Fundamentals of Geosciences

GEO 505/GEO 506

A year-long survey, in sequence, of fundamental papers in the geosciences.

Topics in 506 (Fall) include the origin and interior of the Earth, plate tectonics, geodynamics, the history of life on Earth, the composition of the Earth, its oceans and atmospheres, past climate. Topics in 505 (Spring) include present and future climate, biogeochemical processes in the ocean, geochemical cycles, orogenies, thermochronology, rock fracture and seismicity. A core course for all beginning graduate students in the geosciences.

Link to the registrar - GEO 505

Link to the registrar - GEO 506


GEO 523/ CEE 572

Course focuses on microbial interactions with a wide range of terrestrial environments and the bioenergetics of microbial respiration coupled to mineral diagenesis and hydrocarbon degradation. Students learn how to use Geochemist Workbench and PhreeqC to model their own experimental or field data and how to construct thermodynamic data sets using SUPCRT92. Course is part lecture and part seminar, and contains a computer lab. Undergraduates who have taken GEO363 or GEO417/428, or who convince the instructor that they have adequate geochemical and microbiological training are welcome.

This course familiarizes students with the approaches used in assembly and annotation of metagenomes, single-cell genomes and metatranscriptomes and how to utilize the processed data to address phylogenetic and functional diversity in the environment.

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Life in the Universe

GEO 255A/AST 255A/EEB 255A/CHM 255A

This course introduces students to a new field, Astrobiology, where scientists trained in biology, chemistry, astronomy and geology combine their skills to discover life's origins and to seek extraterrestrial life.

Topics include: the origin of life on Earth; the prospects of life on Mars, Europa, Enceladus and extra-solar planets. Students will also compete in class to select landing sites and payloads for the next Mars mission. 255A is the core course for the Planets and Life certificate.

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Corresponding Flyers

Responsible Conduct of Research in Geosciences

GEO 503 / AOS 503

This course educates Geosciences and AOS students in the responsible conduct of research using case studies appropriate to these disciplines.

This course educates Geosciences and AOS students in the responsible conduct of research using case studies appropriate to these disciplines. This discussion-based course focuses on issues related to the use of scientific data, publication practices and responsible authorship, peer review, research misconduct, conflicts of interest, the role of mentors & mentees, issues encountered in collaborative research and the role of scientists in society. Successful completion is based on attendance, reading, and active participation in class discussions. Course satisfies University requirement for RCR training.

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