Graduate Course Descriptions

Check the 2017-2018 Course Offerings

300-0 - Earth and Planetary Materials

Mineralogy of the earth and planets from atomic to continental scales, focusing on structure, composition, identification, and physical properties of minerals as they pertain to geological and societal applications. Prerequisites: EARTH 201, CHEM 132 (formerly CHEM 103); MATH 220, and PHYSICS 135-1.   Instructor: Jacobsen

301-0 - Petrology: Evolution of Crustal and Mantle Rocks

Origin, composition, and classification of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Application of laboratory characterization and basic thermodynamics to interpreting observed rock textures and mineral assemblages in terms of geological processes. Prerequisite: EARTH 300 or consent of instructor.   Instructor: Jacobsen or Bina

302-0 - Physics and Thermochemistry of the Earth’s Interior 

Finite strain theory, solid solution thermodynamics, phase transitions, subduction zone processes, seismic velocity structures.   Instructor: Bina

310-0 - Aqueous Geochemistry

The geochemistry of rivers, groundwater, lakes, and seawater. Topics include thermodynamics, kinetics, acids and bases, pH and alkalinity, carbonate equilibria, redox chemistry, chemical weathering, and numerical modeling. Prerequisites: EARTH 201 and CHEM 132 (formerly CHEM 103); or consent of instructor.   Instructor: A. Jacobson

312-0 - Stable Isotope Geochemistry

We will examine both the traditional stable isotopes (carbon, oxygen, etc.) and some of the more novel ones (lithium, boron, transition elements, etc.). The aim is to understand the principles governing these isotopic systems and apply these isotopic tools to important problems in Earth Sciences. Emphasis will be on the Earth surface processes and climate change. Prerequisites: EARTH 201 and 310; or consent of the instructor.   Instructor: Hurtgen

313-0 - Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry

Application of radiogenic isotopes to problems in geochemistry, petrology, hydrology, oceanography, ecology, and environmental science. Includes radioactive decay, nucleosynthesis, cosmochemistry, geochronology, mixing processes, and numerical modeling. Prerequisites: CHEM 132 (formerly CHEM 103) or consent of instructor. Instructor: A. Jacobson

314-0 - Organic Geochemistry

The origin, modification and preservation of organic matter in the sedimentary record; how it relates to global carbon cycle and climate in the geologic past; implications for future greenhouse warming.  Prerequisite: one quarter of earth or environmental sciences and one quarter of chemistry; or consent of instructor.   Instructor: Blair

317-0 - Biogeochemistry

The cycling of biogenic elements (C, N, S, Fe, Mn) in surficial environments. Emphasis on microbial processes and isotopic signatures. Prerequisites: one quarter of chemistry plus one quarter of geoscience, environmental science, or biology. Taught with CIV ENV 317; students may not earn credit for both courses.   Instructor: Blair

320-0 - Global Tectonics

Kinematics of plate tectonics. Geometry, determination, and description of plate motions. Paleomagnetism, marine magnetism, and hot spots. History of ocean basins and mountain-building processes. Prerequisites: EARTH 202 and PHYSICS 135-2; or consent of instructor. Instructor: TBD

321-0 - Reflection Seismology

Theory of seismic reflection technique. Acquisition, data processing and interpretation of seismic reflection data, seismic stratigraphy. Applications to hydrocarbon prospecting, structural geology, tectonics, stratigraphy, and deep continental structure. Prerequisites: EARTH 202, MATH 230, and PHYSICS 135-1; or consent of instructor. Instructor: TBD

322-0 - Scientific Computing in the Physical Sciences

Introduction to coding, scientific computing, and visualization for analyzing and modeling geophysical and other data via Python, unix, shell scripting, Generic Mapping Tools, parallel processing, and an individual or paired final project. Instructor: Van der Lee 

323-0 - Seismology and Earth Structure

Elastic theory, seismic waves, seismometers, ray paths, travel times; internal structure of the Earth; earthquakes: location, characteristics, origin, mechanism and relation to plate motions. Prerequisites: EARTH 202, MATH 250, and PHYSICS 135-2; or consent of instructor.   Instructor: Stein or Van der Lee

324-0 - Earthquakes and Tectonics

Earthquakes: location, characteristics, origin, mechanism, and relation to plate motions; seismic hazard. Prerequisites: EARTH 202, MATH 250, and PHYSICS 135-2; or consent of instructor.   Instructors: Stein or Van der Lee

326-0 - Data Analysis for Earth and Planetary Sciences

Types and characteristics of earth science data, development and applications of model types, observational and systematic sources of uncertainties and their characterization, spatial and temporal predictions.   Instructor: Stein

327-0 - Geophysical Time Series Analysis and Inverse Problems

Introduction to analysis techniques applied to seismic and other geophysical data. Sampling, windowing, discrete and fast Fourier transforms, deconvolution, filtering, and inverse methods. Prerequisites: EARTH 202 and MATH 250; or consent of instructor.   Instructor: Stein

328-0 - Tectonics and Structural Geology

Deformation of rock masses: strain, fracture, slip, stress, and rheologic regimes; rock structures; folds, faults, foliations; seismic parameters in tectonic studies; orogenic belts and their tectonic evolution. Lectures and lab. Prerequisites: EARTH 201, MATH 240, and PHYSICS 135-1; or consent of instructor. Instructor: TBD

329-0 - Mathematical Inverse Methods in Earth and Environmental Sciences

Theory and application of inverse methods to gravity, magnetotelluric, seismic waveform, multilateration, and students’ data. Nonlinear, linearized; underdetermined, and mixed-determined problems and solution methods, such as regularized least-squares and neighborhood algorithms. Prerequisites: MATH 230, STAT 232, or equivalent; MATH 240 or STAT 320-1, 320-2 recommended. Instructor: van der Lee

330-0 - Sedimentary Geology

Review of description and classification of sedimentary rocks; principles of stratigraphy and sedimentology; methods of local, regional and global correlation; interpretation of ancient depositional systems (facies analysis); cyclostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy in the context of tectonic, eustatic, and climatic controls on deposition; tectonics and basin analysis. Prerequisite: EARTH 201 or consent of instructor. Instructor: Sageman

331-0 - Field Problems in Sedimentary Geology

Field methods in stratigraphy and sedimentology; interpretation of depositional systems and paleoenvironments; methods of observations, data recording and analysis, and presentation of geological information (maps, cross sections). Course involves 2.5-week field trip to Colorado/Utah in late August - mid September (returning to Evanston in time for regular classes) and meets through the Fall quarter. Prerequisite: EARTH 330. Instructors: Sageman and Beddows

340-0 - Paleobiology

Review of major fossil groups and major events in the history of life: origin and early evolution of life, speciation and mass extinction, evolution of communities and ecosystems through geologic time. Application of paleobiologic methods to geologic problem solving and paleoenvironmental reconstruction (e.g., biostratigraphy, functional morphology, community paleoecology). Prerequisite: EARTH 105, 106, 201, or 203; or consent of instructor.   Instructor: TBD

341-0 - Quaternary Climate Change: From the Ice Age to the Age of Oil

Methods for reconstructing and dating past environmental changes, causes of natural climate change, and major climate events of the Quaternary through the present. Their relevance for understanding current climate change. Prerequisite: EARTH 201 or consent of instructor.   Instructor: Axford

342-0 - Topics in Contemporary Energy and Climate Change

The increasing worldwide demand for energy presents a number of complex interdisciplinary challenges, from oil depletion to climate change. This class will challenge students to answer the question, how shall we power the world in the 21st century? We will examine the history and geography of energy use; links between energy and climate change; and technological, economic, and environmental benefits and drawbacks of various energy sources. Prerequisite: Open to graduate students of all disciplines, senior undergraduates majoring in natural sciences or engineering, and other undergraduates by instructor consent. Cross-listed with ISEN-410.   Instructor: Axford

343-0 - Earth System Modeling

Earth System Modeling is an introduction to the art and science of reducing Earth's complex systems into simple numerical models. This course will survey core Earth system science topics, introduce numerical modeling concepts, and facilitate the construction of dynamical models in a hands-on computational laboratory environment. Core topics reviewed and modeled include the rock cycle, hydrological cycle, Earth's climate, and the global carbon cycle. The lecture portion of the course will highlight/review Earth science concepts, while the modeling component of the course will focus on the design, construction, and use of models to test hypotheses, and increase understanding of the forces and processes that shape the global environment. The modeling software to be used will be appropriate to undergraduates and beginning graduate students who do not have previous experience with solving differential equations or with computer programming, though students with these skill sets will appreciate the manifestation of numerical rules in the software package. Ultimately, this course is designed to empower students with introductory modeling skills that can be used to build a better understanding of how Earth's various components interact and evolve. Prerequisite: One quarter of Earth or Environmental Science coursework at the 200 level or greater, and one quarter of CALCULUS, and one quarter of PHYSICS.  Instructor: Horton

351-0 - Forming a Habitable Planet

Formation and evolution of planets permitting life; global geophysical and geochemical processes critical in our planet's development; prospects for life within our solar system and beyond; exoplanet discovery and categorization. Prerequisites: Students must have completed one of the following: EARTH 202, ISP 350, or PHYSICS 135. Or permission of the instructor. Instructors: Jurdy and Stein  Course Website

360-0 - Instrumentation and Field Methods

Theory and practicum on electronic instrumentation for monitoring and measurement in earth sciences, including data loggers, hands-on design and construction of electronic sensors, signal processing, data management, and network design. Prerequisite: Three EARTH courses, or consent of instructor.  Instructors: Beddows and van der Lee

3XX-0 - Geobiology

This class will center on evaluating the interplay between biological and physical processes in shaping the environment. Major topics include: the role of microbes in major element cycling (C, N, S, P), historical geobiology (how have microbes changed the planet over time?), methodologies applied in geobiology, humans as agents of geobiology, and the related fields of astro/exobiology. Prerequisite: EARTH 201 and either CHEM 132 (formerly CHEM 103), CHEM 172 or CHEM 210-1, or permission from instructor.  Instructor: Osburn

3XX-0 - Microbial Ecology

Are microbes important to the Earth System? Yes! This course will explore the fundamental controls on distribution, diversity, and activity of microbes across the Earth. We will focus on the dynamics within and between populations including ecological interactions between microbes and other microbes, higher organisms, and geochemical fluxes. The course will culminate in a survey of the ecology of microbe-rich environments on Earth today including the ocean, soils, the subsurface, extreme environments, and the human body! Prerequisite: At least one quarter each of chemistry, biology and earth science coursework.  Instructor: Osburn

390-0 - Special Topics in Earth and Planetary Sciences

Special Topics courses may be repeated for credit with a change of topic.   Instructor: Varies   

399-0 - Independent Study

Special problems under direct supervision of one or more faculty members. Comprehensive report and examination required. Open with consent of department to juniors and seniors who have completed field of concentration in the department.   Instructed by Faculty

420-0 - Geodynamics of Active Plate Margins

Structure, motions, and active processes of modern trenches, island arcs, accretionary wedges, and consuming continental margins; analysis of selected ancient orogenic belts in a modern plate tectonic context; nature of collision, obduction, subduction, sliding, and microplate evolution; plate history of North America.   Instructed by Faculty  

421-0 - Advanced Structural Geology and Tectonics

Stress and strain analysis, mechanics of fracturing and faulting applied to the earth's crust, kinematic models of folding and faulting, plate boundary rheology and deformation models, fabric analysis techniques. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.  Instructed by Faculty  

436-0 - Sedimentology

Modern and ancient depositional environments of clastic and carbonate sediments. Sedimentary structures, geometry, provenance, diagenesis, and bioturbation in facies analysis. Oceanographic and tectonic controls on sedimentary rock facies.   Instructor: Sageman  

**Advanced Topics courses listed below may be repeated for credit with a change of topic.  

438-0 - Advanced Topics in Geophysics

Topics include tectonophysics and the bodily structure of the earth, dislocation theory in earth motions, glaciology, geochronology, and emerging and new areas of geophysics.   Instructor: Bina, Jurdy, Stein, or Van der Lee  

440-0 - Advanced Topics in Geochemistry

Topics include organic and environmental geochemistry, global cycling of elements, stable isotope geochemistry, mineral surface reactions.   Instructor: Jacobsen

450-0 - Advanced Topics

Topics at the frontiers of research taught by visiting or departmental faculty.   Instructed by Faculty  

451-0 - Advanced Topics in Paleoclimate

Methodology in paleoclimate: stable isotopes, paleoecological and other methods for reconstructing the past climate. Fundamental principles of climate change on the time scale of thousands to millions of years. Climate reconstructions from the Cretaceous to the present.   Instructed by Faculty  

461-0 - Advanced Topics in Plate Tectonics

Geophysical study of plate boundary and intraplate processes; intraplate earthquakes and intraplate deformation; the subduction process; physical processes at mid-ocean ridges; history of the ocean basins; evolution of the earth's mantle/crust.   Instructor: Stein  

462-0 - Advanced Topics in Seismology

Earthquake source models, normal modes of the earth, and body wave synthesis methods.   Instructor: Stein

499-0 - Independent Study
Study of special problems under the direct supervision of one or more members of the teaching staff. A comprehensive report and/or a comprehensive examination is required.   Instructed by Faculty  

519-0 - NSF Responsible Conduct of Research
Provides training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research. Mandatory for all EARTH graduate students. Instructor: Beddows

590-0 - Research (taken after completion of 9 graded courses and throughout the second year)
Independent investigation of selected problems pertaining to thesis or dissertation. 590 Research may be taken for one, two, three, or four course units per quarter. Generally, this registration is not available to students until a core of basic courses has been completed. All 590 Research must be taken on a P/N basis.

TGS Courses

TGS 500 - Advanced Doctoral Study (taken in year 3 and beyond)
Available to doctoral students who have completed the residency requirement of eight quarters of full-tuition registration within their program and are receiving aid from the University. Provides full-time status. Students may register for TGS 500 via CAESAR.

TGS 503-0 - Resident Research Continuation
Available to master's degree students on a one-year extension and to doctoral students who have been admitted to candidacy, completed all residency requirements and three quarters of TGS 599 Postcandidacy Research, and need to use University facilities to complete a dissertation. Also appropriate for students receiving financial aid or on F-1 and J-1 visas. Provides full-time status.

TGS 509 - International Student Institute
Required for all international PhD students designated as International Summer Institute Fellows. Intensive instruction in English; immersion into American social and academic culture and life.


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