All degree requirements are subject to the provisions and notices in the Undergraduate Catalog. Information is valid through August 2014.
Geology is the fascinating study of the earth and its environment. It brings together all the natural sciences to examine the origin and development of continents and oceans, rock-forming and crust-deforming processes, landforms, the earth's interior, other planets, the evolution of plants and animals, the formation, occurrence and chemistry of rocks, water, mineral, and fuel resources. Geology addresses environmental issues human as diverse as exploration and development of mineral, energy, and water resources; ground-water pollution; past climate change and future global warming; and the prediction and mitigation of natural hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes.
Geological studies and careers involve a variety of field, lab, office and computer work. Geologists are employed throughout the environmental field, for example, developing and protecting groundwater supplies, assessing impacts from waste disposal, wetland protection, mine drainage, site evaluation and landfill planning. They are responsible for exploring, mapping, and developing supplies of petroleum, natural gas, coal, and other energy resources, as well as the metals and minerals that support our civilization and the stone and aggregates that build it. There is a continuing demand for geologists and environmental geoscientists in environmental and engineering consulting companies, mineral, mining and petroleum industries, and local, state, and national government agencies and surveys; and for earth science teachers in middle and high schools, colleges, and universities. The B.S. in geology and environmental geosciences also provides a solid scientific background for non-geoscience careers requiring broad technical abilities.
The Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences offers degree programs at both the undergraduate (B.S.) and graduate (M.S. and Ph.D.) level. The undergraduate major offers three emphases:
From your entry into the geology program, you will work closely with the department's adviser for your emphasis to ensure that you make appropriate course choices and effective progress.
All emphases include a 4-hour introductory geology class with lab (should be taken at community college) and a 16-hour geology core, plus upper-division electives including field course, clinical teaching in earth science education and various required allied science courses.
Geology Emphasis: a comprehensive, in-depth study of earth science, concentrates on upper-division electives in geology plus a summer six-week geology field course in the western U.S.
Environmental Geosciences Emphasis: a broader study of environmental geology and environmental science, includes upper-division electives in both geology and a chosen co-disciplinary area, plus a summer four-week environmental field methods course based at NIU and our environmental field site in Ogle County.
Earth Science Education Emphasis: Satisfies Illinois state requirements for teacher certification at middle to high school level. Includes geology core and electives, allied sciences, and pedagogical courses. For curricular details, please visit our website at www.niu.edu/geology and select Teacher Certification. Math and chemistry are prerequisites and must be taken before entering NIU. The emphasis and initial teacher certification for teaching grades 6-12 are difficult to complete within the 2+2 time frame; interested students should contact the emphasis adviser/certification coordinator as soon as possible.
Because geology is an integrative science that encompasses the biological, chemical, and physical aspects of the earth, geoscientists need a broad preparation in basis science and mathematics. To meet the degree requirements and graduate on a timely schedule, students should take some prerequisite courses at their community college. You can learn how community college courses transfer into NIU courses in the Articulation Handbook available at community college counseling offices and on the NIU website at www.niu.edu/admissions/transfer/transfercenter/handbook/tables.shtml
The 2+2 plan assumes that the student will complete all general education classes for A.A./A.S. and receive the associate's degree from the community college and/or has completed the Illinois Transferable General Education Core Curriculum. The following sequence is recommended for a student to graduate from Northern at the end of four years. Equivalent NIU classes and semester credit hours are listed.
Needed to begin critical geology classes in Junior Year:
Also recommended, for best progress:
Junior Year, at NIU:
Geology core courses, offered only in semester shown:
*Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology, GEOL 322(4)
*Solid Earth Composition, GEOL 325 (4)
*Global cycles, GEOL 330 (4)
*Dynamics and Structure of Earth, GEOL 335 (4)
*Electives in GEOL and/or co-disciplinary area
*Chemistry, math, and science requirements not completed in freshman and sophomore years.
Senior Year, at NIU:
Geology Emphasis: Geologic Field Work, GEOL 478 and 479 (6), in Wyoming and S. Dakota: six weeks.
Environmental Geosciences Emphasis: Field Methods, GEOL 477 (4), in central and northern Illinois: four weeks.
The Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences has 13 full-time faculty members and around 40 graduate students and 95 undergraduate majors, an excellent student/faculty ratio allowing close interaction and dedication to our students' academic success. Geology courses for majors are taught by geology faculty who hold Ph.D.s in their specializations and are committed to both teaching and research. Undergraduates are encouraged to share in research activities through senior theses, independent study projects, and the college's Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program.
For more information on the geology and environmental geosciences programs at NIU write to:
Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2854
Visit our website: www.niu.edu/geology
For information on the earth science education emphasis and teacher certification, contact the department's coordinator for these programs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and application materials, contact:
Office of Admissions
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2857
(800) 892-3050 (toll-free in Illinois)
or (815) 753-0446
Or visit the website: www.niu.edu/admissions
Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation.