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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Geosciences (GEOSC)

GEOSC 021 (GN) Earth and Life: Origin and Evolution (3) Introduction to the origin and evolution of life on Earth from the perspective of geologic time and the fossil record.


GEOSC 021 Earth and Life: Origin and Evolution (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

When and how did the solar system form? When and how did life on Earth originate? How has Earth's environment changed over geologic time? What caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago? Does life occur elsewhere in the universe? These questions are the cornerstones for this course, which traces the history of interaction between Earth's environment and the evolution of the life over 4.5 billion years since the origin of the solar system. The fossil record serves as the primary source of data to study the evolution of life, especially dinosaurs and other extinct vertebrate groups. The causes and consequences of mass extinctions millions of years ago provide a context for understanding the modern biodiversity crisis. This course has four main objectives: (1) to provide a broad overview of chemical, biological, and geological processes responsible for the origin and evolution of the Earth and life; (2) to enable comprehension of geologic time and the history of Earth and life; (3) to understand the nature of evidence and hypothesis testing in an historical science; (4) to develop critical-thinking and expository writing skills. This course introduces and integrates basic knowledge in earth and life sciences. Material is presented in a way that emphasizes observation, synthesis of information, and hypothesis testing. This is a general education course in the natural sciences (GN) and is intended for non-science majors.

Students will be evaluated based on their performance on two midterm exams (50%), a final exam (25%), and homework assignments and quizzes (25%). We will offer the course every year in both the fall and spring semesters.

General Education: GN
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences
Effective: Spring 2002

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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