Undergraduate research in the Department of Geology

Undergraduate students interested in doing research in geology should investigate possible research projects either directly with a faculty member or at the UG research projects site. Once the project is finalized (see below) the student will enroll in GEOL 490 "Undergraduate Research" for a variable amount of credits.


Purpose of GEOL 490 (vs. 390 or 492/493)

  • Geol 490 “Undergraduate Research” (or Geol 491 “Honors Undergraduate Research”) becomes available in spring 2016.

  • All undergraduate students doing original research should enroll in Geol 490/491, except:

    o If a student is enrolled in 492 Senior Thesis (or 493 Honors Senior Thesis) they should do so again.

    o GEOL 390 remains for “Individual Study” not involving original research

  • Geology 490 Requirements

  • Student should write a brief Project Description prior to starting (see details below) and submit it to Michael Stewart.

  • Completion of Geol 490 will require a Final Report in the form of a paper, or a poster presented at a regional or national meeting.

  • GEOL 490 students should attend a seminar to be led by Michael Stewart, designed to develop skills of communicating research ideas and results, research ethics and Field/Lab safety. This will meet several times in the spring semester.

    The Research Project Description:

  • A short (e.g., one page) description of the project, written by the student with some input from the advisor. It should include, ideally:

    o Research question/hypothesis to be addressed
    o Research approach/methods
    o Potential results and implications for the field.

  • Include the number of credit hours and a justification thereof. That is, the project’s scope and size should be clearly articulated.

  • List student qualifications, such as GPA, class year, and previous course work.

    Additional information:

  • Students are strongly encouraged to present at the SESE Research Review and the campus-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium (commonly in April).

  • Grading: One project grade is given on completion of the project and submission of the Final Report; it applies to all semesters of Geol 490. If a 490 project extends for multiple semesters, a deferred grade (DFR) can be used.

  • GEOL 490 projects can transition to 492 Senior Thesis (note that GEOL 492 is still required for Graduation with Distinction).