Iowa State University

Iowa State University

2007-2009 Courses and Programs

Iowa State University Catalog

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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

Carl E. Jacobson, Chair of Department
Distinguished Professors (Emeritus): Vondra
Professors: Arritt, Beresnev, Chen, Gallus, Gutowski, Iverson, Jacobson, Sandor, Simpkins, Spry, Takle, Thompson
Professors (Emeritus): Seifert, Yarger
Professors (Collaborators): Kato, Koch
Associate Professors: Burras, Cervato, Windom, Wu
Professors (Emeritus): Cody
Associate Professors (Collaborators): Burkart, Tomer
Assistant Professors: Fang, Franz, Harding, Hornbuckle, Mora
Senior Lecturers: Dawson
Lecturers: Flory

Undergraduate Study

The department offers courses in Geology and Meteorology. Majors can be earned in earth science (B.A., B.S.), geology (B.S.), and meteorology (B.S.). Candidates for all degrees must satisfy the requirements established by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (see Liberal Arts and Sciences, Curriculum). In addition, the department has requirements for each major.

The bachelor of science in Geology prepares the student for a professional career and/or graduate study in the geological sciences. Students selecting geology as a major will elect an option in traditional geology or environmental geology/hydrogeology. The traditional option prepares a student for employment in state and U.S. geological surveys, mineral and petroleum exploration, and graduate study in most aspects of geology. Required courses in this option include Geol 100, 100L, 102, 102L, 302, 311, 356, 365, 368, 479 and at least 9 credits of geology electives. The environmental geology/hydrogeology option prepares a student for employment in environmental consulting, state and U.S. geological surveys, regulatory agencies, and graduate study in the environmental aspects of geology. Required courses in this option include Geol 100, 100L, 102, 102L, 302, 311, 356, 368, 411, 419 or 426 or 434, 479, and at least 6 credits of geology electives. Required supporting courses include Chem 163, 163L, 164, 164L; Phys 111, 112; Math 165, 166 or Math 181, 182; at least 6 additional credits of mathematics, statistics, agronomy, engineering, or computer science from an approved departmental list. No more than 9 credits in 490 may be counted toward a degree in Geology.

A minor in Geology may be earned by taking 15 credits of geology coursework, including Geol 100 and 100L (or 201), 102, and 102L. The remainder should be at the 300 level or above.

Graduates work to understand natural processes on Earth and other planets. They are able to apply their knowledge of forces and factors that shape the Earth to reconstruct the past and anticipate the future. Graduates provide essential information for solving problems for resource management, environmental protection, and public health, safety, and welfare. They work as consultants on engineering and environmental problems, explorers for new minerals and hydrocarbon resources, researchers, teachers, writers, editors, and museum curators. Graduates are able to integrate field and laboratory data and to prepare reports. They are able to make presentations that include maps and diagrams that illustrate the results of their studies.

The study of Meteorology involves the description of the earth's atmosphere and the processes responsible for its behavior. Students majoring in Meteorology earn the bachelor of science. Successful preparation for professional or graduate work in Meteorology requires that the student develop and integrate a diverse range of skills and knowledge bases. These include weather observing, the physics and dynamics of the global atmosphere, application of new weather technologies, advanced mathematical tools, computer programming and modeling, and effective oral and written communication. The faculty view the senior thesis (Meteorology 499), in particular, as a capstone experience in which students demonstrate they have achieved this integration. Also, contemporary meteorology is an earth-system science with ties to a variety of human experiences. The electives and general education requirements of the college are further experiences that the meteorology student must integrate with their core meteorology knowledge in order to function effectively in a global-oriented profession. The program requires the following courses: Mteor 111, 201, 206, 227, 301, 311, 341, 342, 411, 417, 432, 443, 454, and 499. An additional 6 credits must be chosen from Mteor 404, 406, 407, 455, 490, and Geol 415 or C E 372 (some experimental Mteor courses can also be used). Supporting work is required in areas at least equivalent to Chem 163, 163L, 164; Phys 221, 222; Math 165, 166, 265, 266; Stat 105; Sp Cm 212. A grade of C or better (not C-) is required in each of the following courses to meet minimum graduation requirements for a bachelor of science degree in Meteorology: 206, 301, 311, 341, 342, and 443.

Several co-op programs are available for upper division undergraduates. Although a range of opportunities exists for men and women who terminate their studies with a bachelor of science, students who meet the necessary academic standards are encouraged to continue their studies in a graduate program. For these students, minor work is recommended in a mathematical or physical science. Other students can choose a wide range of supporting courses that will contribute to their particular area of interest in meteorology.

The department offers a minor in Meteorology which may be earned by completing 15 credits including Mteor 111 (only 1 credit may count toward the minor), Mteor 206 and Mteor 301. Further information concerning programs of study, including sample degree programs, is available from the department.

The Earth Science major is a broad program that typically emphasizes an interdisciplinary field. Programs leading to the bachelor of science may be individually designed but will include required courses in Geology and Meteorology, and required supporting work in chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Specific programs have been designed for students interested in a geology, meteorology, or an environmental earth science emphasis. Programs leading to the bachelor of arts for earth science teaching are available. The latter program must satisfy the requirements of the Teacher Education Program (see Index, Teacher Education).

In addition to geology and meteorology courses taught on campus, students may take courses at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Mississippi (GCRL) and arrange to have the credits count toward the advanced courses required in the Meteorology major. Written permision of the ISU coordinator of the GCRL, 201 Bessey, is required for this arrangement.

Communication Proficiency requirement: The department requires a grade of C or better in each of English 150 and 250 (or 250H), and a C or better in English 314 or 302 or Jl MC 347.

Graduate Study

The department offers programs leading to the master of science and doctor of philosophy with majors in Earth Science, Geology, and Meteorology. Program options are available for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in earth science leading to careers in teaching. The department also cooperates in the interdepartmental major in Water Resources (see Index). Students desiring a major in the above fields normally will have a strong undergraduate background in the physical and mathematical sciences. Individuals desiring to enter a graduate program are evaluated by considering their undergraduate background and performance and their expressed goals.

Programs of study are designed on an individual basis in accordance with requirements of the Graduate College and established requirements for each departmental major. Minor work is normally taken in aerospace engineering, agronomy (soil science), chemistry, civil and construction engineering, computer engineering, computer science, engineering mechanics, materials engineering, mathematics, mechanical engineering, microbiology, physics, or statistics. Departmental requirements provide a strong, broad background in the major and allow considerable flexibility in the program of each individual.

A dissertation is required of all Ph.D. candidates. M.S. students in Geology are required to complete a thesis. The M.S. in Earth Science is available to students electing the non-thesis (Creative Component) option in Geology or Meteorology. A non-thesis option is also offered for the M.S. degree in Meteorology.

Graduates in Geology specialize in a subdiscipline, but they comprehend and can communicate the basic principles of geology and supporting sciences. They possess the capacity for critical and independent thinking. They are able to write a fundable research proposal, evaluate current relevant literature, carry out the proposed research, and communicate the results of their research to peers at national meetings and to the general public. They work as consultants on engineering and environmental problems, explorers for new minerals and hydrocarbon resources, researchers, teachers, writers, editors, and museum curators.

All candidates for an advanced degree in Meteorology are expected to complete Mteor 542, 543, and 555. In addition, students without prior synoptic course-work must complete Mteor 511; other students must complete Mteor 507 or Agron 507. Students must also complete Mteor 504 (or Agron 504) or Mteor 605 or Agron 505.

Graduates in Meteorology have a good comprehension of basic principles, a capacity for critical and independent thought and an ability to communicate effectively with scientific colleagues. They have an appropriate breadth in their understanding of meteorology with a suitable specialization. Graduates are able to undertake thorough research and explain the results in a scientifically reasonable fashion.

Courses open for nonmajor graduate credit: Geol 302, 311, 356, 365, 368, 402, 411, 412, 414, 415, 419, 426, 434, 451, 452, 457, 474, 479, 483, Mteor 301, 306, 311, 341, 342, 404, 406, 407, 411, 417, 432, 443, 454, and 455.