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Geology, University of Mary Washington

Information for this profile was provided by Jodie Hayob in 2009.

University of Mary Washington is a public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate .

Overview and Context

Illustration of the UMW geology curriculum, constructed by Monica Bruckner, based on information provided by Jodie Hayob. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Our department offers two majors: Geology and Environmental Science.
This is currently our only geology/earth science curriculum. We are considering adding a major in Environmental Geology. Our current geology program serves students who seek immediate employment (usually in the environmental field) or pursue advanced degrees in earth science and environmental fields.

Program Design

Our students are fairly successful at securing internships and jobs, in part because of our close proximity to the national USGS, the state capital (Richmond, VA), and our national capital (Washington, DC). Our geology program requirements are currently fairly typical or standard compared to other institutions, except for the lack of cognate science courses or a field course. We would like to require all geology majors to take our computer applications course, but we do not have enough staff at present, as well as a field course - again, staffing is an issue along with resources.

Goals and Assessment

Our current geology program was designed to fit the size of our department (i.e., a modest number of full-time geology faculty) and to be fairly standard with regard to programs nationwide (i.e., our core sequence is a fairly standard one).

We have a designated Outcomes Assessment Coordinator for the geology major. This person submits an annual report to the University, and periodically conducts surveys of graduated students to assess their opinions of the effectiveness of our program in preparing them for the workplace or graduate studies. We informally assess the graduate programs to which our students are admitted, as well as the jobs our students secure, in an attempt to monitor the quality of our program.

Courses and Sequencing

Entry into the program

  • Introductory Geology

Core courses

  • Evolution of the Earth (Prerequisite: Introductory Geology or Intro. to Environmental Science)
  • Mineralogy (Prerequisite: Introductory Geology or Intro. to Environmental Science)
  • Petrology (Prerequisite: Mineralogy)
  • Sedimentation & Stratigraphy (Prerequisite: Introductory Geology)
  • Structural Geology (Prerequisite: Mineralogy)


Students are required to take 12 credits of electives at the 200-level or above, selected from:

  • Paleontology (Prerequisite: Introductory Geology or Biological Concepts I)
  • Computer Applications in Env. Science & Geology
  • Oceanography (Prerequisite: Introductory Geology)
  • Environmental Geology (Prerequisite: Introductory Geology)
  • Environmental Chemistry with Laboratory (Prerequisite: General Chemistry II)
  • Environmental Soil Science (Prerequisite: Evolution of the Earth or Intro. to Environmental Science or Physical Geography II)
  • Fluvial Geomorphology (Prerequisite: Evolution of the Earth or Physical Geography II)
  • Hydrogeology (Prerequisite: Evolution of the Earth)
  • Environmental Geochemistry (Prerequisite: Evolution of the Earth and General Chemistry II)
  • Internship
  • Individual Study

Additional comments

Eligible students may pursue Honors in Geology (minimum 3.00 overall GPA, minimum 3.25 major GPA, senior status, B+ or better for 4-credits of graded research in Fall semester, 8-credits total for a year-long research project with thesis and defense at end of spring).

Additional Materials

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