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Physical Geology

Course Objectives
  • Students will learn about the science of the solid earth and its interactions with the hydrosphere and atmosphere.
  • Students will become acquainted with the properties of the basic materials that make up most of the solid earth: minerals and their aggregates, rocks.
  • Students will learn about the development of our planet and the processes that have reshaped it over its history, including plate tectonics, partial melting and magmatism, orogenesis (mountain building), rifting, and other deformation, weathering and erosion, and glaciation.
  • Students will understand the nature of geologic resources, energy, minerals, ground and surface water, soil and agriculture.
  • Students will be introduced to the local geologic environment, its nature and origins, and its relationship to the greater North American continent.
  • Students will be introduced to the nature of scientific investigation and modern methods of characterizing nature
Course Expectations

I expect students to be on time for class and to not leave early. You may expect the same from me. Students are required to attend class; I take attendance by a randomly distributed sign in sheet.  I will report excessive absences to the appropriate persons on campus – Coaches, Campus life etc.  Athletes it is your responsibility to notify instructors prior to each athletic related absence. 


Cell phones should be placed on vibrate when class is in session.  Cell phone use is not allowed during exams – lecture or lab.  Use of a cell phone may be perceived as cheating and could result in immediate collection of your test and further consequences. 


I have found that students who do not attend lectures usually do not do well on the exams.  Reading the assigned chapters in the textbook will help you in this class, but will not substitute for attending lecture. 


Text Book

Tarbuck and Lutgens with Tasa - overview of physical geology processes and products

Pearson custom lab manual - new edition with black cover - clean copy



Grading Standards

Grades are measures of performance. Grades do not reflect my opinion of you as an individual or your worth as a person. The lecture portion of the class will account for 75% of your course grade and the lab for 25%.


Lecture – 75% of course grade

                   3 tests each worth 25%

                   Please see the policies on Make-up tests

                   2 Extra credit opportunities worth up to 20 pts. will be offered (handouts/info will be given in class)


Lab –    25% of course grade.  See lab syllabus for details

Attendance is required for completion of this class. If you fail to attend and complete more than 2     laboratory sessions, you will be either be dropped from the class or you will receive a failing grade.

Final Exam 05/06/2013 8 am
Submission Format Policy Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Students are required to attend class; I take attendance by a randomly distributed sign in sheet.  I will report excessive absences to the appropriate persons on campus – Coaches, Campus life etc.  Athletes it is your responsibility to notify instructors prior to each athletic related absence. 

You will be allowed to make up missed exams, lecture or lab, if you provide a University excuse.  All other reasons are at the discretion (mercy) of the instructor (lecture or lab), and are not guaranteed.  Make-up lab exams must be arranged with the lab instructor and are given at his or her convenience. Athletes it is your responsibility to notify instructors of any absence on a test date and reschedule your exam before the date in question.  You are not required to take the exam early, just to make arrangements beforehand. All make-up exams must be taken within 1 ½ weeks of the missed exam – lecture or lab.  I am usually accommodating when arrangements for rescheduling a test are made ahead of time, but difficult to deal with after the fact.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at