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Learning Objectives


Geoscience Learning Objectives and Skills
  1. Interpret topographic maps and terrain models and create profiles.
  2. Interpret geologic maps and construct cross sections.
  3. Know the geologic time scale and place important geologic events in a temporal framework.
  4. Explain how and why the Earth has changed over time.
  5. Describe large-scale internal Earth processes and the features produced by them.
  6. Identify common fossils and their ages as well as the conditions under which they lived.
  7. Identify common rock-forming minerals.
  8. Infer environments of deposition of sedimentary rocks based on composition, texture and/or internal structures.
  9. Measure and create stratigraphic sections and three-dimensional facies diagrams.
  10. Identify common igneous and metamorphic rock types.
  11. Relate rock types to tectonic regimes.
  12. Distinguish between various structural features and determine the types of stress responsible for their formation.
  13. Use compasses, survey instruments, and images in geological investigations.
  14. Collect and evaluate three-dimensional geologic data and create geologic maps.
  15. Distinguish and describe various types of surficial deposits and make surficial geologic maps.
  16. Create and interpret graphs of quantitative data.
  17. Interpret geophysical measurements of subsurface properties.
Learning Objectives Regarding Affiliated Sciences
  1. Apply basic principles of chemistry and physics to geologic topics.
  2. Show proficiency in the use of mathematics; apply algebraic, geometric, and calculus concepts in geoscientific problem-solving.
  3. Communicate observations and interpretations in oral and written formats.


For our Earth Science Composite Teaching major, the geoscience and affiliated science learning objectives are the same as above but without the last objective (#17) and without the geologic map-making skills of objectives #14 and #15.

Earth Science Composite Teaching majors must meet an additional learning objective, which is to demonstrate competency in the latest and most effective teaching methods and in accessing and utilizing pedagogical resources.

These Department of Geology objectives are in addition to the learning objectives of Utah State University's Secondary Education Program:

  1. Students will maintain a minimum accumulative GPA of 2.75 and a grade of "C" or better in all courses that constitute the Profession Education Framework (course work from content major and minor departments as well as the secondary education coursework).
  2. Students will participate in on-campus teaching simulations as well as sixty (60) hours of clinical experiences in middle and high school settings preceding student teaching.
  3. Students will complete successfully a comprehensive professional portfolio demonstrating their undersanding of the ten standards based on their course work and clinical experiences at Levels 1 and 2 before entering student teaching (Level 3).
  4. Students succefully will meet the requirements of secondary student teaching and for the professional seminar that accompanies this experience.