offered every Spring.

AST 378 Comparative Planetology

(3 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 121, 131, or AST 208. Study of the surfaces, interiors, and atmospheres of objects in the solar system with the goal of better understanding the formation and evolution of planetary bodies both similar to and different from the Earth. Offered Spring of odd-numbered years.

AST 418 Astrophysics

(3 cr.): Prereq.: MATH 221 and PHYS 126; or permission of department chair. Astrophysics of stars and galaxies, including stellar structure, nucleosynthesis and evolution, galactic structure and evolution, and relativistic cosmology.

GSCI 424 Geomorphology

(3 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 125 or 135, or permission of department chair. A systematic analysis of a wide variety of landforms, with an emphasis on the processes that form them. Tectonic and climate controls of geomorphic systems are considered as are the impacts of human activities. Three, one-hour lectures, and one three-hour laboratory per week. One or more one-day field trips. Offered Fall of odd-numbered years.

GSCI 425 Glacial and Quaternary Geology

(3 cr.): Prereqs: GSCI 125 or 135. Examination of the role of glaciers in Earth's climate system with a focus on the Quaternary period; the mechanics of glaciers and their role in large-scale geomorphic change; and the characteristics of the Pleistocene glacial deposits of southern New England. One or more one-day field trips. Offered Spring of Odd Numbered years.

GSCI 431 Introduction to Hydrogeology

(4 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 125 or 135, CHEM 161 and 162, MATH 152 (may be taken concurrently) or permission of department chair. Overview of hydrologic and hydrological factors controlling the occurrences and dynamics of groundwater. Groundwater chemistry, quality, and contamination will also be covered. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. One or more one-day field trips. Offered Spring of odd-numbered years.

GSCI 450 Environmental and Engineering Geology

(3 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 125 or 135, MATH 115 or 119, or permission of instructor. Geological factors that control or affect human habitat avoiding, or compensating for geological hazards. Applied geology from an environmental perspective that focuses on interactions between humans and Earth surface precesses. Study of natural hazards such as river flooding, landslides and debris flows, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, coastal hazards. Surface and ground water use and pollution are also covered. Offered Fall of odd-numbered years.

GSCI 452 Independent Study in Geological Sciencea

(1 to 6 cr.): Prereq.: Approved plan of study on arrangement with supervising instructor and approval of department chair. Special work in laboratory, theory, or research to meet individual requirements in areas not covered by regular curriculum. May be taken more than once under different topics. Offered on demand.

GSCI 460 Senior Project

(1 to 3 cr.): Prereq.: GSCI 360, Senior standing as an Earth Science major and written permission of project advisor and Department Chair. Investigation of a topic of current research interest as determined by the student in consultation with the faculty. Research technique, critical data evaluation, specialized knowledge, independence and originality are cultivated as the project develops. A written report and presentation are required. The Senior Project may span only one semester earning one to three credits, or two separate semesters for a maximum of six credits. Offered on demand.

AST 470 Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology

(3 cr.): Prereqs.: AST 208, and BIO 121 or BMS 102/103; or permission of Department Chair. Exploration of the processes related to planet formation and evolution and the planetary conditions required for the emergence of life, as well as the astronomical techniques used to detect extrasolar planets, discern their properties (include potential habitability), and collect statistics on their occurrence in the universe. Offered Fall of odd-numbered years.

AST 478 Planetary Image Analysis

(3 cr.): PHYS 126 or permission of department chair. Theory and application of image analysis to determine the geologic history of solar system objects through examination of surface morphology and mineralogy as observed in multi- and hyperspectral datasets.

GSCI 480 Internship in Earth Science

(3 cr.): Prereq.: Senior standing and permission of the student's advisor. Students serving in the program will serve as interns, obtaining outside industrial and/or research experiences in an environment directly related to their specialization. Internships may be in any area of astronomy, earth science, geology, meteorology, or planetary science. Projects will be supervised by one or more department members. Written report or poster presentation required. Offered on demand.

GSCI 490 Topics in Geological Sciences

(3 cr.): Selected studies in earth science which are not offered presently in the curriculum of the department. Course may be repeated with different topics. offered irregularly.

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