Advising for the Geology Major

The Lawrence University Department of Geology is a vibrant, fun, and intellectually stimulating department made up of passionate students and faculty.  We would love to have you join us!

Getting Started
Students interested in pursuing a geology major should plan to take Geology 110 during their freshman or sophomore year. If you are interested in learning more about geology at Lawrence, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the three geology faculty members: Marcia Bjornerud marcia.bjornerud@lawrence.edu, Jeff Clark jeffrey.j.clark@lawrence.edu, or Andrew Knudsen andrew.knudsen@lawrence.edu.

What’s next?
Most geologists do not come to college planning to major in geology. Rather, most of us took an introductory course and found our planet to be truly fascinating!  So, if you have taken Geology 110, and you want to learn more about our Earth, what comes next? The following courses are a good way to further explore geology.

  • Geology 210: History of Earth and Life, is the second part of our introductory sequence.  This course focuses on how our planet and the life that inhabits it have evolved together over geologic time.  This class is typically offered every other year.
  • Geology 240 &245:  Chemistry of the Earth: Low-Temperature Environments, is intended primarily for sophomores and juniors pursuing a geology major or minor.  These courses should be taken simultaneously. These are typically the first of the “core” classes our majors take.  Students should have a rudimentary understanding of chemistry (a high school chemistry course is typically adequate).  If you have questions about your readiness for this class we encourage you to speak with Andrew Knudsen andrew.knudsen@lawrence.edu.  This course is offered annually in the fall term.
  • We also typically offer a number of elective courses in a given year such as Geology 213: Geology and Health, Geology 214: Weather, Climate, and Climate Change, and Geology 220: Environmental Remote Sensing and GIS Applications.  These classes are also a good way to explore your interest in the geology major.
  • If you are strongly considering a geology major, you might also think about participating in a Geology 550: Seminar in field geology (don’t be intimidated by the course number).  You should speak with one of the geology faculty about what the offering will be for the next year.
  • The requirements for the rest of the geology major or minor can be found here.

Field work and off-campus study:
Field-based studies are at the core of Lawrence geology program.  Students can expect to participate in field studies starting in Geology 110 and again in nearly all of our required geology courses.  These field trips range from 3 hour excursions during standard lab meetings to overnight trips in our 200 and 300 level courses.  Additionally, students often participate in one of our Geology 550 field courses or in an off-campus program.

  • Geology 550: Typically prior to Term 1, or in some cases during the December break, students conduct field investigations at an area of geological complexity.  Recent trips have studied the geology of the Lake Superior Region, the Mississippi River, Puerto Rico, Scotland, and the Appalachian Mountains.  Students need to have completed Geology 110 in order to participate in this course.
  • Off-campus study:  Many of our majors study off-campus for a term or more in a wide variety of programs.  Of particular interest for our geology majors is the Earth and Environment in Italy program. This program is administered through Luther College, one of our ACM peer schools.  This program runs every fall and is a great way for students to expand their understanding of geology and hone their field skills.

Again, if you are interested in learning more about geology at Lawrence, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the three geology faculty members: Marcia Bjornerud marcia.bjornerud@lawrence.edu, Jeff Clark jeffrey.j.clark@lawrence.edu, or Andrew Knudsen andrew.knudsen@lawrence.edu.

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