Teach the Earth > Course Design > Course Goals/Syllabus Database > Geomorphology


Les Hasbargen

SUNY College at Oneonta
Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


explores the shape of the land, and the various processes (that is, mechanisms) which are responsible for that shape. At first glance interpreting the shape of the land in terms of the dominant process might seem obvious and simplistic, but there are so many interacting systems (tectonic activity, climate, rock types, biological processes, chemical processes, erosional processes of wind, wave, and running water) that the exercise of relating process to form is not always an easy one. Clearly, geomorphology is an interdisciplinary science, so you will have a chance to apply much that you have learned in other Earth Science courses to geomorphology.

We will begin with a broader framework for geomorphology (linking process activity with geologic, tectonic, and climatic settings, and time). Then we will dive into Earth's active processes: mass movements, rivers, waves, wind, and ice.

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


Course Context:

This is an upper division course for Earth Science, Geology, and Earth Science Education majors. Students are required to have taken Physical and Historical Geology, and the are expected to have taken College Algebra, General Chemistry, and General Physics. The course is taught via lectures, labs, and field trips. Expect to hike into the forests and creeks of upstate New York. Field investigations will include a technical summary report.

Course Goals:

  • Students will utilize GIS software to visualize and analyze landforms
  • Students will integrate online data sources with field investigations
  • Students will generate hypotheses (e.g., flood height depends on bed roughness) and test them against observations
  • Students will develop skills in taking field notes
  • Students will develop expertise in writing field reports
  • Students will relate mass transport mechanisms to landscape form

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

The course is designed to 1) provide information to students in lectures, 2) challenge students to develop observation skills, 3) give students practice with report writing, and 4) expose students to computer-based spatial data sets. Assessment of student learning includes short answer and essay type exams, rubric-based grading of reports, and informal feedback on student note taking in the field. Grades assignments are guided by the standard University curve.



Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 65kB Jun24 08)

New TTE Logo Small

Geomorphology resources from across Teach the Earth »

Geomorphology resources from Teach the Earth include:

Specialized collections including

or search