Course Design > Course Goals/Syllabus Database > Geomorphology


Author Profile
Briget C. Doyle

College of Charleston
University with graduate programs, primarily masters programs


The goal of the course is for students to understand the mechanics of geomorphic processes, to be able to analyze landforms created by those processes, and to be able to understand the evolution of landforms over time.

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geomorphology
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Geomorphology
Course Type: Upper Level:Geomorphology/Surface Processes
Course Size:


Course Context:

This is a mid-level course (sophomore/junior) with prerequisites of physical and historical geology. The course meets 3 hours per week for lecture, and 3 hours per week for lab. Approximately 75% of the students are geology majors, with the remainder being geology minors, archeology and anthropology students, and an occasional graduate student.

Course Goals:

- Students should be able to read an analyze topographic and geologic maps, aerial photography, and satellite and remote sensing imagery to determine past and present-day geomorphic processes.
- Should be able to analyze geomorphic landforms in unfamiliar areas and use those landforms to determine the processes acting in that area.
- Students should be able to do field sampling and classification of soil in a manner appropriate for environmental research and consulting.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Lectures expose students to various geomorphic processes, the resulting landforms, and the processes of landform evolution in an environment. Laboratory exercises, both in class and in the field, expose students to reading and interpreting topographic and geologic maps, aerial and satellite imagery, and other remote sensing applications. graded laboratory exercises, lecture and lab exams, and quizzes and homework are used to assess the students' progress toward meeting the goals of the course.

Skills Goals

- student technical writing

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Two of the laboratory assignments during the semester are field-based exercises. Students are required to write up a technical report, with maps and figures, that summarizes and synthesizes the data collected in the field.

Attitudinal Goals

- a major focus of the class is on having the students recognize that geomorphic processes are all around them, and have a significant impact on every-day life.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Examples taken from my own experience/travel, as well as local field exercises, and numerous examples from the area where geology majors travel for the required Field Studies course in the southwestern US, help students recognize the geomorphic processes that are all around them.


Student learning is assessed through a series of quizzes, homeworks and exams in the lecture portion of the class, as well as laboratory assignments, write-ups, and exams in the laboratory portion of the class.


Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 18kB May2 08)

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