Courses taught vary by semester. Please consult the course catalog for up-to-date information on course availability.

111 – Our Dynamic Earth (4)
(Natural Science Gen. Ed.; Offerings vary by demand)

The modern view of the Earth as a dynamic, constantly-changing planet and the impact of geological processes on our lives. Discussions will include the origin of the solar system and Earth, how earthquakes and volcanoes result from heat-driven plate tectonic processes and our ongoing attempts to predict such hazardous events, and how Earth’s rocks and minerals are ingrained in our everyday lives.  Streams and groundwater processes and cycles of mountain uplift and erosion that continuously alter the Earth’s surface, will also be examined. This class has a require two hour laboratory.

121 – Oceanography (4)
(Natural Science Gen. Ed.; Offerings vary by demand)

This class and two hour lab serves as an introduction to the oceans. We will explore the physical and chemical processes affecting seawater; the geology of the seafloor; biological productivity in the oceans; and environmental challenges involving the oceans. This is an active learning class, meaning class time will be devoted to actively working through problems while your homework will be to read through the textbook and answer conceptual problems to prepare you for each class. The lab even has an optional field trip on our research boat – how fun!

311 – Sedimentation and Stratigraphy (4)
(Writing Intensive; Fall offering)

Prerequisite: EESC 111; pre- or corequisite: CHEM 111; recommended: EESC 301. This course provides an overview of the concepts associated with sedimentary rock formation, including theoretical sedimentology, process oriented facies analysis and applied stratigraphy in the context of cyclic sea level and climate change through time.  Class work includes several field trips to collect samples for physical and chemical analysis.  Laboratory.

355 – Icehouse – Greenhouse Earth (3)
(Speaking Intensive; Spring offering)

Prerequisites: EESC 110 or 111 and 121. This course examines the history of the Earth’s climate system in the context of the two primary modes: Icehouse and Greenhouse. Through critical evaluation of primary literature, written assignments and oral presentations, students will gain an appreciation of the magnitude of temporal and spatial climate reorganizations through time and develop an in-depth understanding of both long and short term cyclic changes that have contributed to the development of our modern climate system. Additionally, students complete a Climate Action Advocacy Project where they are the ones out advocating for change.

360D – UMW in Bonaire – Coral, Climate and Conservation (Beyond the Classroom; Spring offering)

The purpose of this course is to learn about the interrelationship between corals and anthropogenic stressors, with particular emphasis on climate change. Coral reefs serve a diverse ecosystem but are under major threat globally due to warming waters. Additional factors, such as pollution, over fishing, and coral disease cause stress on coral reefs on a more regional level, and when compounded with global warming and ocean acidification, have led to the decline in coral reefs around the world. In class, we will learn about coral reefs, climate change, and regional stressors as well as discuss what can we do, as people and as a society, to improve the situation.  The purpose of traveling to Bonaire is for you to observe coral reef environments first-hand through SCUBA and to practice coral conservation techniques, such as coral gardening.

360E – UMW in Jamaica – Human-Environment Interactions (Beyond the Classroom; Spring offering)

This course will provide an opportunity to examine and explore the Caribbean island of Jamaica- beyond the resorts. Christopher Columbus called the island, “the fairest isle that eyes have beheld,” and the name its original habitants, the Taino, gave it, Xaymaca- now Jamaica, is believed to mean, “The Land of Wood and Water.” The island is only 150 miles long and 50 miles wide at its widest, but the geography ranges from the coral reefs to mangrove forests to sandy coastal plains to low-elevation rain forests to high limestone mountains with cloud forests.