Fall 2017 Courses

  • General Studies 145: Encounters

    Official description: A two-semester introduction to the liberal arts and the academic construction of knowledge. Organized around a variable theme, this course takes as its broad topic the examination of encounters between peoples and cultures, and the formation and transformation of dominant and competing worldviews. The study of primary sources, discussion, writing, and the construction of knowledge across academic fields will be emphasized. The two semesters will be taught as a single year-long course. The P-D-F grade option may not be elected for this course. The theme for the 2017-18 academic year will be "Encounters: Transformations." Distribution area: none.

  • Geology 418: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (Click here to visit the course website.)

    Official description: A geographic information system (GIS) is a powerful computer tool designed for exploring, creating, and displaying spatial information. GIS has become the primary way in which spatial information is managed and analyzed in a variety of fields. Any data that has a spatial component (including most data in the Earth and environmental sciences) can potentially benefit from a GIS. Lectures will examine the applications and the conceptual framework for computer GIS, and lab exercises will teach students to use GIS software. The final third of the course is dedicated to individual projects. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

Previous Courses

  • Geology 301: Hydrology (Click here to visit the course website.)

    Last taught in Spring 2017

    Official description: A class devoted to understanding water resources, including both surface water and groundwater. We will study the hydrologic cycle and the properties of water, the shape and behavior of streams, the recharge and movement of groundwater, and environmental management of water including wells, dams, irrigation, and water contaminants. Lab topics will include stream gauging and the construction of hydrographs and hyetographs, determining peak discharge, water sampling, flow nets, well tests, and computer modeling of groundwater and contaminant flow. Three lectures and one three-hour lab per week.

  • Geology 410-A: Computer methods for data analysis and visualization

    Last taught in Spring 2017

    Official description: Seminar-style course, intended for upper-level geology majors and combined majors, designed to introduce students to an array of computer applications for analyzing and visualizing data. Topics will be determined based on student interest, but may include Excel techniques, introductory scripting and data analysis with R and Python, acquisition and organization of data on servers, design of attractive figures with ggplot2 and Illustrator, command-line tools, and/or other topics. One 50-minute meeting per week, student presentations.

  • Geology 470: Senior Seminar (Click here to visit the course website.)

    Last taught in Spring 2017

    Official description: Seminar on various topics in the earth sciences. Topics to be chosen by the instructors, but are likely to include discussions of the history of geology, controversial principles of geology (such as uniformitarianism), and the ethics of the profession of geology. Students are expected to complete assigned readings and make an oral presentation. Required of all senior geology majors and combined majors.

  • Geology 125: Environmental Geology (Click here to visit the course website.)

    Last taught in Fall 2016

    Official description: Natural geologic processes including Holocene deglaciation, landslides, flooding, volcanism, and earthquakes pose risks both to human wellbeing and societal infrastructure. Human decisions for how we choose to interact with the physical environment and its resources (atmosphere, soils, energy sources, minerals) may further imperil societies or may inform global and regional mitigation of Anthropocene climate change, water quality and quantity problems, resource use, and land erosion and mass movement. This introductory course provides exploration and discussion of geologic processes within the paradigm of plate tectonics. Three lecture/discussion periods and one three-hour lab per week; field trips. Note: students who have received credit for Geology 110, 120, or 210 may not receive credit for Geology 125. Open to first- and second-year students; others by consent of instructor. Lab Fee: maximum $20.

  • Geology 229: Geology and Ecology of Soils (Click here to visit the course website.)

    Last taught in Fall 2015

    Official description: Soils provide nutrients, water and support for growing plants, host an amazing variety of organisms, and even influence global climate. This class will focus on the dynamic systems in soil and on the interactions between soils and larger ecosystem properties. Course topics will include pedogenic processes, agricultural ecosystems, the interpretation of paleosols, and the role of soils in the global biogeochemical cycling of organic carbon and nutrients. Three lectures per week, field trip(s). Distibution area: science.

  • Geology 110: The Physical Earth (Click here to visit the course website.)

    Last taught in Fall 2012

    Official description: Physical geology including Earth materials, the processes responsible for uplift and erosion, landforms, plate tectonics, and the Earth's interior. The laboratory will emphasize mineral and rock identification and the study of topographic and geologic maps. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week; field trips. Open only to first-year students and sophomores; others by consent. Students who have received credit for Geology 120 or 210 may not receive credit for Geology 110.

  • Environmental Studies 120: Introduction to Environmental Studies (Click here to visit the course website.)

    Last taught in Spring 2011

    Official description: An introduction to interdisciplinary themes in environmental studies, including perspectives from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Emphasis is placed on understanding local and regional environmental problems as well as issues of global environmental concern. Students enrolling in this course also will be required to enroll in Environmental Studies 120L Environmental Studies Excursions. The weekly afternoon excursions cover the length of the Walla Walla drainage basin, from the Umatilla National Forest to the Columbia River. Excursions may include the watershed, the water and wastewater treatment plants, energy producing facilities, a farm, a paper mill, different ecosystems, and the Johnston Wilderness Campus. This course is required of all environmental studies majors. All environmental studies majors must pass this course with a minimum grade of C (2.0). First-year students and sophomores only (or consent of intructor).

  • Geology 312: Earth History (Click here to visit the course website.)

    Last taught in Spring 2011

    Official description: The physical and biological events during the geologic past. Special consideration given to plate tectonics and fossils in the lectures, and to fossils and geologic maps in the laboratories. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week; required and optional field trips. Prerequisite: Geology 110, 120, or 210 or consent of instructor.

  • Geology 410-B: Applied Hydrology (Click here to visit the course website.)

    Last taught in Spring 2010

    Official description: Field-based course designed to introduce students to commonly-used techniques for studying surface water and groundwater. Topics will include stream gauging and the construction of hydrographs and hyetographs, determining peak discharge, delineating floodplains, collecting samples from surface water and monitoring wells, constructing flow nets, and computer modeling of groundwater and contaminant flow paths. One three-hour lab per week.

Last updated: 2017-08-18