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Environmental Geosciences Track

This track is intended for oceanography, paleoecology and biogeochemistry / environmental geology students.  The environmental branch of the Geosciences department includes faculty with interests in paleoceanography, biological and chemical oceanography, paleoecology, and geomicrobiology.  Their interests and research may be broadly grouped under the general topic of biogeochemistry.  Students undertaking graduate studies and preparing for careers in this area are encouraged to complete a set of core courses and electives.  This allows students to take advantage of the flexibility offered by this structure to customize their formal academic training with additional courses in this and other departments.

The General Exam (GE) requirements of this track conform to those listed in the formal requirements page and include:

[1]  Submission of a GE paper.  The paper will reflect research performed during the one or two years preceding the GE.  The paper should have the format of a scientific publication, in the format for submission to a journal.

[2]  Oral presentation of the material presented in [1] above, followed by an oral examination covering the student's research area and the two declared areas of specialization.

[3]  Demonstration of satisfactory academic progress by the successful completion of at least 8 courses.

Options for the required courses:

The aim of these requirements is to assure rigorous training in the core area of environmental geosciences, while allowing flexibility to pursue the student's particular research field in depth.  Reading courses may be designed to satisfy special needs.

The eight courses must include GEO506 Fundamentals of Geosciences II (required) and at least 2 from each of the following two categories [a] or [b]:

[a]  Geosciences Upper Level Courses

GEO 417    Environmental Microbiology
GEO 418    Environmental Aqueous Geochemistry
GEO 423    Dynamic Meteorology
GEO 425    Intro to Ocean Physics for Climate
GEO 428    Biological Oceanography
GEO 430    Climate and the Terrestrial Biosphere
GEO 464    Radiogenic Isotopes
GEO 506    Fundamentals of Geosciences II - required course
GEO 520    Stable Isotope Geochemistry With an Environmental Focus
GEO 523    Geomicrobiology
GEO 526    Geochemical Reactions at the Natural Interfaces
GEO 534    Geological Constraints on the Global Carbon Cycle
GEO 535    Bioeochemical Cycles in Earth History
GEO 536    Paleoceanographic and Sediment History of Ocean Basins
GEO 538    Paleoclimatology
GEO 539    Paleoecol, Paleoclimat, Paleoceanography: Mass Extinctions                            and Ocean Acidification
GEO 559    Topics in Earth History
GEO 567    Geochemistry
GEO 568    Advanced Aqueous Chemistry

[b]  Courses offered by other departments (e.g., Chemistry, Engineering, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Biology, Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, etc.)

Options for the Areas of Specialization:

The student has considerable freedom  to choose his/her areas of specialization.  Topics chosen by recent students in this track include the following: paleoecology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, clay mineralogy, paleoclimate, microbial biogeochemistry, phytoplankton physiology, the marine carbon cycle, the marine nitrogen cycle, biological fractionation of stable isotopes.

Background Knowledge Expected of Incoming Students:

Incoming students are expected to have a broad science and math background with the equivalent of a major in one of the sciences (e.g., chemistry, geology, biology, engineering).  Course work deficiencies should be remedied in the first year of course work after admittance to the program.  When incoming graduate students meet with their advisory committees, the need for taking courses outside the Department is appraised, and additional courses in math, biology, chemistry, etc., may be advised.

Foreign students are required to be fluent enough in the English language that discussions during the GE are in no way impeded by limitation in the student's ability to communicate in English.