Earth & Mineral Resources

James D. Myers, ,
University of Wyoming


An interdisciplinary lecture-lab course for upper division focusing on the Earth and mineral resources that are critical to maintaining a modern, industrialized society. The course follows a resource, e.g. copper, from geologic formation, discovery, production and ultimate disposal. Topics covered include: metals, building materials, chemical minerals and more. Non-STEM perspectives are also covered with respect to each resource. Labs consist of multi-week case studies progressing from geology, economics and social perspectives. Student groups do oral presentations and written reports.

Course Size:

Course Format:
Lecture and lab

Institution Type:
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs

Course Context:

This is an upper division course for majors/non-majors with only upper division status as a pre-requisite. It satifies the university's USP global and Earth science requiremens. Class enrollment is about evenly split between majors and non-majors.

Course Content:

Minearal exploration, mining, resource class, variety of non-STEM perspectives

Course Goals:

This course was designed to prepare students to address issues of resources they will encounter as citizens in the future. It promotes STEM knowedge and skills as well an understanding of the role of non-STEM perspectives in these policy decisions. Currently, environmental justice is not specifically addressed.

Course Features:

Case studies that introduce them to resource issues in a range of global contexts.

Course Philosophy:

Originally designed in collaboration with Director of International Studies. Since his retirement, I have used the methods and approaches I learned from him to continue developing case studies with a global and social perspective to compliment the more traditional STEM content and approach. Environmental justice is not now covered, but would be an ideal topic to incorporate in the future.


Assessment is through exams, reading questionnaires and oral presentations and written reports.


Course syllabus for Earth & Mineral Resources (Acrobat (PDF) 76kB Mar18 13)

References and Notes: