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Graduate Courses

Our award-winning faculty have developed a robust graduate curriculum that's designed to engage students both academically and practically. Coursework extends beyond the classroom and into the field, where hands-on learning is the goal.

GLY 500 COMPARATIVE PALEOBIOLOGY

This course is intended for graduate students in paleontology, evolutionary biology, ecology, and anthropology. Its goal is to present the major tools and concepts employed in the collection and analysis of morphological data (via geometric morphometrics and cladistics) in studies of the systematics, taxonomy, and evolutionary history of organisms, principally animals. Emphasis will be on practice rather than theory, although the latter will appear as motivation for the work. The course requires an exam, and completion of a project employing one or more of the methods discussed. Basic univariate statistics is a prerequisite. Offered irregularly, by demand. (LEC & LAB, 4) )

GLY 505 ECONOMIC GEOLOGY

This course introduces beginning graduate students to successful strategies for designing and reporting on a scientific research project. Each student will choose, with the approval of the instructor, a project of current geological interest on which to work throughout the semester. In order to accomplish the goals of the course, the student will: use up to date literature search techniques using on-line data bases and reference management tools, practice research proposal preparation and review, present scientific results orally, and discuss the process of writing and publishing a professional paper. There will be a strong emphasis on scientific writing skills and oral presentations. Offered every year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 505 ECONOMIC GEOLOGY

This course will describe the nature and origin of the raw materials that sustain modern life styles and developed societies.  Lectures will emphasize the formation of economic deposits of metallic and non-metallic minerals, methods of mineral exploration and exploitation, and the environmental consequences of utilizing mineral resources.  The laboratory will focus on identification of ore and associated gangue minerals using microscopic and macroscopic methods. Offered every other year. (LEC & L)

GLY 507 GEOLOGICAL FIELD TRAINING

Applied field methods in geology. Geologic field trips and mapping from a mobile base in the western United States. Mapping projects include crystalline rocks in New Mexico and areas of increasingly complex sedimentary structure in Utah and Wyoming. Offered every year. (LEC, 2)

GLY 509 ADVANCED ECOLOGY

Advanced course in the foundations of ecology emphasizing population and community ecology. Supplements lectures on basic ecological principles and models with discussions of both current and historically important issues. Offered every other year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 511 MARINE ECOLOGY

Surveys marine ecosystems, with an emphasis on tropical marine communities. Examines processes controlling abundance and distribution of marine taxa using primary literature. Offered every year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 512 FIELD COURSE IN TROPICAL MARINE ECOLOGY

An intensive two week field course in the Bahamas focusing on coral reef communities. Combining lectures, fieldwork, and laboratory analyses, students conduct in depth studies of Caribbean marine habitats. Offered every other year. (LEC & LAB, 3)

GLY 514 HYDROGEOLOGY

Occurrence and movement of water in the shallow subsurface, and its importance to water resource development and environmental pollution. Basic quantitative techniques for the prediction of water flow through porous and fractured geologic media. Laboratory includes hands on experience with aquifer testing methods, using wells located on campus. Designed primarily for students interested in the fields of hydrogeology, hydrology, environmental geology and environmental and geotechnical engineering, who have not completed a previous undergraduate course in hydrogeology. Offered every year. (LEC & LAB, 3)

GLY 515 CLAY MINERALOGY

Clay minerals are the most abundant minerals at the surface of the earth. As such, they are of extreme importance in understanding environmental problems. In addition, clay minerals have interesting and useful properties that give them important technological value. This course examines the structure and chemistry of clay minerals and attempts to relate these to their properties, both geological and technological. Offered every other year. (LEC & LAB, 4)

GLY 519 ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS

The course will introduce the theoretical background and methods of application for several noninvasive near-surface geophysical imaging techniques, including: seismic reflection/refraction, microgravity, magnetics, electromagnetics, resistivity, and ground-penetrating radar. Offered every year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 520 ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS LAB

The course will provide students with hands-on experience in experimental design, acquisition, data processing, and interpretation using several noninvasive, near surface geophysical imaging techniques, including: seismic reflection/refraction, microgravity, magnetics, electromagnetics, resistivity, and ground-penetrating radar. Offered every year. (LAB, 1)

GLY 523 THE HIDDEN PLANET: VOLCANIC PLUMBING

Examines the generation, rise, storage, and eventual eruption of magma on Earth and other solid bodies in the solar system. Presents different magmatic compositions and their behaviors, as well as effects of environmental conditions on magma dynamics. Offered every year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 524 EXTRATERRESTRIAL VOLCANISM

Examines the volcanic deposits on solid bodies throughout our Solar System, including the Moon, Mars, Venus, Io and Europa. Emphasis will be on understanding how different environments affect the mechanics and subsequent deposits of volcanic eruptions. Offered every other year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 526 GEOLOGY FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS

Selection and study of topics not offered as regular courses (permission of instructor required) (TUT, 1-4)

GLY 528 GEOLOGIC HAZARDS & RISKS

Geological disasters to be investigated include volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, hurricanes, large ocean waves, and floods.  Exercises involve case studies, quantitative risk assessment using probability analysis, and construction of hazard maps. Graduate students prepare and present PowerPoint talks and Posters on case examples. Debate on a controversial topic or a simulated crisis takes place in the last week of the course. Offered every year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 529 ANALYSIS OF GEOLOGICAL DATA

Geological research often generates large amounts of data. The problems encountered in analyzing this data along with the appropriate statistical techniques are discussed. The emphasis is on the interpretation of the analysis in terms of solving the geologic problem. Recitation will be devoted to the study of data from real geologic problems from the areas of petrology, sedimentation, mineralogy, paleontology and geomorphology. Offered every year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 531 VOLCANOLOGY

An examination of volcanic eruptions and their products on Earth, other planets, and on the deep ocean floor, including famous and deadly historic eruptions. Includes investigations into what causes volcanic eruptions and the petrography and structural setting of volcanoes and extrusive volcanic material, as well as the evolution of volcanic constructs through time. Offered every year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 533 VOLCANIC ROCKS

Selected topics related to the genesis, unit description, eruption mechanism , and emplacement process of pyroclastic materials.  Theoretical and practical applications including quantitative analysis of data.(LEC, 3)

GLY 537 PRINCIPLES OF STRATIGRAPHY

A study of the principles of stratigraphy as illustrated by the Paleozoic succession of Western New York. Measurement and description of sections, facies changes, biostratigraphy, etc., will be included. Offered every other year. (LEC & LAB, 4)

GLY 545 GLACIAL GEOLOGY

Explores the spectacular landscapes created by glaciers and ice sheets. The course provides students with knowledge to understand present and past glacier and ice sheet processes, based on the most up-to-date findings and state-of-the-art techniques. Students get hands-on experience by studying the rich ice sheet history of the Buffalo area. This lecture and lab combination provides students with a comprehensive knowledge base with which they can interpret glacier processes and history from a variety of landform assemblages and surficial sediments found across the northern United States. The laboratory consists of map and aerial photograph, computer, and field exercises. Offered every other year. (LEC & LAB, 4)

GLY 547 GLACIOLOGY

The course covers the fundamentals of glaciology. It gives students a basic understanding of the main cryospheric processes with a focus on glacier and ice sheet dynamics and the key surface and subsurface processes that control ice motion.  It provides insight into the responses of glaciers to climate change and explores the challenges of predicting glacier and ice sheet dynamics, mass loss and related sea level rise. Throughout the labs the participants will be engaged in rigorous hands-on exercises that will introduce them to the use of remote sensing observations for monitoring glacier and ice sheet changes and to investigate the forcings causing these changes. Offered irregularly, by demand. (LEC & LAB, 3)

GLY 548 QUANTERNARY GEOLOGY SEMINAR

This seminar reviews advanced topics in Quaternary Geology, including glaciology, glacial geology, geomorphology and climate change.  Content based on published literature and ongoing faculty and graduate research.  Specific topics covered each semester will vary according to the interests of participating faculty and students. Offered every other year. (SEM, 1-3)

GLY 553 QUATERNARY DATING AND PALEOCLIMATE

Explores the Earth’s large swings in climate over the past 2 million years, how they are documented, the various dating techniques used to place them into a chronological framework, and the implications for how the Earth’s climate system operates. Focuses on marine sediment, ice core, and terrestrial archives of glacial and interglacial cycles, abrupt climate change, past warm periods analogous to our future world, and techniques used to date these records. Offered every other year. (LEC, 3) 

GLY 554 TOPICS: PLANETARY GEOLOGY

Students will compare and contrast geologic processes, and the resulting morphologies, on Earth and other solid bodies in the Solar System. Students will become familiar with spacecraft and lander-generated data sets, including how to access them from NASA data repositories and data limitations. Precise topics to be covered will be governed by current NASA Office of Solar System Research missions.  Offered irregularly, by demand. (LEC, 3)

GLY 555 EVOLUTIONARY COLLOQUIUM

Review of recent research in the field of evolutionary biology.  Topics in the areas of evolution, ecology and paleobiology are discussed in weekly sessions. Offered every year. (SEM, 1-3)

GLY 558 MACROEVOLUTION

Patterns and meaning of genetic variation in natural populations, species properties and boundaries; selection in its multiple guises; speciation and rates of change in ecological and geological time; the role and limitations of adaptation in evolution and the origin of evolutionary novelties; phylogenetic and biogeographic studies and their relationship to understanding macroevolution. Offered every other year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 560 GIS FOR EARTH SCIENTISTS

Practical survey of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), techniques and software as applied to Geology and Hydrology, intended to “jump-start” graduate students who need to use these tools. The course is project-based and focuses on application rather than theory. Offered every other year. (LEC/LAB, 3)

GLY 562 AQUEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY

Presents the chemical principles governing natural water chemistry and the behavior of anthropogenic pollutants. Emphasizes topics such as the evolution of groundwater chemistry, thermodynamics of water-rock interactions at low temperatures, and prediction of pollutant fate in aquatic systems. Offered every other year. (LEC & LAB, 3)

GLY 563 FIELD METHODS IN HYDROGEOLOGY

This field course will focus on the fundamentals of monitoring groundwater flow, water quality, and aquifer properties.  This field based course will expose students to the basics of setting up groundwater monitoring systems, installing wells, water quality sampling, quantifying aquifer properties, and analyzing field data. Students are expected to have a solid understanding of basic principles in Hydrogeology and/or Groundwater Engineering.  At the completion of this course, students will be able to design and implement groundwater-monitoring plans for a range of environmental studies. Offered irregularly, by demand. (LEC, 3)

GLY 565 ENVIRONMENTAL REMOTE SENSING

This course covers the fundamentals of remote sensing, extraction of geological, biophysical, or land use/land cover information from remote sensing data, and provides guidelines as to how remote sensing data can be used to solve real-world environmental and geological problems. Throughout the course, the participants will be engaged in rigorous hands-on exercises that will introduce them to digital image processing techniques. The participants will learn how to extract and integrate lithologic and environmental information from a wide range of archival remote sensing data, real-time remote sensing data, digital elevation models, and maps. Offered every year. (LEC & LAB, 3)

GLY 568 ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIC GEOCHEMISTRY

In this course, students will learn about the processes that affect the fate and transport of organic chemicals in the hydrosphere. Course content will emphasize the study of the behavior of both organic contaminants in surface and ground water environments, with some coverage of the behavior of natural organic geochemical cycles. Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be confident in their use of physical and biogeochemical data to predict the important processes that will affect a particular organic compound in the hydrosphere.Offered every other year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 569 BIOGEOCHEMISTRY

Topics to be covered included but are not limited to: major element cycling, redox processes and bacterial respiration, and bioremediation of toxic materials. Offered every other year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 572 ADVANCED OPTICAL AND INFRARED SPECTRAL REMOTE SENSING

By acquiring information beyond the range of human vision, multi- and hyperspectral imaging sensors enable us to map and monitor the surface composition and conditions of the Earth and other planets. Applications range from mineral exploration and geologic mapping to monitoring environmental and vegetation changes. This course will teach how to process and interpret spectral images using physical models. After reviewing the fundamentals of optical and infrared remote sensing and the basics of image processing, the course will focus on advanced multi- and hyperspectral image interpretation methods. Students will learn how to identify different materials based on their spectral signatures, to perform subpixel-scale detection, and to create thematic maps from spectral images. Examples drawn from a variety of landscapes will illustrate the methods. Offered every other year. (LEC & LAB, 3)

GLY 573 GEOPHYSICAL DATA ANALYSIS AND INVERSE METHODS

In Earth sciences such as geophysics, quantitative analyses are essential tools to study time or space varying signals. The aim of this course is to teach students exploratory data analysis (EDA) techniques and various modern inverse methods. Exploratory data analysis helps analyze geophysical data for the purpose of formulating hypotheses worth testing and complementing the tools of conventional statistics for testing hypotheses; while inverse methods help reduce data to obtain useful information about the physical world on the basis of inferences drawn from observations. Topics will include graphing/visualization, data smoothing, data fitting, univariate/multivariate analyses, inverse modeling, data mining, model evaluation, and uncertainty quantification. The students will obtain experience in the application of these methods through a series of theoretical and computing based exercises. It is preferred to have background in linear algebra, calculus, and geophysics.Offered irregularly, by demand. (LEC, 3)

GLY 574 TOPICS IN VOLCANOLOGY

Students learn about volcanological phenomena and theories through data analyses and examination of primary literature, as well as application of theories and model to volcanic processes. Offered every other year.

GLY 577 ADVANCED PHYSICAL VOLCANOLOGY

Calculus-based course that provides students with the capability to analyze natural fluid dynamical processes. Topics include rheology of surficial materials, hydrostatics and aerostatics, equations of motion for fluid dynamics including Navier-Stokes equation, open-channel flow, kinematic waves, hydraulic jumps, advection-diffusion, dynamical and geometric similarity. Extensive use of computational tools to analyze flows and to organize fluid dynamical data. Offered every other year. (LEC, 3)

GLY 578 ADVANCED FIELD METHODS

Advanced Field Methods is a field course designed to provide students with the capability to map, analyze, evaluate and interpret field data related to complex geological stratigraphy and structures, natural hazards, and Quaternary deposits and learn of the relationship of their geological work to cultural activities, particularly the exploitation of solid-earth resources and risk assessment. Offered irregularly by demand.(LEC, 3)

GLY 595 HYDROGEOLOGY SEMINAR

Reviews in advanced hydrogeology based upon published literature, ongoing research, or the participation of visiting scientists. Specific topic will vary according to the interests of participating faculty and students. (SEM, 1-3)

GLY 597 VOLCANOLOGY SEMINAR

Provides a forum for graduate students and faculty in the volcanology program to present the results of their research and to read and discuss pertinent literature in a critical environment.  This course may be repeated for credit. Offered every year. (SEM, 1)

GLY 633 GRADUATE RESEARCH

Practical experience in skills and techniques of research through association with a faculty member actively engaged in research. May be taken for credit more than once. (Permission of instructor required) (TUT, 1-12) 

GLY 700 THESIS GUIDANCE

Writing and submission of thesis or dissertation under the supervision of the major professor.(TUT, 1-12)