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  DEPARTMENT OVERVIEW

The GES Department offers a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, and a minor in Geology, and also a minor in Environmental Science.

Geology Majors and Minors

Students
Geology is a big, exciting, active field that takes the whole Earth as its subject. It includes the study of rocks and Earth materials, and much more. Professional geologists work on projects as diverse as gold mining, petroleum exploration, soil erosion, stream and lake chemistry, landfill design, volcanoes, faults, fossils, land use planning, and even forensics in criminal investigations. At Hope College, geology students take courses that teach the fundamentals of mineralogy, geochemistry, mapping, earth-surface processes, groundwater, and fossil identification, to mention a few. We also spend quite a bit of time outdoors, studying the earth first hand. Geology students participate in many weekend field trips, as well as longer regional field trips during Spring Break.

Research is a very important part of being a scientist, and most of the geology majors at Hope participate in summer research with faculty. This collaborative research gives students real-life experience in the scientific research process. Students commonly give presentations at national scientific meetings, and some publish as co-authors in peer-reviewed journals.

Among the most attractive aspects of the Geological and Environmental Sciences Department at Hope are the small class sizes and the general camaraderie of the students and professors. Whether it is in the field, the laboratory, or the classroom, learning occurs with a spirit of mutual enthusiasm and exploration.

Environmental Science Minors

Over the last several centuries, human impact on the environment has increased, and we have begun to realize that our impact has been increasingly negative. Now there is great demand for scientists who can increase our understanding of the causes, processes, and consequences of environmental change.

Most environmental scientists specialize in a particular science (Geology, Biology, Chemistry, or Engineering), but they also have a broad scientific understanding of environmental processes that goes beyond the confines of their specialty. They also must have an understanding of how environmental issues affect and are affected by politics and economics. Often, environmental scientists work on teams with people from many different fields. Outside

At Hope College we offer an environmental science minor that helps students reach the following goals:

  • A solid preparation in one of the academic science or engineering majors;
  • An understanding of how each major can be applied to environmental science problem solving;
  • A broad interdisciplinary understanding of the field of environmental science;
  • Knowledge of how environmental issues are connected to political and economic issues;
  • An ability to work in a team with people from scientific and non-scientific backgrounds; and
  • A fundamental understanding of the principles of sustainability as applied to resource use, energy use, and environmental impacts.