Course code:



I - Introductory

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • ES - Environmental Science

Typically offered:

Every other year

In this introductory geoscience course students will learn foundational principles and concepts such as plate tectonics, geologic time, climate and weather, rocks and minerals, and surface processes through an exploration of some of the National Parks of the United States. Through virtual field trips of various parks, students will visualize how regional climate and surface processes such as rivers, glaciers, and wind interact with the bedrock and surficial materials to produce some of the most iconic landscapes. While Acadia National Park offers a view of an ancient and eroded supervolcano, Yellowstone offers a glimpse of a dynamic landscape built on a modern supervolcano. While a few glaciers still cling to the high peaks of Glacier National Park, Yosemite hosts steep glacially carved valleys and polished domes reminiscent of a glaciated past. Class time will be used for lectures, discussions of readings, and laboratory exercises. During labs, students will get to know approximately 6 different parks in detail through interaction with geologic maps, rock samples, aerial imagery, and scientific reports. The students will be evaluated based on laboratory exercises and a final project through which students will explore one park of their choosing.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.