Geomorphology (GEO 3150)

Rick Ford

Weber State University
Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


The class meets for 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab per week (15 weeks) for 4 credit hours. This is a required course for all three of our degree programs (Geology, Applied Environmental Geoscience, and Earth Science Teaching). The lab portion of the class includes both in-class and field-based activities.

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Course Context:

This is an upper-division geomorphology course with prerequisites of college algebra, physical geology, and historical geology. A primary goal of the associated lab is to indroduce department majors to field-based science.

Course Goals:

The goals of this course are for students to be able to:
1. analyze and predict the processes that form and modify landforms and surficial deposits;
2. classify landforms and landscapes of the Earth based on field observations and the study of topographic maps and/or aerial photographs;
3. synthesize evidence of geomorphic change over time and relate it to climatic change during the Quaternary; and
4. utilize geomorphic knowledge in problem solving related to human endeavors, with specific reference
to geologic hazards, resources, and environmental management.

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

Lectures are designed to introduce the established concepts and theory related to the goals stated above. Lab activities (in-class and field-based) are designed to provide the students the opportunity to collect and analyze their own data related to specific geomorphic processes and features.

Skills Goals

The major general-skills goals for this course are for students to:
1. improve their quantitative skills
2. improve their technical-writing skills

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

Quantitative in-lab and field-based activities introduce the students to measurement, surveying, and basic statistics within a geoscience context. Formal lab and field reports, in addition to a term paper, require students to model scientific-journal format in their own writing.

Attitudinal Goals

Major atitudinal goals include:
1. building students' confidence in applying basic mathematics in a geoscience context
2. increasing student excitement for field-based science

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

Field trips and in-class labs are designed to move students beyond the mere description of geologic features and processes on to measurement and other forms of quantification, including summarizing their data via basic statistics.


Assessment of student learning is based on a graded term paper and oral presentation, as well as graded exams, lab reports, and field reports.


Syllabus (Microsoft Word 27kB May5 08)