Geology Minor

Catalog Year




Total Credits




Career Cluster

Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics

Program Requirements


Physical geology is the study of how the earth works. From mountain building to soil erosion, this course provides an introduction to all the main areas of geologic study. Lecture discussions and laboratory exercises are designed for students seeking a major or minor in one of the natural sciences.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03, GE-10

An examination of the development and evolution of life on earth. In addition to reviewing the range of life forms and global climates existing on earth during various times in its geologic past, we will also look at how global industrialization could lead to the earth's next period of mass extinction. Weekly laboratory assignments help illustrate principles discussed in lectures.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Examination of the elemental composition and crystal structure of various common minerals. Laboratory time is spent practicing techniques of identifying crystals and minerals. The importance and occurrence of many economic minerals is also covered thoroughly in this course.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 or GEOL 107 or GEOL 121

Restricted Electives

Choose 6 Credit(s).

Focused studies of the origins and processes of transportation, deposition, burial, and diagenesis of sedimentary materials. Lab assignments focus on sedimentary material identification and analysis. Field trips required.

Prerequisites: Select one course: GEOL 100, GEOL 107, GEOL 121

Study of the processes and results of rock deformation at scales ranging from microscopic to plate tectonic, and at conditions ranging from the Earth's surface to the deep interior.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 or GEOL 107or GEOL 121

This course is devoted to the study and practice of geological field investigations. Students will first learn basic field investigative methods. Students will then be appropriately versed in the geological history and importance of a region selected for in-depth study. Finally, students will participate in a field trip to a regional site of geologic importance over an extended weekend (4-6 days). Potential study sites may include Minnesota's North Shore and Iron Range, the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota, the Ozarks, or the Rocky Mountains.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 or GEOL 121 and GEOL 122

Study of the origin, composition, texture, morphology, and stratigraphy of glacial deposits. Topics include the geologic record of glaciation, techniques used to reconstruct histories of glaciation, glacial depositional systems, provenance of glacial sediments, influence of glaciation on soil texture, and interpretation of glacial geologic maps. Emphasis will be placed on description and interpretation of glacial features in southern Minnesota. Field trips required.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 or GEOL 107or GEOL 121

Comprehensive survey of geophysical methods utilized in geologic resource exploration, and basic principles of applied seismology in industry.

Prerequisites: GEOL 121, GEOL 201, GEOL 122

The application of geologic data and principles to problems created by human occupancy and use of the physical environment. Lecture and laboratory topics include soil classification and conservation, hazardous waste site evaluation and remediation, and living with geologic hazards.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 GEOL 104 or GEOL 107 or GEOL 121

This course introduces physical and chemical studies of hydrogeology. The main areas of discussion will include the physical and chemical attributes of aquifers, movement of ground-water and solute through soils and rocks, and reactions between earth materials and pollutants in ground-water systems. The class includes extensive use of MODFLOW and MT3D, the two most commonly usedgroundwater modeling programs currently available.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 or GEOL 107or GEOL 121


Admission to minor. No formal Admission to Major is required for Geology. Students may enroll in 300- and 400-level courses after they have successfully completed any pre-requisite courses.

P/N Grading Policy. All courses for a Geology award must be taken for a letter grade.

Successful completion of a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) can be substituted for GEOL 499 as the Capstone Experience subject to Department approval.