Geosciences, Geology Concentration, B.S.

Geosciences

Learn to analyze data and utilize the latest technology to study minerals, soil, fossils, water, and other environmental factors.

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Geosciences, Geology Concentration, B.S.

Physical geographers' ability to analyze and integrate aspects of the Earth's physical and human environments makes them attractive for a variety of jobs. The training in computer-based cartography, remote sensing, and the use of geographic information systems that geospatial analysis graduates receive is especially valuable as this tech is a major growth area in all areas of professional geosciences.

The Geosciences department prepares students to excel in earth- and environment-related careers in public service, the private sector, and education. Job demand is high with the prevalence of long-term issues such as climate change, dwindling natural resources, transitioning to renewable energy supplies, and hazard mitigation.

MTSU has one of the Southeast's largest undergraduate programs, but a student-faculty ratio of 15 to 1 allows personal attention. The department offers a major in Geoscience with concentrations in Geology and Physical Geography, a major in Environmental Science, and a master's program in geoscience.

Students in the Physical Geography concentration may choose from two distinct tracks:

  • Geospatial Analysis, which has a focus on the geographic technologies
  • Physical Geography, which has a broader look at our Earth and the connections between humans and the environment

The Bachelor of Science in Geosciences is offered through the College of Basic and Applied Sciences at MTSU.

Careers
Requirements
Faculty
Information
Careers
Requirements
Faculty
Information

News Briefs

GIS lab, faculty offer undergrads research opportunities

GIS lab, faculty offer undergrads research opportunities

Dr. Jeremy Aber is among MTSU faculty working with Geosciences majors to utilize the university's geographic information system (GIS) lab. Aber has a blimp and kites to take aerial photography in addition to the UAS capacity of the university in the Aerospace program. Other research includes using geotagged Tweets to map social media in Tennessee and air and water quality testing in the Murfreesboro area to investigate the potential impacts of the nearby landfill. His geosciences research taps into the variety of available technology — from lab resources to cell phones, GPS, Twitter, and even videogames. MTSU's GIS lab is comparable to major research institutions with equipment, technology and software for all kinds of projects, Aber says. Named in honor of retired department chair Ralph Fullerton, the lab has projects ranging from historical to remote sensing to satellite imaging. Since moving to the newly-renovated Davis Science Building, the Geosciences department's geospatial technology capacity has gained more space and capacity to support students.

Geosciences majors learn through field experiences

Geosciences majors learn through field experiences

Field trips are an essential part of the learning process in the Department of Geosciences. Faculty regularly lead students on weekend field trips throughout the southeastern United States. During these trips, students study the geologic history of their field areas and learn important field skills such as geoscience data collection and interpretation, synthesizing geological histories, report writing, and geologic mapping. In addition to weekend field trips, the department offers extended summer field courses in Colorado, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Pacific Northwest. Field trips are a favorite part of the Geoscience undergraduate experience, allowing opportunities for students to build life-long friendships in scenic and spectacular settings. During most field trips, "home" is a campground from which students embark on daily excursions on which they apply classroom-learned concepts to the "real world." Many students turn their field-trip experiences into faculty-directed research projects, leading to student-authored research publications and conference presentations.

News Briefs

GIS lab, faculty offer undergrads research opportunities

Dr. Jeremy Aber is among MTSU faculty working with Geosciences majors to utilize the university's geographic information system (GIS) lab. Aber has a blimp and kites to take aerial photography in addition to the UAS capacity of the university in the Aerospace program. Other research includes using geotagged Tweets to map social media in Tennessee and air and water quality testing in the Murfreesboro area to investigate the potential impacts of the nearby landfill. His geosciences research taps into the variety of available technology — from lab resources to cell phones, GPS, Twitter, and even videogames. MTSU's GIS lab is comparable to major research institutions with equipment, technology and software for all kinds of projects, Aber says. Named in honor of retired department chair Ralph Fullerton, the lab has projects ranging from historical to remote sensing to satellite imaging. Since moving to the newly-renovated Davis Science Building, the Geosciences department's geospatial technology capacity has gained more space and capacity to support students.

Geosciences majors learn through field experiences

Field trips are an essential part of the learning process in the Department of Geosciences. Faculty regularly lead students on weekend field trips throughout the southeastern United States. During these trips, students study the geologic history of their field areas and learn important field skills such as geoscience data collection and interpretation, synthesizing geological histories, report writing, and geologic mapping. In addition to weekend field trips, the department offers extended summer field courses in Colorado, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Pacific Northwest. Field trips are a favorite part of the Geoscience undergraduate experience, allowing opportunities for students to build life-long friendships in scenic and spectacular settings. During most field trips, "home" is a campground from which students embark on daily excursions on which they apply classroom-learned concepts to the "real world." Many students turn their field-trip experiences into faculty-directed research projects, leading to student-authored research publications and conference presentations.

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CAREERS

The global demand for geoscientists in areas such as environmental consulting, renewable energy, mining, and the rapidly expanding field of geographic information systems (GIS) far exceeds the current supply.

Graduates often go on to earn master's and doctoral degrees at some of the nation's most prestigious research universities or work in geoscience-related professions such as park service, science journalism, and science education.

Career options include working for planning, emergency management, environmental, and conservation agencies at all levels of government as well as military contracting. In industry, many firms including retail chains, financial institutions, insurance companies, and real estate agencies employ geographers to collect and analyze data that relate to the services they provide. A range of NGOs working in areas of the environment, sustainability, and the protection of indigenous ways of life are available too.

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • ARCADIS 
  • Arnold Air Force Base 
  • ATC Associates 
  • Bauer Foundation Corp. 
  • Chesapeake Energy 
  • Doe Run Mining 
  • Esri 
  • Middle schools and high schools 
  • Murfreesboro Planning Department 
  • Notre Dame University 
  • Nyrstar Mining 
  • Rutherford County Planning Commission 
  • Signal Hill Petroleum 
  • Smyrna Planning Department 
  • Southwestern Energy 
  • St. John Engineering 
  • Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation 
  • Tennessee Department of Transportation 
  • Tennessee State Parks 
  • Texas Christian University 
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
  • University of Memphis 
  • University of Oklahoma 
  • Vanderbilt University 
  • Wiser Co. 

REQUIREMENTS

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FACULTY

INFORMATION

Environmental and Human Society Minor Requirements

Environment and Human Society Minor

History
Advisor: Lynn Nelson

The interdisciplinary minor in Environment and Human Society helps students who want to explore their relationship with the natural world in ways other than advanced scientific research. Students taking this minor will have the opportunity to look at many different aspects of our attempts to understand and solve environmental problems. Classes are offered in anthropology, biology, English, environmental science and technology, geography, history, journalism, philosophy, and recreation and leisure services. Students considering pursuing a career focusing on environmental matters, those in the sciences hoping to broaden their understanding of environmental issues, or anyone interested in learning more about humanity's relationship with the environment should consider this minor.

The Environment and Human Society minor requires 18 semester hours from the following courses. Students may not count more than 6 hours in any one department, or more than 6 hours of classes offered through the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. Other specific requirements are explained below.

Interdisciplinary Minors

Interdisciplinary minors require the student to complete a minimum of 15 to 21 hours from a list of specific courses. Unless otherwise noted, a student may take no more than 6 hours of courses from a single department until he or she surpasses the required minimum number of hours necessary for completing the minor. Exceptions to this rule may be found within the discussions of several of the minors. In most cases, a student is also limited to just 3 hours of credit toward the minor in the same department or discipline in which he or she is taking a major. Students must fulfill all departmental prerequisites for any course within an interdisciplinary minor. In some cases, advisors may approve course substitutions within these program requirements.

Required Courses (18 hours)

Select 18 hours from the following:

  • ANTH 3310 - Biological Anthropology  3 credit hours  

    ANTH 3310 - Biological Anthropology

    3 credit hours

    Biological anthropology answer the questions "Where did we come from, how did we get here, and what are we doing now?" from a biological anthropology perspective. Human origins and evolution; paleoanthropology; genetics and heredity; primate taxonomy and behavior; human variation and diversity; human adaptation and environment.

  • ANTH 3720 - Environmental Anthropology  3 credit hours  

    ANTH 3720 - Environmental Anthropology

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: 3 hours anthropology or geography. Comparative study of ecological systems utilized by tribal, peasant, and industrialized peoples of the world. Special attention on theoretical approaches examining the interface of the environment and culture, the evolution of modes of subsistence, and contemporary development and indigenous people.

  • ANTH 4620 - Environmental Archaeology  3 credit hours  

    ANTH 4620 - Environmental Archaeology

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: 3 hours from the following: ANTH 2210, ANTH 3210, ANTH 3310, ANTH 3520, or ANTH 4950. The interdisciplinary reconstruction of prehistoric environments using archaeological methods with a focus on geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, and archaeobotany. How past environments affect human adaptation and how humans impact the environment.

  • BIOL 4540 - Topics in Environmental Education  1 to 4 credit hours  

    BIOL 4540 - Topics in Environmental Education

    1 to 4 credit hours

    Prerequisites:Junior standing or above and permission of department.  An intensive classroom and field study of natural science and resources in Tennessee. Special emphasis on data collection, analysis, and problem solving. Target groups are upper-division students in biology and education. Consult the department chair for specific credits and costs. THIS COURSE DOES NOT APPLY TO THE BIOLOGY MAJOR OR MINOR.

  • ENGL 3300 - Native American Literature  3 credit hours  

    ENGL 3300 - Native American Literature

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Completion of 1000- and 2000-level English requirements with a grade of C- or better. Introduces oral and written literature of native America in its cultural, historical, and aesthetic contexts, with special emphasis on fiction, poetry, and autobiography.

  • ENGL 4900 - Selected Topics in Literature and Language  3 credit hours  

    ENGL 4900 - Selected Topics in Literature and Language

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Completion of 1000- and 2000-level English requirements with a grade of C- or better. A selected author, genre, period, tradition, or context of literary or linguistic inquiry. The field will vary with instructor.

  • ENVS 2810 - Introduction to Environmental Science  3 credit hours  

    ENVS 2810 - Introduction to Environmental Science

    3 credit hours

    The technical, economic, and political aspects of environmental science. Introduces specific problems dealing with many pollution issues. An overview of energy production processes and climate-related impacts, industrial and agricultural pollution problems, air, noise, solid and hazardous wastes, along with economic and environmental concerns.

  • GEOG 3120 - Geography of Tennessee and the South  3 credit hours  

    GEOG 3120 - Geography of Tennessee and the South

    3 credit hours

    Geography's influence upon Tennessee and the American South's development in local, regional, national, and global contexts. Examines the physical, cultural, political, and economic geographies and their role in shaping the state and the region. (Offered upon sufficient demand)

  • GEOG 3410 - Cultures and Landscapes of the United States and Canada  3 credit hours  

    GEOG 3410 - Cultures and Landscapes of the United States and Canada

    3 credit hours

    Study of cultural and physical features of the U.S. and Canada with focus on culture regions, settlements patterns, natural resources, and cultural landscapes. (Fall odd-numbered years)

  • GEOG 3420 - Latin America in the 21st Century: Challenges, New Opportunities  3 credit hours  

    GEOG 3420 - Latin America in the 21st Century: Challenges, New Opportunities

    3 credit hours

    Comprehensive survey of the human and physical geographies of Latin America. Examines the ecological, historical, cultural, economic, and political processes that shape the region. Emphasis placed on socioeconomic development, migration, globalization, and linkages. (Spring odd-numbered years)

  • GEOG 3430 - Geographical Approach to Contemporary Europe  3 credit hours  

    GEOG 3430 - Geographical Approach to Contemporary Europe

    3 credit hours

    Explores the past and present physical and cultural processes that influence Europe (including Russia) by examining ideas and concepts about economics, politics, culture identity, environment, and territory from a geographical perspective. (Fall even-numbered years)

  • GEOG 3440 - Geography of Asia and Pacific Rim  3 credit hours  

    GEOG 3440 - Geography of Asia and Pacific Rim

    3 credit hours

    Inclusive geographic survey of sub-regions of Asia such as Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Asia along with areas comprising the Pacific Rim. Focus on linkages and diversity within this geographic region specifically those dealing with culture, religion, politics, economies, resources, transnationalism, migrations, and globalization. Emphasis on Japan, China, India, and Pacific Rim.

  • GEOG 3470 - Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa  3 credit hours  

    GEOG 3470 - Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa

    3 credit hours

    Cultural and physical geography of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Emphasis on geography of humans specifically their demographics, settlement patterns, urbanization, internal and external migrations, ethnicity and ethnic tensions, humans and natural resources, and globalization. (Spring even-numbered years)

  • PGEO 1030 - Physical Geography  4 credit hours  

    PGEO 1030 - Physical Geography

    4 credit hours

    The physical earth as the home of humans. The global earth in space, tools of the discipline, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere. Field trips may be required. Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory per week.

  • PGEO 4280 - Special Topics and Problems in Physical Geography  1 to 6 credit hours  

    PGEO 4280 - Special Topics and Problems in Physical Geography

    1 to 6 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of department. Research participation or guided readings in a particular area or topic appropriate to the student's interest and professional objectives.

  • GEOG 4340 - Historical Geography  3 credit hours  

    GEOG 4340 - Historical Geography

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: GEOG 2000 or permission of instructor. The changing human geography of the United States during four centuries of settlement and development. Emphasis on changing population patterns as well as patterns of urban and rural settlement. (Spring odd-numbered years)

  • GEOG 4480 - Recreational and Tourism Geography  3 credit hours  

    GEOG 4480 - Recreational and Tourism Geography

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Junior standing. A geographical analysis of natural and cultural factors influencing use of space for recreation and tourism. Concepts and themes such as globalization's influence on recreation and tourism, long-term sustainability of recreational space/place, cultural landscapes of tourism, and public geography/history and the role of interpretation of places examined. (Offered upon sufficient demand)

  • GEOG 4500 - Geography of the Middle East and North Africa  3 credit hours  

    GEOG 4500 - Geography of the Middle East and North Africa

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Junior standing. Situated at the intersection of Europe, Africa and Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa together form a complex and dynamic region linked by similarities such as environment, culture, and religion. Explores the geography of the region emphasizing current issues such as population and migration, religion, conflict, natural resources, geo-political alliances and globalization. (Spring odd-numbered years)

  • GEOG 4540 - Geography of Indigenous Peoples  3 credit hours  

    GEOG 4540 - Geography of Indigenous Peoples

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: junior standing. Historical and current examination of indigenous peoples from a geographic perspective including their locations(s), history, diffusion and migration, human/land relationships, cultural traits, and cultural landscapes. (Offered upon sufficient demand)

  • HIST 3020 - Topics in American History  3 credit hours  

    HIST 3020 - Topics in American History

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Six hours of HIST 2010, HIST 2020, HIST 2030, HIST 2040, or HIST 2050. A detailed analysis of a topic pertinent to U.S. history. Topics vary from year to year. May be taken more than once for credit with different topic.

  • HIST 3030 - Topics in African American History  3 credit hours  

    HIST 3030 - Topics in African American History

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Six hours of HIST 2010, HIST 2020, HIST 2030, HIST 2040, or HIST 2050. A seminar course exploring selected topics and problems in the African-American experience since 1619. Possible topics include the Great Migration, the life and work of Malcolm X, Pan-Africanism, Caribbean enslavement, the African American church, the African American woman, African American education, and the Harlem Renaissance.  May repeat for up to six credit hours.

  • HIST 3040 - Topics in American Cultural History  3 credit hours  

    HIST 3040 - Topics in American Cultural History

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Six hours of HIST 2010, HIST 2020, HIST 2030, HIST 2040, or HIST 2050. Literature, arts, social sciences, and popular culture examined with regard to a particular topic (such as the history of morality or the history of cultural rebellion) in order to understand how Americans have reacted to conflicting values in society. May be taken more than once for credit with different topic (up to six credit hours).

  • HIST 3070 - Topics in World History  3 credit hours  

    HIST 3070 - Topics in World History

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Three hours of HIST 1010, HIST 1020, HIST 1110, or HIST 1120. A detailed examination of a topic pertinent to world history. Topics vary. May be taken more than once for credit with different topic.

  • HIST 4640 - Environmental History  3 credit hours  

    HIST 4640 - Environmental History

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Six hours of HIST 2010, HIST 2020, HIST 2030, HIST 2040, or HIST 2050. Traces environmental change in America from European contact to the present and from wilderness to suburbia. Explains impact of growth, settlement, and resource exploitation on our national landscape and institutions.

  • JOUR 3520 - Special Topics in Professional Issues  3 credit hours  

    JOUR 3520 - Special Topics in Professional Issues

    3 credit hours

    (Same as ADV/PR/VCOM 3520.) Prerequisites: JOUR 3090 or JOUR 3430 or permission from the School of Journalism. Special topics in journalism, advertising, public relations, and visual communication focusing on practical applications. Topics change each semester and have included investigative, environmental, sports, and political reporting; visual editing; international public relations; and advertising account management. May be repeated up to 6 credits.

  • JOUR 3530 - Feature Writing  3 credit hours  

    JOUR 3530 - Feature Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: JOUR 2710 or permission of instructor. Theory and practice of writing feature stories for newspapers and magazines. Assignments in writing for professional publications as well as the student newspaper.

  • LSTS 4580 - Seminar in Recreation and Tourism Impacts  3 credit hours  

    LSTS 4580 - Seminar in Recreation and Tourism Impacts

    3 credit hours

    Increases awareness of the importance of environmental considerations when planning, managing, or administering outdoor recreation programs. Includes environmental issues and methods of seeking solutions to environmental problems.

  • PHIL 4800 - Readings in Philosophy  3 credit hours  

    PHIL 4800 - Readings in Philosophy

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Directed study concerning a particular philosophical problem or thinker.

NOTE:

* Environmental science class; students must complete 3 hours from one of these courses.
** Regional geography class. Students can only count 3 hours toward a minor.
*** Special topics class. Content and projects must meet the mission of the Environment and Human Society minor. Check with the minor advisor for the applicability of each class.

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