• A low student-teacher ratio at MTSU assures one-on-one learning
  • Professor Warner Cribb explains the structure of the Valles Caldera
    in New Mexico
    during a field trip
  • MTSU students learn from experiences outside the classroom
  • Geology students are on the crater rim of Mt. St. Helens volcano

Geoscience

Geosciences prepares students to excel in earth-related careers in public service, the private sector, and education. Job demand is high with the prevalence of long-term issues like changing energy supplies, dwindling natural resources, climate change, and natural disasters. MTSU has one of the Southeast's largest undergraduate programs, but a student-faculty ratio of 10 to 1 allows personal attention. Concentrations in geology and physical geography are offered, and a master’s program is available.

GIS lab, faculty offer undergrads research opportunities

Jeremy Aber is among MTSU faculty working with Geosciences majors to utilize the university’s geographic information system (GIS) lab. Through a research grant, Aber is involved in a Board of Regents partnership with Austin Peay to conduct geosciences research with the help of undergraduates.  Among his planned projects, Aber has a blimp and kites to take aerial photography using a digital infrared camera to monitor vegetation around Murfreesboro’s public greenway located next to Stones River. Other research includes an augmented reality app to expose hidden geographies and using geotagged Tweets to map various phenomena. 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. Space will be expanded with a move by 2016 to the under-renovation Davis Science Building.

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.

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

Graduates also 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.

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • ARCADIS
  • Arnold Air Force Base
  • ATC Associates
  • Bauer Foundation Corp.
  • Chesapeake Energy
  • Doe Run Mining
  • 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.

The MTSU Department of Geosciences offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Geoscience, with concentrations in Geology and Physical Geography.

  • Geology students choose from three career tracks: Geology, Earth Science, and Earth Science Education.
  • Physical Geography students choose between two career tracks: Physical Geography and Geospatial Analysis.
  • Minors are offered in Geology/Earth Science, Physical Geography, and Remote Sensing (see requirements below).

The department also offers a Master of Science with a major in Professional Science and a concentration in Geoscience, often called a Professional Science Master’s degree. Students in this program choose among three tracks: Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Environmental Geosystems, and General Geoscience. All graduate students are required to complete a pre-professional internship.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

Requirements for minors

Geology/Earth Science

Required Courses (8 hours)

Electives (10-14 hours)

  •  10-14 hours at the 3000 level or above

Physical Geography

The minor in Physical Geography requires 18 hours (all in courses with a PGEO designation) to be selected by the student and approved by a member of the faculty assigned as advisor. The minor will be specific enough to support the student’s career plans.

Remote Sensing

Required Courses (18 hours)

Physical Geography Geospatial Analysis Earth Science for Teachers Earth Science Geology Career 


Geoscience, Physical Geography Concentration (Geospatial Analysis), B.S.

Department of Geosciences 
615-904-8372
Henrique Momm, program coordinator
Henrique.Momm@mtsu.edu

This program is designed for students who plan to become professional geographers or who wish to pursue graduate study in physical geography and/or related fields.

Academic Map

Following is a printable, suggested four-year schedule of courses:

Geoscience, Physical Geography (Geospatial Analysis), B.S. Academic Map  

Degree Requirements

General Education (41 hours)

General Education requirements (shown in curricular listings below) include courses in Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Sciences.

Major Requirements (42 hours)

A minimum GPA of 2.00 is required in the major.

  • GEOL 1030 - Introduction to Earth Science

    3 credit hours

    Corequisite: GEOL 1031. The earth and its relationship to its space and environment emphasized. Forces and processes which combine to mold the face of the earth and its atmosphere, as well as the internal constitution of the earth. Three hours lecture. Together, GEOL 1030 and GEOL 1031 satisfy 4 hours of the Natural Sciences portion of the General Education requirement.

OR

  • GEOL 1040 - Physical Geology  4 credit hours  AND 

    GEOL 1040 - Physical Geology

    4 credit hours

    Corequisite: GEOL 1041. The origin, composition, and structure of the solid earth: rock-forming minerals; igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks; earthquakes and plate tectonics; surface processes; geologic time. Identification and description of minerals and rocks in hand sample. Use of topographic and geologic maps. Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory per week.

 

  • 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.

  • GEOL 4050 - Meteorology  3 credit hours  

    GEOL 4050 - Meteorology

    3 credit hours

    A general, non-mathematical introduction to the atmosphere. Emphasis on main elements such as temperature, precipitation, clouds, and humidity. In-depth analysis of storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes and human alteration of the atmosphere such as the ozone hole. Weather forecasting and climate change.

  • PGEO 3401 - Field Studies in Physical Geography

    4 credit hours

    Supervised study in some geographical area, preceded by classroom preview and concluded by a time of evaluation. Emphasis on natural and cultural elements of the environment with special attention directed toward the pattern of human occupancy. For fees and specific credit, consult the instructor.

  • PGEO 4380 - Cartography  4 credit hours  

    PGEO 4380 - Cartography

    4 credit hours

    General knowledge of the field including familiarity with the techniques and tools of professional cartography and graphics. Selected lectures, class discussions, and a series of map construction assignments. Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory per week.

  • PGEO 4490 - Remote Sensing  4 credit hours  

    PGEO 4490 - Remote Sensing

    4 credit hours

    The various aspects of remote sensing such as radar, satellite imagery, and infrared data. Use of data in preparation of maps and application to land use and environmental problems examined. Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory per week.

  • PGEO 4530 - Geographic Information Systems

    3 credit hours

    Lecture and laboratory work relative to computer-manipulated geographic data base. Laboratory work will involve experience in practical application of a geographic information system (GIS) to problem solving.

  • PGEO 4560 - Intermediate Geographic Information Systems

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PGEO 4530. Lecture and laboratory work related to the principles and applications of geographic information (GIS). Continued training in GIS analysis including raster analysis, spatial analysis, network analysis, and geocoding. Examines data management including data editing and geodatabase design and creation. Other topics include resource management, demographic, and civic applications.

  • GEOL 4020 - Geomorphic Regions of the United States

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: GEOL 1030/GEOL 1031 or GEOL 1040/GEOL 1041. Origin, regional distribution, and geomorphic features and history of landforms of the United States. Students will be required to analyze maps, structure sections, and aerial photography to determine geomorphic forms and the forces and processes that produced these forms. Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory per week.

 

  • PGEO or GEOL electives 9 credit hours

Cognate (18 hours)

  • MATH 1530 - Applied Statistics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Two years of high school algebra and a Math Enhanced ACT 19 or greater or equivalent. Descriptive statistics, probability, and statistical inference. The inference unit covers means, proportions, and variances for one and two samples, and topics from one-way ANOVA, regression and correlation analysis, chi-square analysis, and nonparametrics.

  • Mentor-approved College of Basic and Sciences electives 15 credit hours

Electives (19 hours)

  • Mentor approved

Total hours in program: 120

 

Curriculum: Geoscience, Physical Geography (Geospatial Analysis)

Curricular listings include General Education requirements in Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Sciences categories.

Following is a suggested pattern of study for the first two years; however, consultation with the assigned advisor is necessary before registration.

Freshman

 

  • ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing  3 credit hours  (Comm) 

    ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing

    3 credit hours

    The first General Education English course. Emphasis on learning to adapt composing processes to a variety of expository and analytic writing assignments. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • ENGL 1020 - Research and Argumentative Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: ENGL 1010. The second General Education English course. Emphasis on analytic and argumentative writing and on locating, organizing, and using library resource materials in the writing. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • COMM 2200 - Fundamentals of Communication  3 credit hours  (Comm) 

    COMM 2200 - Fundamentals of Communication

    3 credit hours

    Principles and processes of effective public oral communication including researching, critical thinking, organizing, presenting, listening, and using appropriate language. Emphasis on informative, persuasive, special occasion, and extemporaneous (impromptu) speaking. Counts as part of the General Education Communication requirement.

  • 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.

  • GEOL 4050 - Meteorology  3 credit hours  

    GEOL 4050 - Meteorology

    3 credit hours

    A general, non-mathematical introduction to the atmosphere. Emphasis on main elements such as temperature, precipitation, clouds, and humidity. In-depth analysis of storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes and human alteration of the atmosphere such as the ozone hole. Weather forecasting and climate change.

  • Social/Behavioral Sciences 3 credit hours
  • Mathematics 3 credit hours
  • Natural Sciences 4 credit hours

 

  • GEOL 1030 - Introduction to Earth Science

    3 credit hours

    Corequisite: GEOL 1031. The earth and its relationship to its space and environment emphasized. Forces and processes which combine to mold the face of the earth and its atmosphere, as well as the internal constitution of the earth. Three hours lecture. Together, GEOL 1030 and GEOL 1031 satisfy 4 hours of the Natural Sciences portion of the General Education requirement.

OR

  • GEOL 1040 - Physical Geology  4 credit hours  AND 

    GEOL 1040 - Physical Geology

    4 credit hours

    Corequisite: GEOL 1041. The origin, composition, and structure of the solid earth: rock-forming minerals; igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks; earthquakes and plate tectonics; surface processes; geologic time. Identification and description of minerals and rocks in hand sample. Use of topographic and geologic maps. Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory per week.

Subtotal: 30 Hours

 

Sophomore

 

  • ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) OR 

    ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Traces a specific theme or idea through a number of literary texts that reflect different historical and cultural contexts. Subject will vary.

  • ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) OR 

    ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. The reading of a variety of literary types which illuminate themes and experiences common to human existence.

  • HUM 2610 - Foreign Literature in Translation  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) 

    HUM 2610 - Foreign Literature in Translation

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Representative works of French, German, and Hispanic authors in English translation. No foreign-language proficiency required. Carries General Education credit.

 

  • MATH 1530 - Applied Statistics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Two years of high school algebra and a Math Enhanced ACT 19 or greater or equivalent. Descriptive statistics, probability, and statistical inference. The inference unit covers means, proportions, and variances for one and two samples, and topics from one-way ANOVA, regression and correlation analysis, chi-square analysis, and nonparametrics.

  • PGEO 4380 - Cartography  4 credit hours  

    PGEO 4380 - Cartography

    4 credit hours

    General knowledge of the field including familiarity with the techniques and tools of professional cartography and graphics. Selected lectures, class discussions, and a series of map construction assignments. Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory per week.

  • PGEO 4490 - Remote Sensing  4 credit hours  

    PGEO 4490 - Remote Sensing

    4 credit hours

    The various aspects of remote sensing such as radar, satellite imagery, and infrared data. Use of data in preparation of maps and application to land use and environmental problems examined. Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory per week.

  • PGEO 4530 - Geographic Information Systems

    3 credit hours

    Lecture and laboratory work relative to computer-manipulated geographic data base. Laboratory work will involve experience in practical application of a geographic information system (GIS) to problem solving.

  • Humanities and/or Fine Arts 3 credit hours
  • Natural Sciences 4 credit hours
  • Cognate elective 3 credit hours

 

Choose 6 hours from:

  • HIST 2010 - Survey of United States History I

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2020 - Survey of United States History II

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2030 - Tennessee History

    3 credit hours

    The role of the state in the development of the nation. May be used to satisfy one part of the General Education History requirement.

Subtotal: 33 Hours

 

Junior

 

  • PGEO 4560 - Intermediate Geographic Information Systems

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PGEO 4530. Lecture and laboratory work related to the principles and applications of geographic information (GIS). Continued training in GIS analysis including raster analysis, spatial analysis, network analysis, and geocoding. Examines data management including data editing and geodatabase design and creation. Other topics include resource management, demographic, and civic applications.

  • Humanities and/or Fine Arts 3 credit hours
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences 3 credit hours
  • PGEO or GEOL elective 3 credit hours
  • Cognate electives 6 credit hours
  • General electives 9 credit hours

Subtotal: 27 Hours

NOTE:

PGEO 3401 (4-hour field course) is required and offered only during summer.

Senior

 

  • GEOL 4020 - Geomorphic Regions of the United States

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: GEOL 1030/GEOL 1031 or GEOL 1040/GEOL 1041. Origin, regional distribution, and geomorphic features and history of landforms of the United States. Students will be required to analyze maps, structure sections, and aerial photography to determine geomorphic forms and the forces and processes that produced these forms. Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory per week.

  • PGEO or GEOL electives 6 credit hours
  • Cognate electives 6 credit hours
  • General electives 10 credit hours

Subtotal: 26 Hours