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Principal Course Distribution Requirement

Principal courses offer introductions to the breadth of disciplines in the College. They acquaint students with the subject matter in an area, with the types of questions that are asked about that subject matter, with the knowledge that has been developed and is now basic to the area, and with the methods and standards by which claims to truth are judged.

Students must complete courses in topical groups in three major divisions (humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences). For the B.A., three courses are required from each division, with no more than one course from any topical group. The B.G.S. requires two courses from each division, with no more than one from any topical group. To fulfill the requirement, a course must be designated as a principal course according to the codes listed below.

These are the major divisions, their topical subgroups, and the codes that identify them:

Humanities

  • HT: Historical studies
  • HL: Literature and the arts
  • HR: Philosophy and religion

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

  • NB: Biological sciences
  • NE: Earth sciences
  • NM: Mathematical sciences
  • NP: Physical science

Social Sciences

  • SC: Culture and society
  • SI: Individual behavior
  • SF: Public affairs

No course may fulfill both a principal course distribution requirement and a non-Western culture or second-level mathematics course requirement. Laboratory science courses designated as principal courses may fulfill both the laboratory science requirement and one of the distribution requirements. No free-standing laboratory course may by itself fulfill either the laboratory science requirement or a principal course requirement. Students should begin taking principal courses early in their academic careers. An honors equivalent of a principal course may fulfill a principal course requirement.

View all approved principal course distribution courses »

Non-Western Culture Requirement

A non-Western culture course acquaints students with the culture, society, and values of a non-Western people, for example, from Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, or Africa. Students must complete one approved non-Western culture course.

One approved non-Western culture course is required. Occasionally courses with varying topics fulfill the non-Western culture course requirement. See the Schedule of Classes for details. These courses are coded NW.

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Transfer and Earned Credit Course Codes

These codes are used to evaluate transfer credit and to determine which academic requirements a course meets.

  • H: Humanities
  • N: Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • S: Social Sciences
  • W: World Civilization and Culture
  • U: Undesignated Elective Credit (course does not satisfy distribution requirement)

All Liberal Arts & Sciences courses

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A history of mapmaking worldwide from its origins to the present day. Emphasis on maps as historical records of evolving civilizations and cultural landscapes and methods of studying early maps. (Same as HIST 546.) LEC
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A study of climatic environments near the earth-atmosphere interface. Consideration of rural climates in relation to agriculture and urban climates as influenced by air pollution and other factors. Emphasis is on physical processes in the lower atmosphere, distribution of atmospheric variables, the surface energy budget, and water balance. (Same as ATMO 521.) Prerequisite: ATMO 105 and MATH 106 or MATH 121. LEC
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Introduction to study of the environment through air photos and satellite imagery, including principles of remote sensing, interactions of electromagnetic energy with the atmosphere and earth's surface, aerial photography, satellite systems, and sensors (electro-optical, thermal, and radar). Emphasis in the latter part of the course is on such applications as global monitoring, land cover mapping, forestry, agriculture, and oceanography. Laboratory emphasizes visual interpretation of aerial photography and satellite imagery and an introduction to digital image processing in the department's NASA Earth Science Remote Sensing Laboratory. (Same as EVRN 526.) Prerequisite: MATH 101 or equivalent. GEOG 358 recommended. LEC
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An investigation of special topics in physical geography. May include specific course work under the headings of geomorphology, climatology, soils, vegetation, quaternary, paleoenvironments, hydrology, etc. May be repeated, if topic differs. LEC
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Application of the concepts and methods of the geosciences to interpretation of the archeological record. The course will focus primarily on the field aspects of geoarchaeology (e.g., stratigraphy, site formational processes, and landscape reconstruction), and to a lesser extent on the array of laboratory approaches available. (Same as ANTH 517.) Prerequisite: GEOG 104, ANTH 110, or ANTH 310. LEC
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A broad study of the principles and properties of soils and their distribution on the landscape. Topics covered include: pedology, clay mineralogy, soil physics, soil chemistry, management of soils, soil biology, taxonomy, and soil geomorphology. Laboratory section and a field project are required. Not open to students who have taken GEOG 335. Prerequisite: GEOG 104 or GEOL 101 or consent of instructor; BIOL 100 and CHEM 184 or CHEM 185 recommended. LEC
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Landscape ecology is the study of spatial variation in landscapes at a variety of scales. It includes the biophysical and societal causes and consequences of landscape heterogeneity, linking natural sciences with related human disciplines. Its core themes address the spatial pattern of landscapes; relationships between pattern and process in landscapes; relationships between human activity and landscape pattern, process and change; and the effect of disturbance on the landscape. Prerequisite: GEOG 104 or GEOG 148 or EVRN 148, or consent of instructor. LEC
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An introduction to spatial and temporal variation in natural plant populations and communities. Included is an introduction to methods of analysis, and an overview of structure and process in the earth's major biomes. Prerequisite: GEOG 331; or an introductory biology/botany course and GEOG 104; or consent of instructor. LEC
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This course examines the physical and chemical properties of soils and methods of evaluation. Physical topics include the movement of water, heat, gases, and solutes through soil. Chemistry topics include solid and solution speciation, mineral solubility, ion exchange, and oxidation-reduction reactions in soils. Prerequisite: GEOG 335 or GEOG 535; CHEM 188/189, MATH 121, and PHSX 114, or consent of the instructor. LEC
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A critical study of land forms in relation to tectonics, climatic environment, and geologic processes. The use of geomorphic methods in the interpretation of Cenozoic history is emphasized. Laboratory exercises in analysis of field observations, maps, and photographs. Required field trip and fee. (Same as GEOL 541.) Prerequisite: GEOL 101 and GEOL 103, GEOG 104 and GEOG 105, or GEOL 103 and GEOL 304. LEC
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Acquaints students with the complexities of debates on environmental problems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Topics addressed may include deforestation, desert expansion, wildlife conservation, soil erosion, climate change, coral reef destruction, water resources development, mangrove preservation, the environmental effects of war, industrialization, and urbanization. Class presentations and projects synthesize the perspectives of both human and physical geography. (Same as AAAS 551.) Prerequisite: GEOG 104 or permission of instructor. LEC
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A lecture course dealing with the principles of location theory, resource utilization and regional specialization of economic activities. Economic concepts, such as rent payment for agricultural and mineral resources, scale and agglomeration economies etc., are applied to various physical, demographic, and cultural settings of major world regions. Special emphasis is placed on the basic principles of and recent changes in patterns of world trade, international investment, and economic development. Prerequisite: GEOG 375 or introductory economics or consent of instructor. LEC
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An investigation of special topics in urban/economic geography. May include specific course work under the headings of energy, economic development, international trade, environmental perception, housing, transportation, and migration. May be repeated. LEC
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Acquaints students with the values of social parameters of African agricultural and pastoral practice. Topics include customary land rights, African perspectives on the natural world, gender issues in African agriculture, and the urbanization of African cultures. The course also contrasts African views with those of Western development practitioners and donor agencies. Case studies from different countries are used to highlight the continent's regional differences. (Same as AAAS 553.) LEC
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A discussion and analysis of the basic facts and causes of energy problems on a national and world scale. Examines current production, consumption, efficiency, reserves, conservation, and other energy policy options, including adjustments that will affect consumer use, national politics, and strategic issues. Prerequisite: GEOG 102 or GEOG 375. LEC
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An intermediate level course in urban geography, with an emphasis on cities in the developing world. Example cities in Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and/or Southeast Asia may be examined. The main focus is on the intersection between urbanization and economic development, but social, political, and cultural aspects of development in cities are considered. Other topics include the geographic impacts of European colonialism, urbanization and industrialization, rural-to-urban migration, urban structure and spatial dynamics, urban planning, and environmental sustainability. (Same as AAAS 557.) LEC
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An intermediate level course in geographic information science designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate level students who already have an introductory understanding of GIS. Emphasis will be placed on the application of spatial analytical techniques to geographical problem-solving. Topics include spatial data structures, interpolation techniques, terrain analysis, cost surfaces, and database management technique. Students will apply knowledge gained in lecture and reading to natural resource, urban, and scientific applications using state-of-the-art GIS software. Prerequisite: GEOG 358 or consent of instructor. LEC
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This course teaches programming within Geographic Information Systems. Students learn how to customize GIS applications to automate data processing and spatial analysis through programming languages. GIS programming concepts and methods are introduced from the aspects of spatial data management and analysis covering both the vector and raster data models. Prerequisite: GEOG 558 and a course in programming languages. LEC
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A survey of the culture and history of selected indigenous peoples of the Americas. Emphasis is placed on the environmental setting, the settlement and subsistence patterns, and the impact of European colonization. Discussion includes present-day ethnic and resource issues. LEC
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An investigation of special topics in cultural geography. May include specific course work under the headings of cultural theory and methodology, material culture, foodways, religion, and similar topics. May be repeated, if topic differs. LEC
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Acquaints students with the theories and methods of political geography. Topics include geographical studies of: states, nations, and nationalism; territories and territoriality; geopolitics; and elections. Case studies from various regions of the world are included with an emphasis on the developing world. Prerequisite: GEOG 102 or equivalent or consent of instructor. LEC
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A course designed to teach students how to define, gather, process, evaluate and present geographic research. Its emphasis is field work and original data gathering versus library research. Prerequisite: Previous course work in geography and/or permission of instructor. LEC
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Describes and analyzes the distribution of human populations and spatial relations among and within varying types of settlements. Prerequisite: GEOG 102 or GEOG 375. LEC
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Distributions of major culture elements including folk architecture, religion, dialect, foodways, and political behavior are systematically studied from a predominately historical perspective. These discussions are followed by a survey of the major culture regions in America. Although not absolutely necessary, familiarity with concepts treated in any of the following courses would be helpful: AMS 100, AMS 110, ANTH 108, ANTH 308, GEOG 102, or GEOG 390. (Same as AMS 576.) LEC
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An interdisciplinary approach to food that explores the diversity of eating habits across the United States and the role of food as in indicator of cultural identity and change. Current regional and ethnic food consumption patterns are stressed. Topics include multiculturalism and regional identity, the symbiotic relationship between restaurant food and home cooking, the recent interest in farmers' markets and organic foods, and the importance of the food industry and the popular press in setting trends. (Same as AMS 579.) LEC
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A study of the different physical, economic, and cultural settings in Latin America which form the basis for the various forms of livelihood. LEC
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This regional study of the natural environments and cultural-historical backgrounds of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean details the physical and historical processes that have shaped the cultural landscape. LEC
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This is a study of the natural and cultural history of the region's lands and peoples that focuses on the cultural geography of the surviving indigenous populations, including their culture area, culture history, cultural landscape, and cultural ecology. LEC
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An analysis of the spatial organization of the successor states to the USSR. A study of the diverse human and natural resources, demographic, cultural, and economic conditions. Prerequisite: An introductory geography course or background in Russian-East European history, social science, or culture, or consent of instructor. LEC
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A study of nations and regions of Eastern Europe, excluding Russia. Prerequisite: An introductory geography course or background in Slavic-East European history, social science, or culture or consent of instructor. LEC
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A detailed description and analysis of geographic patterns in both historic and modern China. Prerequisite: An introductory geography course or background in Chinese history, social science, or culture, or consent of instructor. LEC
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Study of geographic factors, physical and cultural, that are basic to understanding the historical development of Portuguese South America and the contemporary and cultural geography of Brazil. Course also includes a survey of Brazil's South American neighbors. LEC
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A survey of the varied responses of global Indigenous peoples as a result of the imposition of external economic and political systems. An overview of diverse, thematic issues such as land rights, economic development, resources and cultural patrimony, languages, knowledge systems, and women's rights from the perspectives of Indigenous societies around the world. Detailed studies of Indigenous peoples seeking recognition and protection under international law are used. (Same as GINS 601.) Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. LEC
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Examination of several methodologies and specific techniques from geographical and operations research having proven applicability to public facility location decisions. The course emphasizes hands-on student experience with canned computer programs and real world problems. Prerequisite: An introductory course in either urban planning, transportation, geography, urban geography, or consent of instructor. LEC
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An investigation of special topics in geographic information science. May include specific course work under the headings of methodology, basic research, thematic or regional applications, geographic information systems (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), and geostatistics. May be repeated if topic differs. LEC
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Investigation of the interrelations between socio-cultural systems and the natural environment, including a survey of major theories and descriptive studies. (Same as ANTH 695.) Prerequisite: An introductory course in geography or anthropology. LEC
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Introduction to the principles of earth science. Study of the formation, occurrence, and structure of minerals and rocks; action of streams, oceans, glaciers, and other agents in the formation and modification of the landscape; volcanism, earthquakes, and plate tectonics. This course with GEOL 103 satisfies the College laboratory science requirement. Concurrent enrollment in GEOL 103 is recommended for students taking both. Course may be offered in lecture or online format. LEC
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Honors section of GEOL 101. An introduction to the principles of earth science. Study of the formation, occurrence, and structures of minerals and rocks; action of streams, oceans, glaciers, and other agents in the formation and modification of the landscape; mountain building volcanism, and earthquakes. Not open to students who have taken GEOL 101. This course with GEOL 103 satisfies the College laboratory science requirement. Concurrent enrollment in GEOL 103 is recommended for students taking both. LEC
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A course in geologic laboratory studies. This course plus GEOL 101, GEOL 102, GEOL 105, or GEOL 106 satisfies the College laboratory science requirement. Gives students practical, hands-on experience with identifying earth materials (rocks, minerals, fossils), understanding their relationships to earth processes, understanding topographic and geologic maps, interpreting results of surficial processes, and learning about deep-earth processes such as earthquakes. Includes short field trips to see geologic structures and results of local geologic processes. This lab course may be offered in on-campus lab or online format. Prerequisite: Previous or concurrent enrollment in GEOL 101, GEOL 102, GEOL 105, or GEOL 106. LAB
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An introduction to the physical and biological history of the earth, the methods used to decipher earth history, and the development of the geological sciences. This course with GEOL 103 satisfies the College laboratory science requirement. Concurrent enrollment in GEOL 103 is recommended for students taking both. Not open to students who have taken GEOL 106 or GEOL 304. LEC
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Honors section of GEOL 105. An introduction to the physical and biological history of the earth, the methods used to decipher earth history, and the development of the geological sciences. This course with GEOL 103 satisfies the College laboratory science requirement. Concurrent enrollment in GEOL 103 is recommended for students taking both. Not open to students who have taken GEOL 105 or GEOL 304. LEC
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An introduction to the history of life and the origin and evolution of animals and plants during the earth's long history. The fossil record is interpreted by applying both biological and geological principles. LEC
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Addresses the subject of natural disasters with concentration on earthquake effects and their mitigation. Briefly treats volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, floods, global warming, severe weather, and catastrophic meteorite impacts from the perspective of geological and human significance. Provides a basic background into earth-science processes. LEC
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Basic description of oceanography: description and discussion of the ocean as a dynamic system. Relationships between and dependence upon the interactions of submarine topography, water chemistry, wave action, and biota in understanding the ocean system. Review of part that humanity plays in perturbing the natural oceanic environment. Discussions of estuarine problems as related to the sea, cultural activities, and rivers. Course may be offered in lecture or online format. Prerequisite: An introductory science course. LEC
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A summary of the measurement of time, the history of life, and the earth's development and the tectonics and rock-forming episodes of North America. Not open to students who have taken GEOL 105, GEOL 106 or GEOL 121. Prerequisite: GEOL 101. LEC
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Basic identification and properties of rocks and minerals in the context of whole-earth structure and evolution. Includes basic chemical equilibria for rock and mineral systems and their bearing on processes involved with formation and evolution of Earth's crust, mantle, and core. Two lectures and one lab per week. Prerequisite: GEOL 101, CHEM 125 or CHEM 184, and eligibility for MATH 121 or MATH 115. LEC
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A laboratory to accompany GEOL 311. Presents more rigorous analysis of the structures, compositions, and chemical equilibria governing the formation and stability of common rock-forming mineral systems. Prerequisite: GEOL 311 (may be taken concurrently), CHEM 125 or CHEM 184, and eligibility for MATH 121 or MATH 115. LAB
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The properties, occurrence, description, determination, and mineral affinities of gems, ornamental stones, and gem materials. LEC
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Physical, chemical, and biological processes in surface and near-surface environments applied to the recognition of the depositional environment, preservation, and alteration of sedimentary rocks. Field and laboratory study of sedimentary rocks with emphasis on interpretation of original depositional environments and alter processes affecting sedimentary rocks. Prerequisite: GEOL 101. LEC
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An introductory course dealing with the implications of geologic processes and materials for civilization. Topics to be considered include: geologic hazards such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, and volcanism; the availability of water, mineral, and energy resources; and the environmental impact of resource utilization. The importance of recognizing geologic constraints in land use planning and engineering projects is emphasized and illustrated by examples. LEC
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Summer session. A field-geology course that provides beginning geology students with an initial understanding of the nature of geological evidence in the field, the breadth of geological phenomena, and the importance of the interplay of information from many geological disciplines in solving problems. Given at various geologically diverse locations. Fee. Prerequisite: GEOL 101. LEC
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Special reports upon subjects in which students have a particular interest. Prerequisite: Fifteen hours of geology. IND
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Normally two to five hours in any one semester with a maximum of eight hours. An undergraduate research course, in any of the fields of geology, open by permission of the department to seniors in the College who have an average grade of B or higher in geology courses. Prerequisite: Thirty hours of geology, five of which may be taken concurrently with this course. IND
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The study of minerals, rocks and fluids within the earth's crust and mantle to elucidate their mechanisms of formation and the pressure-temperature-composition conditions within the earth. The course emphasizes equilibrium thermodynamics, phase equilibria, fractionation mechanisms, tectonic control of petrogenesis, and quantitative analysis of mineral parageneses. Prerequisite: GEOL 311 and first semester calculus, or permission of instructor. LEC
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A laboratory course to accompany GEOL 512. Material covered will include the use of the polarizing microscope in study of rocks in thin sections; identification of rock-forming minerals in thin section; study of textures as guides to the crystallization process; calculations of chemical changes during fractional crystallization and partial melting. Students will also make extensive study of igneous and metamorphic rocks in hand specimens, accompanied by thin section study, with emphasis on composition, texture, and structure. Students must co-enroll in GEOL 512. Prerequisite: GEOL 312. Concurrent enrollment in GEOL 512 required. LAB
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A study of the structure and evolution of ancient life; the nature and diversity of life through time; the interactions of ancient organisms with their environments and the information that the study of fossils provides about ancient environments; the use of fossils to determine the ages of rocks and the timing of past events in earth history; and the patterns of extinction through time. (Same as BIOL 622.) Prerequisite: BIOL 100 or BIOL 152 or GEOL 105 or GEOL 304. LEC
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Laboratory course in the study of fossils with emphasis on the practice of paleontology and the morphology of ancient organisms. (Same as BIOL 623.) LEC
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A lecture course in which fossil plants, protists and fungi are examined throughout geologic time. Emphasis will be directed at paleoecology, biogeography and the stratigraphic distribution and composition of ancient floras. (Same as BIOL 640.) Prerequisite: BIOL 413, or permission of instructor. LEC
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An examination of selected fossil plants throughout geological time and the techniques used to study them; laboratory will include identification and the use of plant fossils in biostratigraphy. (Same as BIOL 641.) Prerequisite: BIOL 413 or permission of instructor. Must be taken concurrently with GEOL 528. LAB
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A study of the principles of lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, and sequence stratigraphy. Methods of analysis of stratiographic data focus on the interpretation of earth history. The stratiographic record of North America is presented for evaluation of its geologic history. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Required field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 101, GEOL 521, and GEOL 331. LEC
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Physical and geochemical volcanology. Considers relationship of tectonics and volcanism; types of magmas; rheology of lavas, pyroclastic density currents, and mass movements in volcanic environments; and interpretation of processes and conditions of formation of volcanic rocks from their field character. Field trips to ancient volcanic complexes. Prerequisite: GEOL 331 and GEOL 512, or permission of instructor. LEC
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A general study of the occurrence, properties, origin, and migration of petroleum. Studies of various oil fields and oil-bearing basins. Laboratory studies include well logs, subsurface mapping, and cross-sections. Prerequisite: GEOL 331, GEOL 562, and GEOL 572; or C&PE 527, or permission of instructor. LEC
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Application of well logging measurements to interpretation subsurface. LEC
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Geological, geophysical, and engineering characterization of a petroleum reservoir. Includes mapping; petrophysical, production, and pressure analysis; and numerical modeling. Considers economic analysis of steps to improve oil recovery. Students who have completed GEOL 837 may not take GEOL 537 for credit. Prerequisite: GEOL 535 and permission of instructor. LEC
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A critical study of landforms in relation to tectonics, climatic environment, and geologic processes. The use of geomorphic methods in the interpretation of Cenozoic history is emphasized. Laboratory exercises in analysis of field observations, maps, and photographs. Required field trip and fee. (Same as GEOG 541.) Prerequisite: GEOL 101 and GEOL 103, GEOG 104 and GEOG 105, or GEOL 304 and GEOL 103. LEC
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Consideration of geologic factors affecting engineering projects. Topics include: techniques of site exploration, engineering properties of soil and rock, geologic conditions important in the design of major structures, and geologic information useful in land-use planning. Prerequisite: An introductory course in geology or consent of instructor. LEC
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Physical description of hydrogeologic media. Elementary groundwater hydraulics: analytical and graphical solutions for steady-state application. Well hydraulics and pumping tests. Basic groundwater geology. Effects of topography and geology on regional flow systems. Field and numerical delineation and analysis of groundwater flow systems and applications. Chemical characteristics of groundwaters and their relationship to aquifer geology and hydrology. Investigations of groundwater quality and contamination. Prerequisite: Two semesters each of calculus, physics, and chemistry. LEC
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Summer session. The study of the principles of field geology and the application of field methods to solve geological problems. Includes use of topographic maps and aerial photographs for geological mapping, the study of stratigraphic methods by measuring sections, and working field trips to areas of regional geological interest. Given at the University of Kansas Geology Field Camp near Canon City, Colorado. Fee. Prerequisite: GEOL 360 and GEOL 562, or consent of instructor. FLD
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Summer session. The application of the principles of field geology to solve complex geological problems in the field. Given at the University of Kansas Geology Field Camp near Canon City, Colorado, or at other sites as appropriate. Fee. Prerequisite: GEOL 560. FLD
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A study of primary and secondary rock-structures and their genesis. Includes techniques of structural analysis and introduces mechanics of rock deformations. Lectures, laboratory, and required field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 311 and PHSX 111 or PHSX 114 or PHSX 211, and MATH 115 or MATH 121. LEC
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Scientific assessment of natural disasters with concentration on earthquake effects and their mitigation. Briefly treats volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, floods, global warming, severe weather, and catastrophic meteorite impacts in a geological and human framework. A research paper or project is required. Prerequisite: An introductory course in a physical science. LEC
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Introductory study of gravitational, magnetic, seismic, electrical, and thermal properties of the earth. Measurements, interpretation, and applications to exploration, earth structure, and global tectonics. Prerequisite: an introductory course in geology, MATH 116 or MATH 122, and PHSX 115 or PHSX 212. PHSX 115 or PHSX 212 may be taken concurrently. LEC
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Study of physical processes in the solid Earth and of geophysical approaches to studying Earth systems at regional and global scales. Topics include global potential fields, thermal regime, rheology and Earth deformation, earthquakes and seismic structure, plate motions and global tectonics. (Same as PHSX 528.) Prerequisite: An introductory course in geology, MATH 116 or MATH 122, and PHSX 115 or PHSX 212 or PHSX 214. LEC
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Application of seismic reflection and refraction techniques to the description of near-surface geology and the exploration for energy and mineral resources. Theory of seismic information, data collection, data processing using computers, and geologic interpretation. Prerequisite: A course in computer programming, either FORTRAN or C, which may be taken concurrently. An introductory geophysics course, such as GEOL 572. LEC
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Use of gravity, magnetic, and electrical signals in the exploration for energy and mineral resources. Elementary potential field theory, data collection methods, data analysis, and interpretation using computers. Prerequisite: A course in computer programming, either FORTRAN or C, which may be taken concurrently. An introductory geophysics course, such as GEOL 572. LEC
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