UTA home page The University of Texas at Arlington Graduate Catalog 2005-2006
Graduate Catalog 2005-2006
     Note: This Catalog was published in July 2005 and supersedes the 2004-2006 Catalog.      
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Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

department web page: www.uta.edu/ees/
department contact: geology@uta.edu
graduate web page: www.uta.edu/ees/Graduate_programs.htm
graduate contact: www.uta.edu/ees/Graduate_programs.htm

Chair

John S. Wickham
107 Geoscience
817.272.2987

Admission Requirements | Degree Requirements | Courses: GEOL

Areas of Study and Degrees

Geology
M.S.

Mathematical Geoscience
Ph.D.
(See Interdepartmental and Intercampus Programs.)

Environmental Science and Engineering
M.S., Ph.D.
(See Interdepartmental and Intercampus Programs.)

Earth Science Teaching
M.A.
(See Interdepartmental and Intercampus Programs.)

Spatial Information Systems
Certificate

Petroleum Geoscience
Certificate

Master's Degree Plans

(Thesis and Non-Thesis Options)

Graduate Advisor, Geology

William L. Balsam

Graduate Advisor, Mathematical Geoscience

Merlynd K. Nestell

Graduate Advisor, Environmental Science and Engineering

Karen Johannesson

Graduate Faculty

Professors

Balsam, Crick, Holbrook, M. Nestell, Scotese, Wickham

Associate Professor

K. Johannesson

Adjunct Faculty

Bhattacharya, Damuth, Eisenstadt, Ellwood, Leybourne, Medley, G. Nestell, Oliver, Shanmugam, Standlee

Professors Emeritus

Burkart, McNulty, Smith

Objectives

The Master of Science in geology provides a basic geologic background for students interested in a professional career in geology. With the thesis as a focus, the program integrates coursework and research to give the student not only a broad foundation but also a specific area of competence through participation in the research experience. Special coursework and research in geology, which lead to specialization in the areas of environmental geology or natural resource development, are available in addition to the more traditional areas of specialization.

The Ph.D. program in Mathematical Sciences is available to students interested in a more quantitative approach to earth science. Emphases in statistics or numerical and computational methods are especially useful when combined with coursework in the earth and environmental sciences. For more details on the Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences, see the section on Interdepartmental and Intercampus Programs.

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Environmental Science and Engineering are designed for students interested in applying environmental geoscience in a multidisciplinary setting involving engineering, biology, chemistry and public policy. For more details on these programs, see the Interdepartmental and Intercampus Programs section of this catalog.

The M.A. degree in science teaching is for K-12 teachers who want to increase their teaching skills and understanding of science in general and earth science in particular.

Spatial Information Systems Certificate includes instruction in the technology of acquiring, managing, analyzing, and displaying information in a spatial context. This technology is a critical component of decision-making in a wide variety of enterprises and includes Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, the Global Positioning System (GPS), and remotely sensed data from aircraft and satellites.

The Petroleum Geoscience Certificate provides instruction in the geological principles and techniques used in the petroleum industry to explore and produce oil and gas. It is useful for professionals wishing to upgrade their knowledge and skills, and those interested in employment in the petroleum industry. The graduate courses may also be used toward a M.S. degree.

Admission

Students entering the graduate program in geology must meet the general Graduate School admission requirements. Those in the certificate programs will be admitted as Special Students and do not have to meet all the admissions requirements for the degree programs.

Applicants with degrees in geology are encouraged to have had the following courses or their equivalents as a part of a bachelor's program: mineralogy (2445), petrology-petrography (2446), paleontology (3441), computer literacy (1391), stratigraphy (3442), structural geology (3443), field geology (3387, 3388), one year each of physics, chemistry, biology and math through calculus II.

A program of leveling coursework for students with undergraduate deficiencies will be designed by the graduate studies committee depending on the student's professional interests.

Students in the Environmental Science and Engineering or Mathematical Geoscience degree programs who want to concentrate in geoscience should also have a baccalaureate degree in Geology with extra coursework in science, math, or engineering.

Those admitted into the Spatial Information Certificate program should be computer literate, with a B.S. or B.A. degree.

Students in the Petroleum Geoscience Certificate should have a baccalaureate degree in geoscience, or a degree in science, math or engineering with some experience in the petroleum industry.

Masters Program Admissions Criteria

For unconditional admission, students must demonstrate that they will likely be successful in the graduate program. The department admissions committee uses the following guidelines to make that judgment:

  1. A B.S. degree in an Earth Science discipline with the following courses or their equivalent: Mineralogy, Petrology, Structure, Stratigraphy, Field Geology and Geophysics or Paleontology. In addition, students need a year of Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Calculus.
  2. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, as calculated by the Graduate School.
  3. GRE scores are combined with the other measures of achievement to determine admission. Successful students in the past have scored above the 60 percentile on the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing portions. International students have been successful with somewhat lower scores on the verbal and analytical writing portions.
  4. Favorable letters of recommendation from the former university instructors.

These are only guidelines, and students who do not meet the guidelines in one area may be admitted unconditionally if they are strong in other areas.

Students that are unconditionally admitted will be eligible for available scholarship and/or fellowship support. Award of scholarships or fellowships will be based on consideration of the same criteria utilized in admission decisions. To be eligible, candidates must be new students coming to UTA in the fall semester, must have a GPA of 3.0 in their last 60 undergraduate credit hours plus any graduate credit hours as calculated by the Graduate School, and must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 hours of coursework in both long semesters to retain their fellowships.

If an applicant does not meet the standards for unconditional admission outlined above, they may be considered for probationary admission after careful examination of their application materials. Probationary admission requires that the applicant receive a B or better in their first 12 hours of graduate coursework at UTA.

A candidate may be denied admission if they have less than satisfactory performance on a majority of the admission criteria described above. However, students who are nearly qualified for unconditional admission may be admitted on probationary status in which they will be required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their first 12 hours of formal courses in the program.

A deferred application decision may be granted when a file is incomplete or when a denied decision is not appropriate. An applicant unable to supply all required documentation prior to the admission deadline but who otherwise appears to meet admission requirements may be granted provisional admission.

Finally, international students must have a minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL exam. To have a graduate teaching assistantship, international students must also have a minimum score of 40 on the TSE.

Degree Requirements

In the first year, a degree candidate must file a plan approved by the graduate studies committee, which includes coursework for the program including undergraduate course deficiencies if any. The graduate studies committee may allow graduate course credit for undergraduate courses with written approval. Enrollment in Technical Sessions, GEOL 5199, is required each semester a student is enrolled in lecture classes.

For the M.S. thesis option, 24 semester hours of approved graduate level courses are required in addition to the thesis. A thesis proposal, written thesis and thesis defense are required. No more than 3 hours of research courses and one hour of 5199 can be applied to the 24 semester hours.

For the M.S. non-thesis option, a minimum of 36 hours of approved graduate courses are required. A minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 hours are to be taken in GEOL 5381, Research in Geology. No more than 2 hours of 5199 can be applied to the 36 required hours.

The degree requirements for the Environmental Science and Engineering, the Mathematical Geosciences, and Master of Arts in teaching programs are described in the Interdepartmental and Intercampus Programs section of this catalog.

The two certificate programs require 15 hours of graduate credit each with a grade point average of 3.0. The Spatial Information Systems Certificate requires a project as part of the 15 credit hours.


The grade of R (research in progress) is a permanent grade; completing course requirements in a later semester cannot change it. To receive credit for an R-graded course, the student must continue to enroll in the course until a passing grade is received.

An incomplete grade (the grade of X) cannot be given in a course that is graded R, nor can the grade of R be given in a course that is graded X. To receive credit for a course in which the student earned an X, the student must complete the course requirements. Enrolling again in the course in which an X was earned cannot change a grade of X. At the discretion of the instructor, a final grade can be assigned through a change of grade form.

Three-hour thesis courses and three- and six-hour dissertation courses are graded R/F/W only (except social work thesis courses). The grade of P (required for degree completion for students enrolled in thesis or dissertation programs) can be earned only in six- or nine-hour thesis courses and nine-hour dissertation courses. In the course listings below, R-graded courses are designated either "Graded P/F/R" or "Graded R." Occasionally, the valid grades for a course change. Students should consult the appropriate Graduate Advisor or instructor for valid grade information for particular courses. (See also the sections titled "R" Grade, Credit for Research, Internship, Thesis or Dissertation Courses and Incomplete Grade in this catalog.)

Courses in Geology (GEOL)

GEOL 5181. RESEARCH IN GEOLOGY Independent study in various areas of research including paleontology, stratigraphy, tectonics, structural geology, sedimentology, geochemistry, petrology, geophysics, and volcanology. May be repeated for credit.
Graded R

GEOL 5190. GEOSCIENCE INTERNSHIP Work in geoscience for a commercial concern at least 20 hrs/wk for 3 months. Requirements include writing a resume, learning how to interview and function on the job, and a report describing the work.
Prerequisite: graduate admission to geology.

GEOL 5199. TECHNICAL SESSIONS (1-0)
Forum for presentation of results of graduate students and faculty research. Required each semester of all graduate students.

GEOL 5281. RESEARCH IN GEOLOGY Independent study in various areas of research including paleontology, stratigraphy, tectonics, structural geology, sedimentology, geochemistry, petrology, geophysics, and volcanology. May be repeated for credit.
Graded R

GEOL 5301. ENVIRONMENTAL GEOCHEMISTRY (3-0)
Fundamentals of low-temperature aqueous geochemistry, and anthropogenic impacts on natural water systems. Topics include equilibrium thermodynamics, kinetics, aqueous complexation, and oxidation/reduction processes that affect metals and organic matter in natural waters.

GEOL 5302. GLOBAL TECTONICS (3-0)
Plate tectonic theory and evidence, review of plate tectonic history since the late Precambrian.
Prerequisite: GEOL 3442, GEOL 3443.

GEOL 5304. GEOMETRY AND MECHANICS OF GEOLOGICAL STRUCTURES (2-3)
Geometries of structures associated with extensional, shortening, strike-slip, diapiric, and reactivated tectonic environments. Principles of mechanics applied to the formation of these structures.
Prerequisite: GEOL 3443; MATH 2325; PHYS 1444.

GEOL 5306. ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY (3-0)
Hydrological systems, water quality, and behavior of pollutants; atmospheric systems, air quality, and effects of pollutants; occurrence, prediction, and amelioration of natural environmental hazards including floods, earthquakes, volcanism, and landslides.

GEOL 5312. SANDSTONE PETROLOGY (3-0)
Petrographic examination of terrigenous clastics, including textural, compositional, and diagenetic aspects. Focus on paleogeographic, tectonic, and environmental interpretation.
Prerequisite: GEOL 3442.

GEOL 5313. CARBONATE PETROLOGY (2-3)
Nature and composition of carbonate sediments and rocks in terms of their genesis, depositional environments, and processes involved in transport, deposition, diagenesis, and lithification.
Prerequisite: GEOL 4443 or equivalent and 4345 or concurrent enrollment.

GEOL 5320. UNDERSTANDING GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (2-1)
A practical introduction to GIS and methods of creating, maintaining and displaying spatial data using the ArcGIS software.
Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

GEOL 5321. ANALYSIS OF SPATIAL DATA (2-1)
Analyzing spatial data using ArcGIS, Spatial Analyst, and 3D Analyst, topological surface analysis and modeling; 3D visualization and viewscapes; spatial statistics and data quality management
Prerequisite: GEOL 43300, GEOL 5320, or permission of the instructor.

GEOL 5322. GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEMS (2-1)
Review of the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System and its segments: space, operational control, and GPS receivers. Mechanics of the satellite constellation; GPS signal structure; data and coordinate systems; precision and accuracy; error factors; absolute (point) versus relative (differential) positioning. Various positioning techniques using several types of GPS receivers; field data collection and input into GIS programs for data analysis and presentation.
Prerequisite: GEOL 4330, GEOL 5320, or permission of the instructor.

GEOL 5323. REMOTE SENSING FUNDAMENTALS (2-1)
The electromagnetic spectrum and the interaction of EM waves with matter; various types of sensing devices; spectral and spatial resolution parameters; airborne and satellite sensor platforms; aerial photographs and false-color images. The sequence of data acquisition, computer processing and interpretation; sources of data; the integration of remote sensing data with other data types in GIS.
Prerequisite: GEOL 4330, GEOL 5320, or permission of the instructor.

GEOL 5324. GEOGRAPHIC DATA ANALYSIS PROJECT Acquisition, processing and analysis of a set of spatial data selected by the student with the approval of an advisor. A written report of the results is required.
Prerequisite: GEOL 5320, 5321, 5322, 5323.

GEOL 5330. EARTH SYSTEMS, PART I (3-0)
A. review of Earth materials and their chemistry Earth structure and geologic time, followed by a detailed discussion of the Plate Tectonic System, the hydrologic System and their interaction in weathering and erosion, sedimentation and landscape development. Laboratory demonstrations will include identification of earth materials, estimating plate motions, location of earthquake epicenters, flood frequency and groundwater discharge. These classes are intended for M.A. In Science majors and may not be taken for credit for the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in geology.

GEOL 5331. EARTH SYSTEMS, PART II (3-0)
A detailed discussion of the atmosphere system, oceanic systems, and biologic systems and their history. A summary discussion of the interaction of Earth Systems for an understanding of process that have formed and continue to form the Planet Earth. Laboratory demonstrations will include weather forecasting, ocean currents, sea level change, and fossil identification. These classes are intended for M.A. in Science majors, and may not be taken for credit for the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in geology. Prerequisite: admission into the M.A. in Science program.

GEOL 5332. EARTH RESOURCES AND THE ENVIRONMENT (3-0)
A detailed discussion of resources that support life: Atmosphere, water, soil, minerals and materials, and energy; the use of those resources and the effect on the environment and global change; and the relation between population, resource distribution and availability, and environmental pollution. These classes are intended for M.A. in Science majors, and may not be taken for credit for the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in geology. Prerequisite: 5330, 5331, and admission into the M.A. in Science Program.

GEOL 5335. LABORATORY METHODS AND TECHNIQUES (2-3)
Methods and techniques used to identify minerals, rocks and fossils; maps and mapping of geological data; recognition of landslides; flood frequency and erosion processes of river and streams; location of earthquakes.These classes are intended for M.A. in Science majors, and may not be taken for credit for the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in geology. Prerequisite: GEOL 5330, 5331 and admission into the M.A. in Science Program.

GEOL 5344. DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENTS: TERRIGENOUS CLASTICS (3-0)
Depositional processes, physiographic and environmental components, and facies characteristics and relationships of alluvial, eolian, deltaic, clastic shoreline, shallow siliciclastic sea and deep sea clastic depositional systems. Emphasis on interpretation of ancient analogs.
Prerequisite: GEOL 4443 or equivalent.

GEOL 5345. PETROLEUM GEOLOGY (2-3)
Origin, generation and migration of petroleum; reservoirs, seals and traps; the subsurface environment; properties of petroleum; exploration and production methods; use of seismic lines and well logs; types of petroleum basins; reserves and resources.

GEOL 5348. MARINE GEOLOGY (3-0)
Geologic processes of the oceans. Sedimentation in the oceans including biologic processes that relate to sediment production, chemistry of seawater, geochemical cycles in the oceans. Origin of seafloor topography. Seafloor spreading.

GEOL 5365. TOPICS IN GEOLOGY (2-3)
Topics offered depend on student and faculty interest. Such topics might include identification of fossil fragments in thin section; magmatic processes; plate tectonics and sedimentary basin evolution; stratigraphic paleontology; sedimentary or volcanogenic ore deposition; geostatistics; geophysical archeology; and various advanced subjects in sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleontology, geophysics, geochemistry, volcanology and petrology. May be repeated for credit when topic changes.

GEOL 5370. SEDIMENTARY SYSTEMS (3-0)
Carbonate and clastic depositional systems, recognition of facies, systems tracts, diagenetic overprint, shelf to basin profiling, and sequence stratigraphic analysis.

GEOL 5371. PETROLEUM GEOCHEMISTRY AND BASIN MODELING (3-0)
Basic concepts of petroleum geochemistry, interpretation of geochemical data, maturation of kerogen. Basin evolution processes controlling petroleum generation and accumulation, subsidence histories, porosity evolution overpressure generation, thermal histories, hydrocarbon expulsion and migration.

GEOL 5372. STRUCTURAL GEOMETRY AND TECTONICS OF PETROLEUM FIELDS AND INTRODUCTION TO WELL LOG INTERPRETATION (3-0)
Techniques of structural modeling and restoration to the reliability of structural interpretation; structural styles of thin skinned, basement involved, strike-slip and reactivated systems. Introduction to the various types of well logs, and the quantitative and qualitative information obtained.

GEOL 5373. RESERVOIR CHARACTERIZATION (3-0)
Reservoir characterization, field development, risk assessment and economic evaluation of prospects.

GEOL 5374. SEISMIC INTERPRETATION (3-0)
Introduction to the methods of acquisition and processing as they relate to the interpretation of seismic records. Structural and stratigraphic interpretation methods and pitfalls using two and three dimensional seismic data.

GEOL 5381. RESEARCH IN GEOLOGY Independent study in various areas of research including paleontology, stratigraphy, tectonics, structural geology, sedimentology, geochemistry, petrology, geophysics, and volcanology. May be repeated for credit.
Graded R

GEOL 5398. THESIS
Graded F,P,R

GEOL 5407. ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS (3-3)
Geophysical techniques applied to solving environmental problems. The course will cover fundamentals in geophysics and include a practical field problem.
Prerequisite: a physics course and a course in geochemistry or geophysics or permission of the instructor.

GEOL 5409. APPLIED GEOPHYSICS (3-3)
Geophysical Techniques used to determine the presence and extent of deposits of minerals and the subsurface structure of selected localities from field methods.
Prerequisite: GEOL 3443 and a course in physics, or permission of the instructor.

GEOL 5483. GEOARCHAEOLOGY (3-1)
Geological, geochemical and geophysical techniques employed in the study of archaeological sites and materials. Also listed as ANTH 5483.

GEOL 5698. THESIS
Graded F,R

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