EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
2014—2015

Professors: Barry Chernoff, Biology; Martha Gilmore, Chair; Suzanne O'Connell; Peter C. Patton; Johan C. Varekamp

Associate Professors: Timothy Ku; Phillip Resor; Dana Royer

Assistant Professor: James P. Greenwood

Research Professor: Ellen Thomas

Undergraduate Program Advising Experts 2014-2015: All program faculty

Department/Program Home Page

Department/Program Description.

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (E&ES) at Wesleyan University covers many aspects of the natural world, on Earth and on other planets. Course topics range from active volcanoes to climate change to eco-conservation. The E&ES major is designed to prepare students for graduate school as well as provide a basis for a variety of careers in the private or public sectors. Courses in geology, environmental science/environmental chemistry, environmental science/ecology, and planetary geology lead to different areas of specialization and career options. Many E&ES students work with faculty on research projects that range from climate studies to active volcanoes in the Andes, from the structure of the Grand Canyon to the structure of the planet Venus, from coastal areas nearby (Long Island Sound) to lagoons far away (Vieques Island, Puerto Rico). The culmination of the major is a capstone course where students perform independent research in the field (Puerto Rico or Death Valley).

General Education.
  • E&ES101 Dynamic Earth
  • E&ES115 Introduction to Planetary Geology
  • E&ES120 Mars, the Moon, and Earth: Similar, Yet So Different
  • E&ES121 Science on the Radio
  • E&ES151 The Planets
  • E&ES155 Hazardous Earth
  • E&ES197 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • E&ES199 Introduction to Environmental Science
Admission to the Major.
Gateway courses for the major
  • E&ES101 Dynamic Earth
  • E&ES115 Introduction to Planetary Geology
  • E&ES197 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • E&ES199 Introduction to Environmental Science
Sophomore Seminar
  • E&ES195 Sophomore Field Seminar
Major Requirements.

Students pursuing a major in E&ES are expected to take one gateway course (E&ES101, E&ES115, E&ES197, or E&ES199), the sophomore seminar (E&ES195), three core courses, four elective courses, and the senior seminar. Because Earth and environmental scientists need a broad background in the natural sciences and mathematics, E&ES majors are also required to take one year (two semesters) of gateway courses from two of the following disciplines: biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics, for a total of four courses. Students considering graduate studies in the sciences are encouraged to take gateways from more than two disciplines and/or upper-level course work in these disciplines. In addition to a minimum of four 200- to 300-level Wesleyan University E&ES courses, up to two upper-level science or math courses taken in other departments may count toward the E&ES major as electives, and two E&ES courses may be imported from study-abroad programs.

Core courses 
  • E&ES213/215 Mineralogy/Laboratory Study of Minerals
  • E&ES220/222 Geomorphology/Geomorphology Laboratory
  • E&ES223/225 Structural Geology/Field Geology
  • E&ES230/232 Sedimentology/Stratigraphy Techniques
  • E&ES233/229 Geobiology/Geobiology Laboratory
  • E&ES250/252 Earth Materials/Earth Materials Laboratory
  • E&ES280/281 Environmental Geochemistry/Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory
  • E&ES290/292 Oceans and Climate/Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
  • BIOL216 Ecology
Elective courses
  • E&ES305/307 Soils/Soils Laboratory
  • E&ES312 Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems
  • E&ES314/316 Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks/Laboratory
  • E&ES317/319 Hydrology/Hydrology Laboratory
  • E&ES320 Quantitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • E&ES322/324 Introduction to GIS/GIS Service Learning Laboratory
  • E&ES323 Isotope Geochemistry: Tracers of Environmental Processes
  • E&ES326/328 Remote Sensing/Remote-Sensing Laboratory
  • E&ES359 Global Climate Change
  • E&ES361 Living in a Polluted World
  • E&ES365 Modeling the Earth and Environment
  • E&ES371 Planetary Geology Seminar
  • E&ES380/381 Volcanology/Volcanology Lab Course
Senior Seminar
  • E&ES397 Senior Seminar
Career Options and the E&ES major: Earth and environmental sciences majors go on to pursue a wide range of careers, limited only by their own imaginations. E&ES courses can be selected to help prepare for a student’s long-term interests. The course listings below are not requirements, but suggested guidelines. Students interested in academic or research careers should consider involvement in research or producing a senior thesis.
  • Geology. These courses can help prepare students for academic careers or jobs in industry or government in natural resource or geohazard management (e.g., USGS, water resources, mining and energy industries).

    • E&ES101 Dynamic Earth
    • E&ES115 Introduction to Planetary Geology
    • E&ES213/215 Mineralogy/Laboratory Study of Minerals
    • E&ES220/222 Geomorphology/Geomorphology Laboratory
    • E&ES223/225 Structural Geology/Field Geology
    • E&ES230/232 Sedimentology/Stratigraphy Techniques
    • E&ES290/292 Oceans and Climate/Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
    • E&ES314/316 Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks/Laboratory
    • E&ES317/319 Hydrology/Hydrology Laboratory
    • E&ES322/324 Introduction to GIS/GIS Service Learning Laboratory
    • E&ES326/328 Remote Sensing/Remote-Sensing Laboratory
    • E&ES371 Planetary Geology Seminar
    • E&ES380/381 Volcanology/Volcanology Lab Course
    • E&ES397/398 Senior Seminar/Senior Field Research Project
  • Environmental Science/Environmental Chemistry.These courses can help prepare students for jobs in consulting, government, or nonprofit organizations (e.g., EPA, NOAA, USGS, state agencies) or for academic careers in climate science and water resources.

    • E&ES197 Introduction to Environmental Studies
    • E&ES199 Introduction to Environmental Science
    • E&ES213/215 Mineralogy/Laboratory Study of Minerals
    • E&ES220/222 Geomorphology/Geomorphology Laboratory
    • E&ES223/225 Structural Geology/Field Geology
    • E&ES233/229 Geobiology/Geobiology Laboratory
    • E&ES280/281 Environmental Geochemistry/Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory
    • E&ES290/292 Oceans and Climate/Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
    • E&ES305/307 Soils/Soils Laboratory
    • E&ES320 Quantitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences
    • E&ES322/324 Introduction to GIS/GIS Service Learning Laboratory
    • E&ES323 Isotope Geochemistry: Tracers of Environmental Processes
    • E&ES359 Global Climate Change
    • E&ES397/398 Senior Seminar/Senior Field Research Project
    • BIOL216 Ecology
  • Environmental Science/Ecology. These courses can help prepare students for jobs in government, consulting, and nonprofit organizations (e.g., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state conservation agencies, Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society) or academic careers in conservation and natural resource management).

    • E&ES197 Introduction to Environmental Studies
    • E&ES199 Introduction to Environmental Science
    • E&ES233/229 Geobiology/Geobiology Laboratory
    • E&ES280/281 Environmental Geochemistry/Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory
    • E&ES290/292 Oceans and Climate/Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
    • E&ES305/307 Soils/Soils Laboratory
    • E&ES312 Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems
    • E&ES320 Quanitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences
    • E&ES322/324 Introduction to GIS/GIS Service Learning Laboratory
    • E&ES323 Isotope Geochemistry: Tracers of Environmental Processes
    • E&ES326/328 Remote Sensing/Remote-Sensing Laboratory
    • E&ES359 Global Climate Change
    • E&ES397/398 Senior Seminar/Senior Field Research Project
  • Planetary Geology. These courses can help prepare students for jobs in government and industry (e.g., NASA, remote sensing, and GIS contractors) or for academic careers in space science and remote sensing.

    • E&ES101 Dynamic Earth
    • E&ES115 Introduction to Planetary Geology
    • E&ES213/215 Mineralogy/Laboratory Study of Minerals
    • E&ES220/222 Geomorphology/Geomorphology Laboratory
    • E&ES223/225 Structural Geology/Field Geology
    • E&ES314/316 Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks/Laboratory
    • E&ES322/324 Introduction to GIS/GIS Service Learning Laboratory
    • E&ES326/328 Remote Sensing/Remote-Sensing Laboratory
    • E&ES371 Planetary Geology Seminar
    • E&ES380/381 Volcanology/Volcanology Lab Course
    • E&ES397/398 Senior Seminar/Senior Field Research Project
Capstone Experience.
  • E&ES397 Senior Seminar
  • E&ES398 Senior Field Research Project
Related Programs or Certificates.

The College of the Environment, which includes the environmental studies-linked major and Environmental Studies Certificate, provides a linkage between the sciences, public policy, economics, and the arts and provides a wide variety of career options.

The Planetary Science Group and the Planetary Science Course Cluster seek to understand the origin and evolution the solar system in which we live and the other solar systems that we have identified in our galaxy.

The Service-Learning Center and Service-Learning Course Cluster seek to broaden students' understanding of course content through activities that are, at the same time, of service to the community.

BA/MA Program.

This program provides an attractive option for science majors to enrich their course and research background. The course requirements for the BA/MA are the same as the MA. It is important for students interested in the BA/MA program to plan a course of study early enough (nominally in the junior year) to meet the MA requirements over both the senior and MA years. Admission is competitive and based on GPA, faculty recommendations, and research experience. For more information, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/grad/degree-programs/ba-ma.html.

Graduate Program

General Introduction.

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences offers a program leading to the degree of master of arts in earth and environmental sciences. This program is designed for students who desire further training prior to initiation of a doctoral program at another university or for whom the master's degree will be the terminal degree. Graduate students are offered a unique opportunity for accelerated and personal instruction in a small department setting, with strengths in geology, volcanology, ocean sciences, planetary science, and environmental science. All admitted students are offered a full tuition waiver, stipend, and benefits for this two-year program.

Courses.

Students who possess the equivalent of a Wesleyan E&ES BA degree are required to take six upper-level course credits (of which at least four must be in E&ES) and two MA thesis research credits (E&ES591 and 592). In addition, students are required to take three years (six semesters) of courses from a minimum of two of the following disciplines: mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology. Students who do not possess the equivalent of a Wesleyan E&ES BA degree must complete or have completed 11 upper-level courses in the sciences or mathematics, and at least five of these must be E&ES courses. All full-time graduate students are expected to complete all courses with a grade of B- or better. Failure to achieve these minimal expectations incurs automatic dismissal from the program.

Progress and Qualifying Exams.

Thesis Proposal and Thesis Committee. Upon admission to the program, the student will meet with the E&ES Graduate Program committee to discuss the general requirements and goals of graduate study. Students should endeavor to select an advisor, thesis topic, and thesis committee by the end of the first semester. After students have made a choice of faculty advisor and thesis committee, they must, in cooperation with the advisor, write a one- to two-page thesis proposal, in which they provide an outline of the proposed research. The thesis committee will read the proposal and discuss it with the student before acceptance of the research project. At the beginning of each semester, and at the beginning of the summer, each graduate student will be asked to prepare a written summary (two to three pages) of their progress and accomplishments and meet with their thesis committee. This summary will be reviewed by the thesis committee to discuss and evaluate the student's progress; failure to make adequate progress can be grounds for dismissal from the program. The discussion of the committee will be summarized by the student's advisor and relayed to the student in writing.

Teaching.

Graduate students are expected to fully participate in the scholarly activities in the department, including teaching opportunities, attending departmental seminars, and presenting their own work to the Wesleyan and scientific communities.

Thesis/Dissertation/Defense.

Thesis and oral examination. The culmination of the master's program is the completion and acceptance of a thesis and its successful oral defense. The specific format of the written work is to be discussed and agreed upon with the student's advisor and committee. The advisor and thesis committee, in consultation with the student, will agree upon the schedule of the defense. All members of the thesis committee must have read and must approve, in writing, a complete thesis before a defense can be scheduled. Practically, this requires that a thesis draft, already vetted by the advisor, be made available to the remainder of the thesis committee at least one month before any proposed defense date. Once the committee has agreed that the thesis is ready to defend, the form for scheduling the defense can be obtained from the E&ES department. The student is responsible for following all University requirements for the format and scheduling of the thesis. The oral examination will include both discussion of the thesis and any topic of the student's preparation.

Concentrations.

Planetary science is an emerging interdisciplinary field at the intersection of geology and astronomy with substantial contributions from physics, chemistry and biology. The subject matter is planets, including those around other stars (exosolar systems). The science questions include the most important of our times: How do planets (including the earth) form? How common are they in the universe? What is their range of properties and how do they evolve? Is there or was there ever life on other planets? Certainly, the discovery of even microbial life beyond the earth would rank as one of the greatest human achievements of all time, and this quest lies squarely within the purview of planetary science.

Program of Study: MA or BA/MA students in the natural sciences and mathematics may elect a course of study resulting in the planetary science concentration. The concentration is designed to engage students in the research results, skills, and methods of planetary science. The planetary science concentration requires the (1) completion of a minimum of four courses from the list below with a grade of B- of better. At least one of these courses must be from a department outside the student’s home department. (2) Students are also required to attend the Planetary Science Seminar, ASTR/E&ES 555 that is offered each semester. (3) All students must complete a written thesis on a topic relevant to planetary science. A member of the student's thesis committee will be from the planetary science Concentration Committee. The Planetary Science Concentration will be designated on the student's transcript upon the successful completion of this program of study and MA requirements of the student's home department. For more information, please contact the any of the members of the planetary science concentration committee or the graduate school.

2013-2014 Planetary Science Concentration Committee: Martha Gilmore, Earth and Environmental Sciences; James Greenwood, E&ES; William Herbst, Astronomy; Meredith Hughes, Astronomy; Seth Redfield, Astronomy 

1. Planetary Science Courses (take at least 4, one from outside the home department).

ASTR524 Exoplanets: Formation, Detection, and Characterization
ASTR531 Stellar Structure and Evolution
ASTR532 Galaxies, Quasars, and Cosmology
BIOL214 Evolution
BIOL231 Microbiology
CHEM337/338 Physical Chemistry 1 & 2
CHEM361 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM383 Biochemistry
E&ES514 Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks
E&ES522 Introduction to GIS
E&ES565 Modeling the Earth and Environment
E&ES571 Planetary Geology Seminar
E&ES580 Volcanology
E&ES586 Meteorites and Cosmochemistry
MATH & COMP courses as appropriate in consultation with advisor
PHYS213 Waves and Oscillations

2. Seminar (offered each semester; take a minimum of 3 semesters)

ASTR/E&ES555 Planetary Science Seminar

3. Thesis

The MA degree program requires a thesis that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research in planetary science. The specific guidelines for the thesis are those of the student’s home department.