Undergraduate research in the Department of Geology

Undergraduate students interested in doing research can learn about research opportunities by:

Once a student develops a plan with a research advisor the student should enroll in one of the research courses (number of hours varies).

 Enrollment for Geology research Credit

All undergraduate students doing original research should enroll in Geol 490/491, except:
- For senior thesis work, enroll in 492 Senior Thesis (or 493 Honors Senior Thesis)
- For “Individual Study” not involving original research, enroll in GEOL 390


Student writes a brief Project Description prior to starting (see details below) and submits 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.

The Research Project Description:

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.

  • 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 required for Graduation with Distinction).