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    Hope College
    Aug 16, 2022  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog


The geological sciences play a key role in addressing environmental problems, recognizing and mitigating natural hazards, and procuring natural resources. Furthermore, geoscientists make important contributions to human knowledge in fields as diverse as environmental geology, sustainability, oceanography, planetology, geochemistry, geophysics, plate tectonics and paleontology.

About The Program

Student-faculty research is an important part of the geology program at Hope College. In recent years students and faculty have undertaken research projects such as:

  • Analyzing geochemical changes in peat to predict how arctic soils will respond to climate change
  • Working out the geological history of coastal dunes along Lake Michigan
  • Making 3D computer models and gigapixel panoramas from digital photos to study dune erosion
  • Documenting biogeochemical changes in Lake Michigan coastal wetlands as lake levels change
  • Investigating antibiotics and hormones in local groundwater and surface water
  • Uncovering the development of early continental crust in India and Sweden
  • Assessing sources of plastic pollution and changes in litter as it is transported into streams and lakes

Hands-on field experience studying rocks, fossils, soils, and geological processes is an important part of educating new geologists. Hope College is ideally situated to study glacial geology, sedimentology, geomorphology, limnology and environmental issues. To broaden the spectrum of field experience, classes commonly take longer trips to examine the geology of other areas such as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and the Ohio River Valley in Indiana and Kentucky. In addition to these trips, each year the regional geology field trip gives students the opportunity to visit and investigate the geology of a North American region. In the past, regional field trips have gone to the Colorado Plateau; Big Bend, Texas; Death Valley, California; Southern Arizona; Utah; and the Bahamas.

We are well-equipped for teaching and research. In addition to petrographic microscopes, the department has a geographic information system (GIS) computer laboratory, X-ray diffractometer, thin section preparation laboratory, ion chromatograph, gas chromatograph, elemental analyzer, inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometer, and microwave-assisted reaction system. Students also have access to an infrared Fourier transform spectrometer, UV-visible light spectrometer, liquid chromatograph with a quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer, and a field emission scanning electron microscope.

The study of the Earth is eclectic so geologists must be competent in the other natural sciences and in mathematics. Accordingly, we encourage strong minors in other sciences and composite majors with chemistry and physics.

The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences has an established reputation of excellence. Many graduating seniors have gone directly to work in environmental consulting firms, mineral resource companies, or the energy industry, while others have been accepted at some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the country, including the California Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton and various Big Ten universities.




      Geological And Environmental Sciences: Geology