Geoscience (M.S.) - Graduate - 2010 University Catalog

You are viewing the 2010 University Catalog. Please see the newest version of the University Catalog for the most current version of this program's requirements.

The graduate programs in Geoscience are designed to enable the student to pursue further study in the various areas of the Department for professional or personal reasons, to further his/her preparation for the teaching profession, or for a career requiring advanced training.

For the arts and science student, a graduate program is designed to give opportunity for in-depth study in the broad field of Geoscience (geology). The program provides sufficient flexibility through electives so that emphasis in (1) environmental geology, (2) metamorphic and igneous geology, (3) sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleobiology or (4) oceanography and marine geology is possible. Most of the courses for the oceanography and marine geology emphasis will be taken at the various sites of the New Jersey Marine Science Consortium during the summer.


Complete 32 semester hours including the following 3 requirement(s):


    Complete 3 courses for 10 semester hours:

    GEOS 525 Environmental Geoscience 3
    GEOS 560 Advanced Marine Geology 3
    GEOS 578 Igneous and Metamorphic Geology 4

    Complete for 1 semester hours.

    GEOS 594 Research in Geoscience Literature 1

    Complete the following 2 requirement(s) for 21 semester hours:


      Complete 15 semester hours hours (with Thesis option) or 18 semester hours (with Comp Exam option) from:


        GEOS 501 Air Resource Management 3
        GEOS 502 The Dynamic Earth 4
        GEOS 503 Advanced Physical Geology 4
        GEOS 504 Advanced Historical Geology 3
        GEOS 509 Water Resource Management 3
        GEOS 513 Waste Management 3
        GEOS 520 Landscapes in Transition 3
        GEOS 525 Environmental Geoscience 3
        GEOS 530 Paleoecology 3
        GEOS 532 Micropaleobiology 4
        GEOS 533 Advanced Invertebrate Paleobiology 4
        GEOS 534 Stratigraphy 4
        GEOS 535 Vertebrate Paleobiology 3
        GEOS 536 Paleobotany 3
        GEOS 537 Biostratigraphy of New Jersey 3
        GEOS 538 Sedimentary Petrography 4
        GEOS 539 Environmental Noise Hazards and Controls 3
        GEOS 543 Advanced Mineralogy 3
        GEOS 545 Optical Mineralogy 4
        GEOS 546 Petrography 4
        GEOS 547 X-ray Microanalysis 3
        GEOS 552 Applied Groundwater Modeling 4
        GEOS 555 Advanced Remote Sensing of the Environment 3
        GEOS 560 Advanced Marine Geology 3
        GEOS 571 Geophysics 3
        GEOS 572 Tectonics 3
        GEOS 573 Nuclear Geophysics 3
        GEOS 575 Geochemistry 3
        GEOS 576 Organic Geochemistry 3
        GEOS 577 Environmental Forensics 3
        GEOS 578 Igneous and Metamorphic Geology 4
        GEOS 580 Field Geology 4
        GEOS 590 Research Seminar 3
        GEOS 592 Special Problems in Geoscience 1-4
        GEOS 594 Research in Geoscience Literature 1
        GEOS 658 Seminar in Environmental Graphics 3
        PHMS 581 Coastal Geomorphology 4
        PHMS 598 Special Problems in the Marine Sciences 1-4
      2. Up to 6 semester hours of Science, Math, or other graduate electives may be used with written approval from advisor.


      Complete 1 of the following options:

      1. THESIS

        1. Complete for 6 semester hours.

          GEOS 698 Master's Thesis 6
        2. Submit the completed Thesis original and one copy to the Graduate Office. See Thesis Guidelines for details.


        1. Complete for 3 semester hours.

          GEOS 590 Research Seminar 3
        2. Comprehensive Examination

          Successfully complete the .

Course Descriptions:

GEOS501: Air Resource Management

Spatial distribution of energy in the atmosphere treated in terms of natural factors and man's induced changes (atmospheric pollution). Incoming sun energy as modified by man is traced through the atmosphere, vegetation, soil and water. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: For majors in the College of Science and Mathematics.

GEOS502: The Dynamic Earth

Origin, evolution and history of the earth. Internal and external processes by which minerals and rocks form and are modified. Interpretation of rock features and structures and significance of the fossil record. Plate tectonics, geomorphology, oceanography, and meteorology. The course is conducted at a more rigorous level than introductory, undergraduate courses. Research project and field trips are required. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Not open to graduates of a geology or geoscience program.

GEOS503: Advanced Physical Geology

In-depth study of the major problems of physical geology processes of erosion, rock formation, continent and ocean-basin origin and relationships, earthquakes, interior of the earth, volcanism, island arcs, mountain building, paleomagnetism, continental drift, and sea-floor spreading. Field trips. 4 sh.

GEOS504: Advanced Historical Geology

In-depth analysis of major problems in geologic history, stratigraphy and paleoenvironments as interpreted through lithologic and paleontologic evidence. Required field trips. 3 sh.

GEOS509: Water Resource Management

The spatial patterns of the water resource both as surface water and ground-water. Processes affecting availability and techniques of estimation are stressed. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: For majors in the College of Science and Mathematics.

GEOS513: Waste Management

This course examines liquid waste management (sewage, sewerage, septic, and acid mine drainage) and solid waste management (composting, incineration, dumps, sanitary landfills, ocean dumping, and resource recovery). Management of radioactive wastes is included. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: For majors in the College of Science and Mathematics.

GEOS520: Landscapes in Transition

The field in historical perspective, with emphasis upon contemporary trends; philosophical roots and quest for theory. Analyzes theory and methods of application and their relationships in order to understand the role of applied in contrast to theoretical geography. 3 sh.

GEOS525: Environmental Geoscience

In-depth study of the relationships between man and the physical environment of atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. Particular attention to problems of mineral resource and fossil-fuel depletion; pollution of air, water and soils and waste disposal and recycling, simple computer modeling of environmental situations. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: For majors in the College of Science and Mathematics.

GEOS530: Paleoecology

Distribution and association of fossils as interpreted from the evidence presented in the geologic record. Detailed paleoecological field study made of selected faunal assemblages. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Biology major, or Geoscience major, or Environmental Studies major with a concentration in Environmental Science.

GEOS532: Micropaleobiology

Taxonomic, morphologic, paleoecologic and stratigraphic consideration of microfossils with special emphasis on those from the marine environment. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major or Biology major.

GEOS533: Advanced Invertebrate Paleobiology

Fossil invertebrates with emphasis on their evolutionary, paleoecologic and stratigraphic significance. Laboratory and field work stress collecting, preparation, identification, curatorial and faunal analysis techniques. Required field trips. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major or Biology major.

GEOS534: Stratigraphy

Stratigraphic principles and their application. Case studies of selected regions. Local stratigraphy interpreted through field studies. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Graduate Program Coordinator permission required.

GEOS535: Vertebrate Paleobiology

The geologic history, morphology, taxonomy, paleogeography and evolution of fossil vertebrates. Required field trips. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major or Biology major.

GEOS536: Paleobotany

The taxonomy, morphology, evolution, paleoecology and stratigraphic significance of fossil plants. Required field trips. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major or Biology major.

GEOS537: Biostratigraphy of New Jersey

The geologic history, paleontology, stratigraphy and paleogeography of New Jersey. Required field trips. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major or Biology major.

GEOS538: Sedimentary Petrography

The interpretative study of the structures, textures, composition and genesis of sedimentary rocks. Laboratory analyses of sediments and sedimentary rocks by optical, mechanical and chemical methods and the graphical representation of the resultant data. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major.

GEOS539: Environmental Noise Hazards and Controls

The essential aspects of the acoustic properties of sound and of the anatomy and physiology of the human auditory system will be presented. The specific properties of noise and noise generators will also be presented. The effects of noise on physiology and on various aspects of behavior will be discussed. Stress will be placed on current methods of noise control and hearing conservation. 3 sh.

GEOS543: Advanced Mineralogy

Chemical and physical principles as applied to minerals. Detailed study of representative minerals from the various families. Advanced techniques will be performed by the student. Field trips. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major.

GEOS545: Optical Mineralogy

Theory and practice of using the polarizing microscope to study and identify minerals; theory of light transmission in minerals; the practical effect. Required field trips. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major.

GEOS546: Petrography

Rock textures, structures and mineralogy using the polarizing microscope. Identification and classification of rocks and the origin and history of the rock as determined by microscopic study of thin sections. Required field trips. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: GEOS 545.

GEOS547: X-ray Microanalysis

Students will learn energy dispersive spectroscopy, qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis, and x-ray mapping. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: GEOS 443, CHEM 410, PHYS 470, BICL 406 or departmental approval.

GEOS552: Applied Groundwater Modeling

Introduction to groundwater flow and contaminant transport modeling, using a variety of current software packages. Saturated and unsaturated media will be considered. Emphasis is on application of models to the solution of common problems encountered in hydrology industry and research. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate hydrogeology course and college-level calculus or departmental approval.

GEOS555: Advanced Remote Sensing of the Environment

This course affords graduate students who have completed introductory courses or equivalents the opportunity to advance both practical skills in and theoretical understanding of remote sensing. The course covers a wide range of applications and promotes facility in image processing and visualization, integration with Geographic Information Systems, and spatial modeling techniques. Industry-standard software is used for demonstration and laboratory exercises. A semester project must be completed that demonstrates an application of remote sensing to a real-world environmental problem. Students are required to submit a term paper, an oral presentation, and a poster related to this project. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: EUGS 270 or equivalent.

GEOS560: Advanced Marine Geology

Development and evolution of the ocean basins; marine sedimentation; shoreline development and classification; submarine topography; mineral resources of the sea. Laboratory analysis of marine sediments and fossil assemblages. Required field trips. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: For majors in the College of Science and Mathematics.

GEOS571: Geophysics

Theory and application of conventional geophysical methods: seismology, magnetism, electricity and gravity. Laboratory includes the collection and interpretation of geophysical data. Field trips. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major.

GEOS572: Tectonics

The study of the major structures of the earth, the principle of isostasy, mountain-building, continental drift, sea-floor spreading, and possible causes of tectonism in the earth. Discussion will include the methods of study, results obtained, interpretation of the data, and the latest theories of tectonism. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major.

GEOS573: Nuclear Geophysics

Principles and application of nuclear physics to study of earth, including: natural radiation, origin and occurence of isotopes; use of isotopes in prospecting, geochronology and space geology; paleotemperature determinations; activation analysis; mining and use of radioactive elements; nuclear energy. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major.

GEOS575: Geochemistry

Chemical laws and principles applied to the earth, chemical composition of the earth, distribution and relative abundance of the elements. Radioactive materials, atmospheric precipitation of geochemicals, the geochemistry of polluted water (including solid and liquid wastes) study of meteorites. Required field trips. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: For majors in the College of Science and Mathematics.

GEOS576: Organic Geochemistry

This is an introductory graduate course in organic geochemistry, covering the occurence of natural and anthropogenic organic matter in sediments and sedimentary rocks, emphasizing fossil fuels and environemental contaminants. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: GEOS 112 and CHEM 121 and GEOS 434 or equivalent required: BIOL 213 and/or CHEM 230 suggested.

GEOS577: Environmental Forensics

Environmental Forensics seeks to answer the questions: "How did environmental contamination occur?" and "Who/what caused it?" It involves the use of analytical (geo)chemistry, field geology and biology, remote sensing, integrated with law and policy. This course will focus primarily on the methods and applications of chemical fingerprinting, using petroleum biomarkers, polycyclic aromatic compounds, isotopes, and heavy metals. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: GEOS 453 or GEOS 576 or departmental approval.

GEOS578: Igneous and Metamorphic Geology

The intepretive study of igneous and metamorphic rocks in detail with the aim of properly identifying and naming the rocks and interpreting their history: rock suites from classical areas. Required field trips. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major.

GEOS580: Field Geology

The principles and techniques of geologic field work. Independent and team mapping of local areas of geologic interest using modern field methods and instruments. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major.

GEOS590: Research Seminar

Student field, laboratory, and library investigation of a problem in the area of his or her interest in geoscience, the results of which will be presented in oral and written form. Class discussion of the individual papers and of other pertinent topics of current interest in geoscience. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major.

GEOS592: Special Problems in Geoscience

Independent research project to be performed by the student under the guidance of the faculty. May be repeated three times for a maximum of 10.0 credits as long as the topic is different. 1 - 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Departmental approval.

GEOS594: Research in Geoscience Literature

Investigation and evaluation of a topic in geoscience under the supervision of a faculty member by: (1) preparing a bibliography from standard sources, including an on-line computer search; and, (2) preparing a report written in standard professional format. 1 sh.

Prerequisites: Geoscience major.

GEOS658: Seminar in Environmental Graphics

The use of graphic materials suitable for analyzing, understanding and presenting aspects of the environment through seminar presentation. The preparation of illustrative materials, especially suitable for inclusion in environmental impact statements as well as for public presentation, will be developed by each student as a culminating research project. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: For majors in the College of Science and Mathematics.

GEOS698: Master's Thesis

Independent research project done under faculty advisement. Students must follow the MSU Thesis Guidelines, which may be obtained from the Graduate School. Students should take GEOS 699 if they don't complete GEOS 698 within the semester. 6 sh.

Prerequisites: Departmental approval.

PHMS581: Coastal Geomorphology

Coastlines and their evolution; processes and materials of the coastal zone; shore zone hydrodynamics and sedimentation: beach and barrier systems with special emphasis on the New Jersey shoreline. Offered at the site of the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Departmental approval.

PHMS598: Special Problems in the Marine Sciences

An opportunity for the qualified graduate student to do research in a field of marine science selected under the guidance of a professor. Open only to graduate students who have indicated a potential for original thinking. Also offered at the site of the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium. May be repeated three times for a maximum of 10.0 credits as long as the topic is different. 1 - 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Departmental approval.