Undergraduate Catalog


Interim Chairperson: Dr. Samuel Thompson
Office: Tillman Hall 115
Telephone: (309) 298-1151; Fax: (309) 298-3399
E-mail: geology@wiu.edu
Website: wiu.edu/geology

Program Offerings and Locations:

  • Bachelor of Science in Geology: Macomb
  • Minor in Geology: Macomb

Faculty: S. W. Bennett, Calengas, Hegna, Johnson, Mayborn, Melim.

Adjunct Instructor: S. C. Bennett

The Department of Geology offers courses leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. Graduates enter industrial or governmental jobs in environment and engineering, oil, mining, or enroll in graduate programs at other universities. In addition to the fundamental courses, the department offers a selection of advanced electives in mineral and water resources, geophysics, geomorphology, tectonics, and applied geology. Majors must also take related courses in Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics, or Biology.

GradTrac is available to Geology—General majors. See more information about GradTrac.

Honors Curriculum—Academically qualified students in this department are encouraged to complete an honors curriculum in University Honors, Departmental Honors, or General Honors. All Honors students must complete the one-hour honors colloquium (G H 299). General Honors includes General Honors coursework. Departmental Honors includes honors work in the major. University Honors combines Departmental and General Honors. For more information about honors curricula see the Centennial Honors College page of the catalog or visit the Centennial Honors College website at wiu.edu/Honors.

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science—Geology

All students seeking the Bachelor of Science in Geology must complete I, II, and III.A or III.B below, and the foreign language/global issues requirement for the major#. The minimum semester hour requirement for the baccalaureate degree is 120 s.h.

  1. University General Education and College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Requirements (p. 85): 55 s.h.
  2. Core Courses: 35 s.h.
    GEOL 110*, 112*, 200, 301, 310, 320†, 330, 340†, 361, 362
  3. Options of Study (select A or B)
    1. Geology
      1. Departmental Electives: 1–3 s.h.
      2. Any Minor: 16–20 s.h.
      3. Other
        1. CHEM 201* and 202*: 8 s.h.
        2. Math 133* and one of these choices:
          1. MATH 134*; or
          2. CS 114; or
          3. STAT 171*: 7–8 s.h.
        3. One of these choices:
          1. BOT 200* and ZOOL 200*; or
          2. PHYS 124 and 125; or
          3. PHYS 211* and 212: 8–10 s.h.
        4. Foreign language and computer programming are strongly recommended. For students interested in pursuing a career in the field of environmental/hydrogeology, the following elective course is strongly recommended:
          GEOL 380.
          Other recommended courses are: GEOL 375 and 421.
    2. Paleontology
      1. Directed Electives: BOT 200* or ZOOL 200*: 4 s.h.
      2. Minor in Botany or Zoology: 17 s.h.
      3. Open Electives: 0–2 s.h.
        Suggested courses: BIOL 312, 459; ZOOL 321, 325; ANTH 310, 417; GEOL 420
      4. Other: 23–26 s.h.
        1. MATH 133*
        2. STAT 171* or MATH 134*
        3. CHEM 201*
        4. CHEM 202*
        5. PHYS 124 or PHYS 211*
        6. PHYS 125 or PHYS 212

# The foreign language/global issues graduation requirement may be fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following: 1) a designated foreign language requirement [see Foreign Language/Global Issues Requirement) a General Education global issues course; 3) any major’s discipline-specific global issues course; or 4) an approved Study Abroad program.
* 10–19 s.h. may count toward the University General Education requirement for the Geology option and 16 s.h. for the Paleontology option.
† GEOL 320 and GEOL 340 fulfill the Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) graduation requirement.


Minor in Geology: 18 s.h.
  1. GEOL 110, 112: 8 s.h.
  2. Departmental Electives chosen from among: 10 s.h.
    GEOL 200, 301, 310, 320, 330, 340, 375, 380, 420, 421

Course Descriptions


110 Introduction to the Earth. (4) (General Education/Natural Sciences) The study of the earth, its composition, structure, landscape development, internal processes, origin, and evolution. Laboratory includes introduction to minerals, rocks, and maps. No prerequisites. 3 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab. IAI: P1 907L.

112 History of the Earth. (4) (General Education/ Natural Sciences) Physical and biological history of the earth (North America emphasis). Origin of continents, mountains, oceans, etc.; evolution of plants and animals. No prerequisites. 3 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab. IAI: P1 907L.

113 Energy and Earth Resources. (3) (General Education/Natural Sciences) Introduction to energy, water, soil, and mineral resources and the impact of their use on the environment. Does not count toward major or minor in Geology. No prerequisite.

115 Oceanography. (3) (General Education/Natural Sciences) History of ocean exploration, origin and nature of ocean basins, composition and circulation of ocean water, modern developments in oceanography, man and the oceans. Does not count toward major or minor in Geology. No prerequisite.

181 (Cross-listed with BIOL 181) Integrated Science I. (4) (General Education/Natural Sciences) A laboratory course in interdisciplinary science with an emphasis on the nature and evolution of life and Earth. Topics include ecology, natural resources, formation of Earth materials, Earth processes, nutrient cycling, cell biology, genetics, and evolution. (Integrated Science II is PHYS/GEOG 182) Not open to students with credit in BIOL 181. Prerequisite: MATH 099N.

200 Mineralogy. (4) Introduction to crystallography, origin, classification, identification, and occurrence of common minerals. Prerequisite: GEOL 110 or GEOG 121. Student should have basic knowledge of high school or introductory college chemistry. 3 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

301 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology. (3) Origin, texture, mineralogy, mode of emplacement, and alteration of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Phase rule and phase diagrams. Prerequisite: GEOL 200. 2 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

310 Geologic Field Methods. (2) Topographic and geologic mapping methods; measurement and description of stratigraphic sections; field identification of rocks and soils; use of Brunton compass, laser transit, GPS, and GIS software. Prerequisite: GEOL 110 or 112. 1 hr. lect.; 4 hrs. lab. First 10 weeks.

320 Structural Geology. (4) Physical properties of rocks, theories of flow and fracture, description of structural features, and origin of rock deformation. Geometric and stereographic diagrams. Interpretation of patterns. Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) course. Prerequisites: GEOL 110 and high school or college trigonometry; ENG 280. Possible field trip. 3 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

330 Paleontology. (4) Survey of major groups of fossil-forming organisms, emphasizing invertebrates, their preservation, morphology, ecology, taxonomy, and methods used in their study. Prerequisite: GEOL 112 or a course in basic Biology or consent of instructor. 3 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

340 Stratigraphy and Sedimentology. (4) Origin and identification of sedimentary rocks, depositional environments, sedimentary processes, principles of stratigraphy. Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) course. Prerequisites: GEOL 110, GEOL 112, and ENG 280, or permission of instructor. Required field trip. 3 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

361, 362 Summer Field Camp. (3–6 each, not repeatable) Measurement of stratigraphic and structural sections, geological field mapping, and preparation of reports. Prerequisites: GEOL 200, 301, 310, 320, 340, or consent of instructor. At field station in South Dakota.

375 Environmental Geology. (3) Application of geology to environmental problems. Land resource planning, solid and liquid waste disposal, mining, foundations structures, geologic hazards, mineral and energy resources. Prerequisite: GEOL 110.

380 Hydrogeology. (4) Study of water’s interaction with geologic materials; principles of groundwater flow; aquifer testing; groundwater flow modeling programs; water chemistry and pollutants. Many labs are conducted in the field. Prerequisite: GEOL 110 or GEOG 121. 3 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

420 Geomorphology. (3) Advanced study of the landscape involving processes, geologic structure, and time. Map and air photo interpretation. Prerequisite: GEOL 110 or GEOG 121. Field trips. 2 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

421 Glacial Geology. (3) Origin and classification of glacial sediments and land forms, periglacial features; Pleistocene soils; stratigraphy and sedimentology of Pleistocene deposits. Prerequisite: GEOL 110. Field trip. 2 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab.

450 Geology of National Parks and Monuments. (1–3, repeatable to 3) Basic geologic processes and principles are used to explain the geological history and features of selected national parks and monuments. Lecture course supplemented with slides, maps, and specimens from areas to be studied. No prerequisite.

460 Special Problems in Geology and Geophysics. (1–5, repeatable to 5) Research problems. Does not count toward minor in Geology. Prerequisite: consent of instructor prior to registration.

461 Geologic Field Trips. (1–4, repeatable to 4) Field trips in geology or geophysics. Does not fulfill requirement for a minor in Geology. Prerequisite: GEOL 110, or GEOL 112, or concurrent registration in these courses and consent of instructor.

462 Honors Research Thesis. (2–3, repeatable to 3 to complete project) Research problems by agreement of student and advisory committee. Required: written proposal, final written report, and oral report. Prerequisites: GPA of 3.40 overall and 3.20 in Geology, completed 26 s.h. in Geology, junior or senior standing, and approval of advisory committee.

495 Geology Internship. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Credit for geologic work experience in a business, governmental, or research organization. Internship project report required. Prerequisites: 20 s.h. of Geology courses, junior or senior standing in Geology, and approval of department chairperson. Graded S/U only.