2017-18
Undergraduate Degree & Course Catalog

Geological Sciences BS

Geology

126 Cooke Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-3050
716-645-3489
716-645-3999
www.geology.buffalo.edu
Marcus Bursik
Chair
Jason Briner
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Why study Geological Sciences BS at UB?

The Department of Geological Sciences offers an up-to-date curriculum designed to train students to be employable earth and environmental scientists. Most courses comprise both lecture and laboratory environments, where students have hands-on access to geological specimens and state-of-the-art analytical tools to study them. Opportunities for practical field experience exist throughout the curriculum, from 200 level to 400 level, and required coursework is capped by electives in specialized topics and a recommended four-week-long summertime field course that takes place in the western US.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all requirements, the student will have knowledge of:

  • Understanding basic scientific principles and concepts, including the importance of geology in society, geologic time, and geologic history, as well as rudiments of mathematics, chemistry, physics, and statistics with applications to geology.
  • Laboratory and field practice in identifying minerals, rocks, soils, structures, stratigraphy and fossils, and using best practices to design and implement tests using modern methods and techniques.
  • Developing approaches for collection and analysis of information, such as numerical modeling, GIS map construction, and literature searches.
  • Critical thinking, hypothesis formulation and testing; i.e., demonstrating use of the scientific method independently and collaboratively, with hypothesis formulation, testing, analysis, interpretation and evaluation of observation.
  • Demonstrating skill in scientific communication — oral, written and technological.
  • Exhibiting an appreciation of scientific values and professionalism concerning ethical conduct in science, in ownership of ideas and research, and awareness of contemporary social and ethical issues related to geology.
  • Graduates will have the depth of knowledge and skill to interpret and create geologic products; these products include interpreting geologic structures, landforms, and maps and creating field and laboratory notebooks and geologic maps.

The Learning Environment

Courses in the Department of Geological Sciences are focused on the latest concepts in Earth and environmental science with the goal of training the next generation. Introductory courses are typically in large lecture settings with an independent, smaller laboratory course. All remaining class sizes range from 20 to 50 students, most of which involve a hands-on laboratory component. Field trips occur commonly in laboratory periods and/or during weekends. The capstone course is a 4-week-long field-skills class that takes place in the western US in the early summer of students’ junior or senior years. Many geology students have opportunities to work in a hands-on research environment supervised by faculty and graduate students.

About Our Facilities

A variety of teaching and research equipment is available to students enrolled in the geology program. A computer facility within the departmental space is used during many laboratory sections. Our earth materials classroom contains modular student work spaces with state-of-the-art microscopes and other equipment commonly used for mineralogy, petrology and geological specimen preparation, and a sedimentary laboratory is fully stocked with research-grade equipment for analyzing a variety of material properties. A variety of field equipment is available for student use on class field trips and at the summer field school. An abundance of research-grade equipment in faculty labs is available to students working closely with faculty and graduate students.

About Our Faculty

There are 14 full-time faculty members and usually one or two part-time instructors in the department. We also have numerous adjunct, research and emeritus professors. Faculty members have extensive research experience and well-established international reputations. Dr. Charles E. Mitchell received the Milton Plesur Teaching Award, which is presented by the UB Student Association and he has also received the rank of SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor.

Faculty List Directory

Please visit the Geology department website for additional information about our faculty.

Career Outlook

About 22 percent of geoscientists were employed in architectural, engineering, and related services and 19 percent worked for oil and gas extraction companies. State agencies such as state geological surveys and state departments of conservation employed another 9 percent of geoscientists. Eight percent worked for the federal government, including geologists, geophysicists, and oceanographers, mostly within the U.S. Department of the Interior for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and within the U.S. Department of Defense.

Employment projections suggest a 10% increase in all geoscience jobs between 2014 and 2024. Due to the relatively low number of qualified geoscience graduates and the large number of expected retirements, opportunities are expected in most areas of geoscience. Demand will also be spurred by a continuing emphasis on the need for energy, environmental protection, responsible land management, and water-related issues.

Academic Advising

Academic advising is typically handled by a designated faculty member who maintains an open door policy. A popular feature of the department’s academic advising strategy is Advisement Week when the advisor meets with every student in the department just prior to registration for the following term. During these appointments, student success factors, student records, courses completed and yet-to-complete are discussed, as well as upcoming internship and research opportunities.

Academic Advising Contact Information

Scholarships and Financial Support

The Department of Geology has two funds for awards to graduating seniors, one fund that gives a scholarship to a continuing geology student, and another that makes multiple awards to students attending our summer field course (GLY 407). In addition, there is a fund to which student may apply for partial support to attend conferences, workshops and short courses. Details about these awards can be found on the Geology department website.

Published: September 20, 2017 02:36:38 PM