Degrees in Geological and Environmental Sciences offer a wide variety of career paths upon completion. Careers with private industry, government and academic institutions are all possible. Furthermore, a MBA Fastrack option is offered because we encourage graduates to think about starting their own businesses. We have numerous internship opportunities available for students to supplement the coursework education offered. We teach professional skills such as writing, speaking and data analysis in addition to the concepts and methods involved with studying the Earth and human interactions with Nature. Our graduates can travel as part of their educational experience and pursue careers that may take them around the world. Professionals in Geological and Environmental Sciences generally report high satisfaction ratings with their careers and many paths lead to some of the more lucrative professions in scientific fields.

Return to: College of Science

101-C Geology Building

The department of Geological Sciences offers both the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in Geological Sciences, and a BS in Environmental Science.

Department Requirements

C Rule

Students must earn a grade of C or better in all courses taken within the Department of Geological Sciences that are used to satisfy the above Geology and Geophysics degree requirements. Continuation in sequence courses (such as GEOL 3315 OR GEOL 3215 AND GEOL 3115) after receiving a D in one of these courses is permitted with permission of the instructor. A student receiving a grade of D in a required course must repeat the course at its earliest offering. Students receiving consecutive grades of D will not be allowed to continue sequence courses until grades of C or better have been earned in the appropriate courses. A minimum GPA of 2.0 must be achieved in required science courses taken outside the Geological Sciences department.

Departmental Research

All undergraduate students are encouraged to complete a research experience. The preferred option is completion of a GEOL 4399 Senior's Thesis. However, an appropriate GEOL 4166 Directed Study, Geology - GEOL 4366 or GEOP 4167 - GEOP 4367) or GEOL 4189 Research in Geological Science - GEOL 4389) course also fulfills this requirement.


Bachelor of Science


CHAIR: Dr. Laura Serpa


Elizabeth Anthony
Contact Information:; 915-747-5483
Education: BA, Carleton College; MS, University of Arizona; Ph D, University of Arizona

Katherine Giles
Contact Information:; 915-747-7075
Education: BS, University of Wisconsin; MS, University of Iowa; Ph D, University of Arizona

James Kubicki
Contact Information:; 915-747-6552
Education: Ph D, Yale University
Research Interests: Environmental chemistry Surfaces and interfaces of materials Glass and melt science

Terry Pavlis
Contact Information:; 915-747-5570
Education: BS, University of South Dakota; MS, University of Utah; Ph D, University of Utah
Research Interests: Tectonics, Computer Applications in Field Geology, Structural Analysis of Metamorphic terranes

Associate Professors

Lixin Jin
Contact Information:; 915-747-5559
Education: BS, the University of Science and Technology of China; Ph D, The University of Michigan
Research Interests: Environmental science, water quality, critical zones, shale weathering, soil sustainablity

Lin Ma
Contact Information:; 915-747-5218
Education: BS, University of Science & Technology of China; Ph D, University of Michigan

Deana Pennington
Contact Information:; 915-747-5867
Education: BS, Ohio State University; MS, Ohio State University; Ph D, Oregon State University; Graduate Certificate, University of New Mexico
Research Interests: Socio-environmental systems, scenario analysis, geospatial modeling and analysis, climate and land change impacts on wildfire/drought/biodiversity/water, earth/ecologic and environmental informatics, data and knowledge integration & synthesis, collaboration and collaborative environments, interdisciplinary teamwork

Assistant Professors

Gail Arnold
Contact Information:; 915-747-8373
Education: BS, SUNY Oswego; Post-graduate Diploma, University of the South Pacific, School of Agriculture; MS, University of Rochester; Ph D, University of Rochester
Research Interests: stable isotope geochemistry, biogeochemistry, early earth environment, microbial interactions

Benjamin Brunner
Contact Information:; 915-747-5507
Education: MS, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology; Ph D, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Research Interests: light stable isotopes, sulfur, nitrogen, phosphorous and carbon cycle, authigenic minerals, geobiology, life at the energy limit

Hugo Gutierrez-Jurado
Contact Information:

Marianne Karplus
Contact Information:; 915-747-5413
Education: BA, Dartmouth College; Ph D, Stanford University

Jason Ricketts
Contact Information:; 915-747-5599
Education: BS, San Diego State University; MS, San Diego State University; Ph D, University of New Mexico
Research Interests: Structural geology, tectonics, and low-temperature thermochronology; Evolution of the Rio Grande rift in Colorado and New Mexico; Geologic mapping

Jie Xu
Contact Information:; 915-747-7556
Education: BS, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; MS, Nanyang Technological University & Stanford University; Ph D, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Research Interests: Nanogeoscience, geomicrobiology, biomineralization, environmental mineralogy, biogeochemical cycling of sulfur and heavy metals, advanced interfacial instrumentation in earth science studies, resource recovery and bio-inspired energy research

Research Assistant Professors

Tina Carrick
Contact Information:; 915-747-7083
Education: BS, University of Texas at El Paso; MS, University of Texas at El Paso; Ph D, University of Texas at El Paso

Hector Gonzalez-Huizar
Contact Information:;; 915-747-5305
Education: BS, Autonomous University of Zacatecas; MS, UT El Paso; Ph D, UT El Paso
Research Interests: The physics of earthquakes, tectonic (non-volcanic) tremor, earthquake interaction, dynamic triggering, earthquake hazard, time reversals, stress modeling.

Research Associate

Galen Kaip
Contact Information:; 915-747-6817

Research Professor

Steven Harder
Contact Information:; 915-747-5746
Education: BS, New Mexico State University; MS, University of Wyoming; Ph D, University of Texas at El Paso; BS, New Mexico State University
Research Interests: explosion seismology, controlled-source seismology, crustal seismology, seismic instrumentation, digital signal processing, seismic source facility

Visiting Research Associate Professor

Mark Engle
Contact Information:; 915-747-5503
Education: BS, The Evergreen State College; MS, University of Nevada, Reno; Ph D, University of Nevada, Reno
Research Interests: Environmental Geochemistry, Statistics, Compositional Data Analysis, Water Quality, Surface-Air Exchange