William P. Anderson, Jr., Chair
Full Faculty Listing
The fundamental purpose of the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences is to promote a scientific understanding of Earth systems - an awareness essential to an environmentally sound and sustainable future for the human race. The Department houses two complementary and related disciplines: Geology and Environmental Science. Geology, also known as Earth Science, is a broad field that applies the core sciences of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics to the study of the Earth. Geology is unique in that we study a range of spatial scales - from the scale of microns to the scale of continents - and temporal scales - from waves interacting with a shoreline at scales of seconds to tectonic processes that take hundreds of millions of years. Environmental Science is similar in its approach in that it also combines the core sciences with the study of the interactions between humans and the natural environment. Environmental scientists also focus on the development and management of resources in a sustainable manner with a focus on important modern concerns. Consistent throughout both disciplines, however, is our use of the Earth as a natural laboratory.
The specific purposes of the Geology Program are:
- To provide all students with the opportunity to learn about the nature of science and basic scientific principles through the study of Geology;
- To introduce students to the many ways in which Geology is interwoven into the fabric of modern civilization;
- To provide students with an understanding of the interrelationships of the basic parts of Earth Systems;
- To provide students who seek a career in Geology with the sound background for productive work in the profession and in graduate studies;
- To provide present and future teachers with the knowledge and methods necessary for competent instruction in the Earth/Environmental Sciences; and
- To provide members of the public with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Earth Systems of which they are a part through outreach efforts.
A major in Geology leading to either the Bachelor of Arts degree or the Bachelor of Science (non-teaching) degree is appropriate for those students who intend to pursue graduate studies in Geology. The Bachelor of Science (non-teaching) degree is recommended for students who seek a career at the Bachelor degree level. The Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Earth/Environmental Science Secondary Education recommended for students who wish to pursue a career teaching Earth/Environmental Science or comprehensive science at the secondary level.
Honors Program in Geology
The Geology Program within the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences offers an honors program in geology. Admission to the honors program requires completion of GLY 2250 (Evolution of the Earth lecture and lab) and a minimum grade-point average, both overall and in the major, of 3.40. To graduate with “honors in geology,” a student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.45, overall and in geology, and must take a total of nine semester hours of geology with honors at the 2000 level or above with a grade of “B” or better in each course. The required honors thesis in geology is the three-credit course GLY 4510 (Senior Honors Thesis). The Geology Honors Thesis must be approved by two readers, with the thesis director from the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, in order to graduate with honors in geology.
Environmental Science Program
The Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science within the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences is designed for students desiring a broad and interdisciplinary approach to studies in environmental science. Although several science departments at Appalachian State University offer ecology, environmental, and/or applied concentrations within their specific disciplines, the interdisciplinary nature of this degree allows students the option of pursuing a degree that crosses traditional departmental borders and capitalizes on Appalachian’s cross-disciplinary expertise in the area of environmental sciences.
Coursework for the degree is necessarily rigorous and comprises a comprehensive science and math base as well as core environmental science courses across the various disciplines of biology, chemistry, geography and planning, geology, and physics and astronomy. The program offers students some latitude to focus on additional courses within a desired discipline and culminates in the completion of a senior capstone course (ENV 4105, 4110, 4510) that challenges the students to employ multi-disciplinary and cooperative approaches to solving environmental issues.
The primary objectives of this degree are to provide students with the scientific knowledge and the analytical and communication skills necessary for careers in the environmental industry, government, and business as well as post-graduate studies in various academic disciplines related to the environmental sciences.
Honors Program in Environmental Science
The Environmental Science Program within the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences offers an honors program which culminates in a senior honors research and thesis course (ENV 4510 ) open to majors in Environmental Science with an outstanding undergraduate record. In order to graduate with “honors in environmental science,” a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.45 overall and in environmental science, and must take nine semester hours of honors credit in environmental science including ENV 3560 (or the equivalent, as approved by the environmental science program director) and ENV 4510 (with a grade of “B” or higher). Students must apply for consideration of “honors in environmental science” with the environmental science program honors coordinator. To satisfy the nine semester hours of honors credit requirement, students may take honors courses or honors course sections in biology, chemistry, geology, or physics (with permission of the appropriate department chair) or students may arrange to take specific additional environmental science or science courses on an honors basis by negotiating an honors contract with the course instructor before class begins. The honors contract, which must be approved by the environmental science program honors coordinator, allows the student to receive honors credit for a regular course in environmental science or other science departments by specifying the additional assignments that the student must perform in order to receive honors credit.
ProgramsBachelor of ScienceBachelor of ArtsMinor