The demand for reliable water supplies and the requirements to protect them from pollution have put groundwater at the forefront of current environmental activity. In consequence, there is a continuing high demand in industry, regulatory agencies and environmental consulting companies for qualified hydrogeologists and groundwater geochemists. In addition, universities, agencies and geological surveys need such scientists to conduct further research into groundwater movement, aquifer characteristics, contaminant transport and the interactions of rock and water.

We bring together an exceptional combination of faculty specializations in groundwater within an unusually broad range of geological expertise. The graduate student gains not only hydrogeological, geophysical and geochemical training, but also the ability to consider all the geological aspects of a groundwater problem - and the flexibility to adapt to changing environmental emphases and markets. Programs leading to both the M.S. and Ph.D. degree are offered.

Suggested Courses

Undergraduate and Graduate Credit

  • GEOL 420: Geochemistry of the Earth's Surface.
  • GEOL 421: Environmental Geochemistry.
  • GEOL 425: Engineering Geology.
  • GEOL 490: Hydrogeology.
  • GEOL 491: Geophysical Well Logging.
  • GEOL 492X: Hydrology.
  • GEOL 493: Groundwater Geophysics.
  • GEOL 496: Geophysics.

Graduate Credit Only

  • GEOL 520: Geochemistry of Low-Temperature Aqueous Systems.
  • GEOL 524: Stable Isotope Geochemistry.
  • GEOL 530: Groundwater Modeling.
  • GEOL 532: Advanced Groundwater Hydrology.
  • GEOL 535: Groundwater Geology.
  • GEOL 537: Contaminant Hydrogeology.
  • GEOL 551: Applied Geophysics: Seismic and Electrical.
  • GEOL 554: Geophysical Exploration.
  • GEOL 625: Water Resources Geochemistry.

Graduate Seminar Courses

  • GEOL 646Q: Geology Seminar: Hydrogeology.
  • GEOL 647A: Geochemistry Seminar: General Geochemistry.
  • GEOL 647C: Geochemistry Seminar: Environmental Geochemistry.
  • GEOL 648D: Geophysics Seminar: Environmental Geophysics.
  • GEOL 648J: Geophysics Seminar: Engineering Geology.


Research Facilities

The department has considerable hydrogeological field equipment for groundwater sampling, pump-testing, downhole monitoring and well-site geochemistry. Departmental laboratories include facilities and major equipment for analysis of stable and radiogenic isotopes, major and trace elements, and organic and inorganic compounds in rocks and water. For geophysical field work, the department has resistivity, electromagnetics and shallow seismic survey equipment.

Hydrogeology in Illinois

Northern Illinois has abundant, but stressed, groundwater resources. Major bedrock aquifers supply much of the region's water. The overlying glacial deposits and shallow bedrock provide local supplies, control recharge to deeper aquifers, and are prone to contamination from waste disposal and other human activities. Chicago (an hour's drive from DeKalb) and its suburbs are regional headquarters for major regulatory agencies and numerous companies engaged in environmental work in Illinois and throughout the Midwest.

Downstate, Illinois has an active coal mining industry and is also one of the world's major agricultural regions. The groundwater concerns and problems of the mining and agricultural industries provide further impetus for research and professional activity. Faculty and students have cooperated extensively in hydrogeological studies with the USGS, Illinois State Geological Survey, and other regional and local agencies.

Contact Us

Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment
Davis Hall, Room 312

815-753-0631 (undergraduate)
815-753-1943 (graduate)

815-753-1945 (fax)

Back to top