(see Geological Sciences for major)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate

The Certificate in GIS provides students with the experience and knowledge in the theory and application of GIS and remote sensing. Students learn the basic components of GIS and spatial data, understand problems that arise in the data acquisition and analysis, and develop a sound background in cartographic principles. Many students could increase their marketability with a certificate in GIS. This includes (but is not limited to) careers in public health, criminal justice, sociology, economics, social and natural science education, computer engineering, Earth and environmental science or studies, urban and regional studies, and anthropology/ archeology.

Required Core
Courses must be taken in order:
GEOG 302Mapping Our World3
GEOL 440Advanced GIS Applications3
Select 6 hours of the following:6
Remote Sensing
XXX 498
Independent Study 1
XXX 499
Laboratory and Field Research 2
Info Systems in Management
Database Systems I
Total Credit Hours16

 498 (Independent Study) credits can be taken in any discipline but to count toward the certificate, it must be approved by  GIS program director by petition.


499 (Laboratory and Field Research) credits can be taken in any discipline but to count toward the certificate, it must be approved by  GIS program director by petition.

Notes Regarding the GIS Certificate Program:

  1. A minimum of 2.5 cumulative GPA and sophomore standing are required for admission to the program.
  2. A maximum of two courses (totaling up to 7 credit hours) used toward a student’s major may count toward the minimum 16 credits required for the program.
  3. A maximum of 7 credit hours of transfer coursework may be counted (upon approval of the program director) toward the minimum 16 credits required for the program.
  4. A minimum 2.0 GPA in the UM-Dearborn courses counting toward the  GIS certificate is required at the time of graduation and/or posting of the certificate.

GEOL 110     Urban Geology     3 Credit Hours

The study of how the geosciences can be used to solve community-based environmental problems. Taught within the context of the Rouge River watershed, one of the most urbanized watersheds in the country, the focus of this 3-week course is water and watersheds. Classroom lectures are combined with extensive field work, field trips and guest speakers. Taught as a summer II mini course in July. Open only to high school juniors and seniors participating in the Geosciences Research Institute.

GEOL 118     Physical Geology     4 Credit Hours

An introduction to the study of geologic processes at work in the earth's interior and on its surface. Rocks and minerals, the origin and evolution of the continents, and the gradual and catastrophic processes that shape surface and bedrock features. Three hours lecture, three hours laboratory. (W).

Corequisite(s): GEOL 118L

GEOL 218     Historical Geology     4 Credit Hours

A generalized study of the history of the earth, with emphasis on the fossil record of life development, the stratigraphic sequence of deposits and paleogeography. Laboratory work will include the study of geologic and topographic maps and fossils of prominent invertebrate phyla. (YR).

Corequisite(s): GEOL 218L

GEOL 305     Intro to GIS     4 Credit Hours

An introductory course that examines the digital representation, manipulation, and analysis of geographic data, with the emphasis on the analytical capabilities that GIS brings solutions to geographic problems. Students will explore and learn GIS principles using ESRI's mapping software, as well as complete a major GIS project.

Corequisite(s): GEOL 305L

GEOL 305D     Intro to GIS     0 Credit Hours

Required discussion session for GEOL 305.

Corequisite(s): GEOL 305

GEOL 313     Earth Materials     4 Credit Hours

This course provides a detailed look at the physical and chemical components that constitute the Earth's surface and subsurface. Critical elements of mineralogy, igenous and metamorphic petrology, sedimentology, and stratigraphy are covered. Laboratory sessions allow students to master the use of a petrographic microscope and sedimentary processes, among other related topics. Field sessions allow for students to identify geologic materials in their natural exposed settings. (W, AY)

Prerequisite(s): CHEM 134 and GEOL 118

GEOL 332     Hazardous Waste Management     3 Credit Hours

Environmental problems associated with solid and hazardous waste. Regulations governing the generation, transport, and disposal of hazardous waste. Waste management techniques, including reduction, reuse, recycling, treatment, incineration, and land disposal. Three hours lecture.

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118 or ESCI 275

GEOL 340     Remote Sensing     3 Credit Hours

This course explores the acquisition, processing, and visualization of remotely derived data, with a particular emphasis on local and environmental applications. ENST 340 covers concepts and foundations of aerial and orbital remote sensing, visual interpretation, reflectance and emission spectroscopy, active and passive sensors, topography, and digital image processing software and techniques.

GEOL 342     Physical Oceanography     3 Credit Hours

An introduction to physical and chemical oceanography, fundamental marine processes and plate tectonics. Interactions between the oceans and atmosphere and the effect of greenhouse gases on the oceans and the role of physical processes in global climate change will be studied.

GEOL 350     Geomorphology     4 Credit Hours

This introductory course is designed to familiarize students with the fundamentals of river behavior and the general principles in fluvial morphology, sedimentation, and hydraulics and stream bank erosion. Applications of these principles are shown utilizing a stream classification system. Problem solving techniques for watershed management, stream restoration, non-point source pollution and integration of ecosystem concepts in watershed management are presented. A combination of both lecture and field applications are provided. (F, AY)

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118 or (GEOG 203 and GEOG 204)


Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

GEOL 370     Environmental Geology     3 Credit Hours

Interactions betweeen people and the physical environment. Geological hazards and natural processes, such as earthquakes, volcanism, floods, landslides, and coastal processes. Relationships between geology and environmental health, including chronic disease, water use and pollution, waste disposal, mineral resources, and energy use. Three hours lecture. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118

GEOL 372     Energy Resources     3 Credit Hours

Origin and development of fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, natural gas) and of radioactive ores used in nuclear power. Renewable and alternative energy sources, including hydro, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal power. Environmental impacts of energy use. Three hours lecture. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118 or ESCI 275 or ESCI 301

GEOL 375     Groundwater Hydrology     4 Credit Hours

Sources, occurrence, and movement of groundwater. Surface and subsurface investigations. Principles of hydrogeology. Groundwater pollution and management. Three hours lecture. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118


GEOL 377     Field Methods     1 Credit Hour

A week-long intensive field course dealing with geological field methods and analysis of geological terrains. Use of Brunton compass and clinometer, recognition and identification of geological structures, preparation and interpretation of geological maps, and use of aerial photographs. May be repeated for credit when destination varies. Organizational meeting followed by one-week trip. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118

GEOL 390     Current Topics in Geology     1 to 3 Credit Hours

A course in special topics current to the field of geology. Topics and format for the course may vary. See current Schedule of Classes. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118

GEOL 390A     Current Topics in Geology     3 Credit Hours

TOPIC TITLE: Physical Oceanography. An introduction to physical and chemical oceanography, fundamental marien processes. Interactions between humans, the ocean and the atmosphere, including ocean pollution, the effect of greenhouse gases on the oceans and atmosphere, and the role of physical processes in possible global warming.

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118

GEOL 440     Advanced GIS Applications     3 Credit Hours

This course offers an opportunity for students with a background in the fundamentals of geographic information systems (GIS) to apply the analytical capabilities of geospatial technology to model real-world situations in support of decision making. Particular emphasis is given to data development and management, spatial and statistical analyses, customization, and effective visualization.

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 305 or ESCI 305 or GEOG 305

GEOL 475     Contaminant Hydrogeology     3 Credit Hours

Advanced lecture treatment of selected topics in subsurface hydrology including contaminant transport and fate of organic and inorganic constituents, aquifer test analysis, and the use of modeling in the analysis of selected case histories. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 375

Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior

GEOL 478     Geology of the National Parks     3 Credit Hours

Study of the geology (stratigraphy, structure and geomorphology) of major national parks. Specific parks to be visited varies from year to year, enabling the course to be repeated once for credit. Emphasis is placed on taking field notes, describing rock sequences in outcrop, geologic map reading and aerial photograph interpretation. Special attention is focused on the understanding and development of cratonic sequences, particularly the regional correlation (both lithostratigraphic and time-stratigraphic) of sandstone, shale and limestone facies, and small and large scale geologic features such as folds and faults. Depending on the national park being visited the students may explore paleographic and paleoclimatic evidence from fossils as well as sedimentary structures. This is a field-oriented course requiring a significant amount of physical exertion. (YR)

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118 and GEOL 218

Can enroll if Class is Junior or Senior

GEOL 490     Advanced Topics in Geology     3 Credit Hours

Current topics from various areas in pure and applied geosciences will be reported upon by students, faculty and guest speakers. May include extended field trips. (OC).

GEOL 498     Independent Study in Geology     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Library research and independent study performed under the guidance of a faculty member. Permission of instructor. (F,W,S).

GEOL 499     Laboratory and Field Research     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Directed laboratory or field research performed under the guidance of a faculty member. Four to twelve hours laboratory or field study. Permission of instructor. (F,W,S).


An asterisk denotes that a course may be taken concurrently.

Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally