Geomorphology, soils, paleoenvironments, rock & mineral resources
Geology is the scientific study of the Earth and other planets, and this includes the various components of the planet from the minute scale of atoms to the immense scale of the planet, the solar system, and beyond. Geologists study the materials (minerals, rocks, water, and other natural resources), structures, physical properties, and dynamic processes that take place throughout Earth’s immense geologic history. Geologists also study Earth’s climate (atmosphere), changes in landscapes (lithosphere), oceans (hydrosphere), and the diversity of organisms (biosphere) through time. Geoscientists work to understand the processes of change so that we can make predictions about how the Earth will change in the future, and how we can utilize the resources of our planet in ways that ensure a sustainable future for all of humankind.
Geologists must be skilled at mapping the distribution of the Earth’s natural resources including ground water, surface water, rocks and minerals through space and time (hydrogeology, physical geology). Geologists work to understand plate tectonics and geologic hazards with the ultimate goal of hazard mitigation and to improve human resiliency to such disasters. Geologists are multi-disciplinary and work collaboratively with other scientists to improve standards for engineering and to improve environmental safety (environmental geology) and policies/regulations to ensure a healthier planet. Geologists investigate the processes and patterns of environmental change past and present (historical geology) and help to predict the future of our planet and the organisms that call our planet home.
Here at Shippensburg, students interested in geology can take a range of geoscience courses toward a Geoenvironmental Studies Major, or the newly created Marine Science Minor. Students also have opportunities to take credits toward the requirements for licensure in Pennsylvania as a Professional Geologist (P.G.). Students interested in licensure should consult with faculty early and make a plan to obtain the required courses to be eligible to sit for the professional exam.
Students who major in other disciplines may also take a minor in the Department of Geography and Earth Science and choose courses concentrated in geology. Opportunities abound for majors and minors to take field-based courses including at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station in the summer, and internationally through several of the department’s own field courses. Opportunities exist for student-faculty research, and many students present their research at local, regional, national, and even international venues. Interested students are encouraged to contact a faculty member to discuss potential interests.
The department is continually updating our courses to keep them current and impactful for your future success. Official course descriptions are available in the university catalog here:
Undergraduate: Earth Science | Geography
Graduate: Earth Science | Geography
However, check with your instructor for the most up to date course outline and content as updates may be made.
Example Earth Science Courses (ESS)
ESS 110: Introduction to Geology
ESS 210: Physical Geology
ESS 212: Historical Geology
ESS 214: Geology of National Parks
ESS 220: Oceanography
ESS 397: Introduction to Research
ESS 410: Sedimentary Geology and Paleoenvironments
ESS 413: Mineral and Rock Resources
ESS 442: Environmental Geology
ESS 451: Coastal Environmental Oceanography
ESS 494: Selected Topics: Sedimentary Geology & Paleoenvironments
Example Geography Courses (GEO)
GEO 224: Soils
GEO 226: Hydrology
GEO 301: Introduction to Biogeography
GEO 306: Geomorphology
GEO 404: Groundwater and Hydrogeology
GEO 440: Field Techniques
GEO 450: Geography-Geology Field Studies
GEO 522: Geoenvironmental Hydrology
Example Additional Courses
In addition to the courses above, our membership with the Chincoteague Bay Field Station (see the link below), provides students with opportunities to take 3-week summer courses from other universities and bring those credits and grades back to Shippensburg University. Geology courses such as Marine Geology, Field Methods in Oceanography and other allied science courses such as Marine Biology, Marine Ecology (which has a travel component to Roatan, Honduras) and others are very popular.