Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Margaret E. (Beth) McMillan,
University of Arkansas at Little Rock


This course covers the properties, processes, and depositional environments of sediments and sedimentary rocks. Lateral and vertical relationships between rock units and how these can be used to understand geologic resources and interpret Earth history are also covered. The traditional lecture and lab time are merged into one long class meeting twice a week in which I incorporate field work and lab work interspersed with shorter lectures.

Course Size:

Course Format:
Integrated lecture and lab

Institution Type:
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs

Course Context:

This is an undergraduate upper-level required course. Introductory geology is a prerequisite for this course. 99% of the students who take this course are majors. Occasionally, I have a Biology or Anthropology/Archeaology major enrolled. The course structure is one in which the lab/lecture are integrated.

Course Content:

Course content includes principles of sedimentology and stratigraphy. It includes least 3 off-campus field trips, 7-8 lab exercises and 2 projects that involve lab work, field work and computer work.

Course Goals:

At the end of this course, students should be able to recognize and describe the physical properties of common sedimentary rocks and sedimentary structures; be knowledgeable in the basic principles governing sedimentological processes,be able integrate observations from sedimentary sequences and formulate interpretations about ancient depositional environments.

Course Features:

I have had a capstone project, but results have been mixed. This is one thing that I would like to work on at the workshop.

Course Philosophy:

I chose field- and lab- based focus for this course because I believe that students learn best by doing. It also allows me to spend more time one-on-one with students in class as they run into concepts or content with which they need help.


Final exams and performance in our field geology course.


Teaching Materials:

References and Notes:

Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy by Sam Boggs, Jr.
This text fits well for a course that covers both Sedimentology and Stratigraphy