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Earth Science students learn about geoscience with an emphasis on the scientific method, problem solving, and interdisciplinary science education. Our graduates are prepared for careers in geoscience, education, environmental management and natural hazards mitigation.  They are also ready to make wise decisions on important issues related natural resources, environmental quality and sustainability in Oregon and beyond.

WOU Earth Science Students:
  • Learn about the physical, chemical, and biological processes operating in the Earth System.
  • Apply technology-based methods to solve geologic problems and communicate results.
  • Conduct scientific investigations in laboratory and field settings.

Professors: Jeffrey Myers, Stephen Taylor, Jeffrey Templeton

Assistant Professor: Melinda Shimizu

Geology Minor…………………………………………………. 28  credits


ES 201, 202, 203 Principles of Geology   (12)
ES 301 Petrographic Microscopy (2)
ES 302 Quantitative Methods (2)
ES 322 Geomorphology and Aerial Photo Interpretation (4)
ES 450 Introduction to Petrology (4)
ES 493 Sedimentary Geology (4)


Earth Science Student Handbook –   Earth_Science_Advising_Guide_July_2015

Geology Minor Course Descriptions

ES 201, 202, 203 Principles of Geology  (12)

Introductory geology sequence that focuses on physical and historical geology. ES 201 emphasizes Earth’s internal processes with topics including plate tectonics, minerals, igneous rocks and processes, volcanism, metamorphism and metamorphic rocks, rock deformation and geologic structures, and earthquakes. ES 202 emphasizes Earth surface processes with topics including sedimentary rocks, sedimentary processes, rock weathering, mass wasting, river systems, groundwater, glaciers, deserts, and coastal processes. ES 203 explores the origin and dynamics of the Earth’s interior, surface, ocean, atmospheric, and biological systems and critically evaluates topics including the age of the earth and the origin of life. Three lectures and one two-hour laboratory. No prerequisite.


ES 301 Petrographic Microscopy (2)

Introduction to the basic techniques for using a petrographic microscope to describe, identify and interpret Earth materials in thin section.  Course integrates field observations, microscopic investigations of rocks and minerals and digital image analysis to solve geologic problems.  One hour of lecture and two hours of lab per week.  Additional field trips outside of scheduled class time may be required.  Pre-req: ES 201 or consent of instructor.


ES 302 Quantitative Methods (2)

Focus on quantitative techniques in geology, applied mathematics, basic statistics, software applications and field technology.  One hour of lecture and two hours of lab work per week. Additional field trips outside of scheduled class time may be required.  Pre-req: Intro Geology course, or consent of instructor.  May be taken concurrently with Intro Geology course.


ES 322 Geomophology and Aerial Photo Interpretation (4)

A study of the physical and chemical processes operating at the earth’s surface and their resulting landforms. Topics include weathering processes, soils, mass wasting, river systems, glacial phenomena, tectonic landscapes, volcanic areas, and coastal regions. Analytical techniques include interpretation of aerial photographs, map analysis, and quantitative approaches to geologic problem solving. Four hours of lecture and active learning per week. Supplemental field trips are incorporated as needed. Pre-req: ES 201, ES 202, or consent of instructor.


ES 450/550 Introduction to Petrology (4)

Focus on the textures, compositions, and genetic associations of diverse suites of rock types. Study of the structure, chemistry, physical properties, and occurrences of rock-forming minerals augments the rock study. Emphasis is on the integration of hand sample study, petrographic microscopy, and digital image analysis to solve geologic problems. Four hours of lecture and active learning per week. Pre-req: ES 201 and ES 303, or consent of instructor.


ES 493 Sedimentary Geology (4)

Description and interpretation of sedimentary lithology, textures and structures, primarily at the thin section, hand sample, and outcrop scale: the principles of transport/depositional process; techniques of sedimentary analysis; sedimentary environments; and facies models.  four hours of lecture and active learning.  Required field trips. Pre-req: ES 431 or ES 491, or consent of instructor.  Should be taken during the student’s senior year and requires a significant  preexisting geological knowledge base.




Contact Us:

Department of Earth and Physical Science

Department Chair: Jeff Templeton  

503-838-8858   l    email: templej@wou.edu l   Location: Natural Science Building  NS 211