Courses Offered in Geological Science | Salem State University Skip to main content

Geological Science

GLS 100: Dynamic Earth

This course will help students to develop scientific literacy through exploration of a variety of topics in earth science such as climate and climate change, volcanoes, earthquakes, glaciers, oceans, plate tectonics, water resources, mineral resources, rocks and energy. Three lecture hours and one two-hour laboratory per week.

Credits: 4.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Scientific Reasoning, Scientific Reasoning Lab

GLS 102: Evolving Earth

This course exposes students to scientific inquiry and develops scientific literacy through an exploration of Earth and its 4.6 billion year history. Topics covered include the origin and evolution of the planet as well as its climate, atmosphere, oceans, and life forms. Students will use modern scientific methods and analytical skills to interpret geologic samples, structures, data, and maps in the context of Earth history. A focus will be placed on the relevance of past Earth events in light of future environmental conditions. Three lecture hours and one two-hour laboratory per week.

Credits: 4.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Scientific Reasoning, Scientific Reasoning Lab

GLS 108: Geology in the Movies

This course will introduce students to fundamental concepts and processes in geology including geologic hazards (such as earthquakes, volcanoes tsunamis, and sinkholes), environmental issues (such as climate change and groundwater use), and other geologic processes (such as plate tectonics, mass extinction, and origin of life). These topics will be discussed in order to evaluate the appropriateness and accuracy of geology portrayed in movies. Geologic issues that impact society will be explored in-depth. This course is 3 lecture hours per week and will include time outside of lecture to watch movie clips from the required movies.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Scientific Reasoning

GLS 110: Geology of National Parks

Students will explore the geologic processes responsible for creating the unique landscapes preserved in the National Parks System, and how protection of these lands benefits society. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Scientific Reasoning

GLS 115: Geology of the Solar System

This course considers the origin and evolution of our solar system through methods of scientific inquiry and reasoning. The composition, surficial and internal geologic processes that shape and form the planets and satellites of our solar system are considered. Three lecture hours per week.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Scientific Reasoning

GLS 120: Geology and the Environment

This course exposes students to geological inquiry and methods of exploring the natural world. Students will apply the scientific method and analytical skills to understanding water resources and uses, contamination of surface and groundwater by development, mining and energy exploitation, as well as remediation of contaminated geologic environments. Three lecture hours per week. Intended for students not majoring in Geological Sciences.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Scientific Reasoning

GLS 155: Age of Dinosaurs

The Age of Dinosaurs will expose students to scientific inquiry focusing on current scientific theories and controversies surrounding the evolution and extinction of dinosaurs. The course will emphasize the analysis and interpretation of geological and paleontological data and information as a way of introducing students to earth system history, plate tectonics, surface geology, sedimentary processes, fossilization, evolution, and related topics so that the geological and evolutionary processes that have affected the dinosaurs can be explored.

Credits: 3.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Scientific Reasoning

GLS 170H: Honors Physical Geology W/lab

How does the Earth work? Why are the Rocky Mountains in the western U.S.? Why is Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park? Could there be volcanoes on the east coast? Could there be tsunamis? The answers to those questions and more are answered in this course which takes a web-enhanced, project-oriented approach to the study of the Earth. Open only to Honors students or students with at least a GPA of 3.5, not open to students who have received credit for GLS100. Three lecture hours and two hours of laboratory per week.

Credits: 4.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Scientific Reasoning, Scientific Reasoning Lab

GLS 210: Geomorphology

This course is an experiential-based and writing course that focuses on the role of structure, lithology and process in the evolution of landscapes. Three lecture hours and three hours of laboratory per week.
Prerequisite: GLS100 or other introductory GLS class with lab or permission of Department Chairperson, Level I Written Communication Course.

Credits: 4.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Written Communication-Level II

GLS 212: Geological Oceanography

Introduction to the geology and geophysics of the oceans emphasizing mechanisms and processes operating in the marine realm. A broad spectrum of marine geology subjects will be covered including the structure, geophysics, rocks, sediments, microfossils, stratigraphy, and history of the ocean basins and margins. Three lecture hours per week.
Prerequisite: GLS100 or permission of the Department Chairperson.

Credits: 3.00

GLS 221: Mineralogy

Mineral properties and occurrences, hand specimen mineralogy and optical mineralogy of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic minerals as well as symmetry, crystallography and atomic structure of minerals are covered in a project-oriented experiential format. Three lecture hours and three hours of laboratory per week. Local field trips either during the school week or on the weekend.
Prerequisite: GLS100 or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 4.00

GLS 235: Forensic Geology

This course is intended for both geology and non-geology majors. It provides a useful and practical approach to the forensic value of earth materials. Students will learn both from lecture and from experiential activities about the ideas, methods, applications and handling of earth materials for forensic purposes. Guest lecturers will add another dimension to class work. Two two-hour sessions of integrated lecture and related activities per week.
Prerequisite: GLS100 or GLS135 or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 4.00

GLS 253: Geochemistry

This course covers the origin of the elements and their geological significance. Processes affecting the evolution of the Earth's crust and the distribution of the elements in rocks, sediments, soils and waters; geochemical cycles. Students produce computer-generated graphs in regularly assigned projects throughout the semester. Three lecture hours per week. Not open to students who have received credit for GLS353.
Prerequisite: GLS201 or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 3.00

GLS 295: Climate Change in the Geologic Record

This course examines how the geologic record is used to document and understand the history of the climate system. A multidisciplinary approach is used to explore the climate responses of Earth's major systems (ice, water, air, vegetation, and land) as they developed through earth history. The course will emphasize the interconnection of data, theory, and theory testing within the context of a climate system changing across a broad range of time scales. Three lecture hours per week.
Prerequisite: GLS100 or GPH100P or permission of Department Chairperson; GLS201 recommended.

Credits: 3.00

GLS 322: Petrology

Basic concepts and principles related to the genesis and evolution of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, their relation to plate tectonics and magmatic processes are studied through a combination of lectures and interspersed experiential activities. Activities include rock classification and identification using hand specimens, thin and polished sections, as well as interpretations of phase, discrimination and other types of descriptive diagrams in a project-oriented, experiential format. Three lecture hours and three hours of laboratory per week. Local required field trips during the school week or weekend.
Prerequisite: GLS221 or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 4.00

GLS 330: Paleontology

Introduction to the fossil record. Emphasis is on the description and classification of fossils and use of paleontological data to understand the principles of paleoecology, evolution, and biostratigraphy. Three lecture hours and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered alternate years.
Prerequisites: BIO101 or BIO103, GLS201 or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 4.00

GLS 334: Sedimentation and Stratigraphy

Introduction to the properties of sediments, sedimentary rocks, sedimentary rock sequences, and the principles of stratigraphic correlation. Emphasis is on examining the dynamics of recent sedimentary environments to establish what sediments would look like in the stratigraphic record. In laboratory, students are introduced to techniques of sediment analysis and the classification and identification of sedimentary rocks. Three lecture hours and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered alternate years.
Prerequisites: GLS201 and GLS210, or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 4.00

GLS 341: Structural Geology and Tectonics

The study of the processes by which deformation of the earth occurs, and the interpretation of the structures produced by these processes-from submicroscopic to global scales. Three lecture hours and three hours of laboratory per week; occasional local and/or regional field trips (may be during the school week or weekends) may be required.
Prerequisites: GLS100, MAT202N or equivalent, or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 4.00

GLS 362: New England Geology

This course explores the bedrock and glacial geology of New England and adjacent regions. Major structural belts, stratigraphy, and tectonic models for past orogenic events are investigated as well as the impact of bedrock geology and geologic structures on New England’s landscape. One or two weekend field trips will be required. Three lecture hours per week. Prerequisite: GLS 102 or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 3.00

GLS 380: Applied Environmental Geophysics

This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of geophysical methods currently used to help solve environmental problems. Methods covered include seismic refraction and reflection, gravity, magnetic, electrical resistivity, electromagnetics, ground-penetrating radar, and radioactivity surveys. Three lecture hours and three laboratory hours per week; occasional local field trips (may be during the school week or weekends) may be required.
Prerequisite: GLS210 or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 4.00

GLS 400: Directed Studies in the Earth Sciences

Field, laboratory and/or library research in the Earth Sciences. Independent study in the student's field of interest under the supervision of an appropriate faculty member.
Prerequisites: GLS201 and permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 1.00 - 4.00

GLS 470: Field Geology I

This course covers the application of geological field methods including mapping, structural interpretation, surveying, and stratigraphic section measurement and interpretation to the production of geological maps. Several projects stress environmental applications. This course is field based and requires the student to work outdoors at various sites in the Northeast and the Yellowstone Plateau in Montana/Wyoming. Transportation to and from the field areas is provided, additional fee required for field expenses. This course is offered only through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Repeatable for credit to a maximum of six credits.
Prerequisites: GLS102 or GLS201 and one other upper division (200-300-400) Geology course or permission of the Department Chairperson.

Credits: 1.00 - 6.00

GLS 485: Field Geology II

This course is a study/field course designed around a specific field experience. The course combines one to two weeks of classroom lecture and laboratory work with a 1 to 3 week field trip to an area specific to the course content. Topic varies. Is repeatable once for credit. Field fee may be required.
Prerequisite: GLS201 and permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 3.00

GLS 500: Senior Research in Geology I

This course requires the completion of a substantial research project on a geologic problem or topic under the supervision of an appropriate faculty member. Methods of research, organization, preparation, and presentation of data will be discussed, but the objective is a completed thesis by the student. Open only to Senior Geological Sciences majors by permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 3.00 - 4.00

GLS 501: Senior Research in Geology II

This course is a continuation of GLS 500 for those students who wish to further pursue their geologic research, particularly in anticipation of publication.
Prerequisites: GLS500. Written Communications Level II (W-II).

Credits: 3.00 - 4.00

This course fulfills these general education curriculum requirements: Written Commun-Level III

GLS 780: Applied Environmental Geophysics

This course examines the theory and practice of geophysical methods currently used to help solve environmental problems. Methods include seismic refraction and reflection, gravity, magnetic, electrical resistivity, electromagnetic, ground-penetrating radar, and radioactivity surveys (Radon). A research paper, case analysis, or individual field project, and a brief presentation are also required.
Prerequisites: GLS100 and PHS211 or permission of Department Chairperson.

Credits: 4.00

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