Associate Dean: Steven Fenster
Department Chair: Jon Harvey
The Department of Geosciences offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. The Geology degree focuses on earth materials, earth processes, and earth history and is intended to prepare students for graduate school and careers as professional geologists. The major is required to complete a mandatory set of core courses that includes a capstone research project and an applied field geology course. In addition to our mandatory course offerings, we also offer a wide variety of upper division elective courses to further prepare students for careers.
The department also offers GIS and geography courses, as well as a GIS Certificate program . Geography classes are recommended for students wishing to enhance their understanding of such topics as world cultures, physical landscapes, globalization, weather and climate, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The GIS Certificate complements the subjects of biology, geology, environmental studies, public health, engineering, anthropology, business administration, and many others. For more information on the GIS Certificate, click here or contact the program’s coordinator, Dr. Scott White.
A Geology Minor is available for students majoring in disciplines other than geosciences that are interested in increasing their knowledge of earth science topics.
The study of geosciences at Fort Lewis College is strengthened and enhanced by our proximity to the remarkable natural geological laboratory in the Southern Rocky Mountains and adjacent areas of the Southwest. Regional field trips and outdoor laboratory activities expose students to a wide array of geologic processes and provide unique field-based learning opportunities. The numerous outcrops, mine, and oil field workings provide excellent, real-world experiences for students. Laboratory and field equipment are available for research.
Students graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology are employed by geo-engineering and environmental/hydrology consulting firms, state and federal governmental agencies, and the extractive industries (mining, oil and gas, and industrial minerals).
GIS Certificate Program
Coordinator: Alan Kasprak
The department also offers GIS and geography courses, as well as a GIS Certificate program. Geography classes are recommended for students wishing to enhance their understanding of such topics as world cultures, physical landscapes, globalization, weather and climate, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The GIS Certificate complements the subjects of biology, geology, environmental studies, public health, engineering, anthropology, business administration, and many others. For more information on the GIS Certificate, click here or contact the program’s coordinator, Dr. Alan Kasprak.
What is GIS?
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a digital map database and set of software programs that include an integrated set of tools for storing, querying, analyzing, and displaying georeferenced information. GIS merges theoretical and practical aspects of spatial analysis across many different disciplines, such as environmental biology, geology, archeology, agriculture, computer-aided drafting (CAD) and engineering, computer science, business administration, and, of course, geography. A GIS is used to build cartographic databases, create attributes for map information, and analyze and visualize complex spatial relationships in the mapped information. Students enrolled in the GIS Certificate Program take courses in which they gain valuable experience using industry-standard GIS software, such as Esri’s ArcGIS, as well as familiarity with various modern field mapping procedures using Global Positioning System (GPS) units. Surveying, remote sensing, and programming and web mapping courses provide additional fundamental skills related to GIS. Completion of the GIS Certificate will provide the student with skills and experience that are in high demand in today’s workplace.
Software and Hardware
Fort Lewis College has a site license for Esri’s ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro software, as well as an ArcGIS Online organizational account. The desktop software is available on all Windows-based computer labs on campus. In addition to modern Windows 10 computers, students gain experience using modern GPS units for surveying and mapping.
Careers in GIS
GIS skills are in very high demand in many different fields. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of professional mapmakers, GIS analysts and cartographers, and photogrammetrists is projected to grow 29% from 2014-2024, much faster than average for all other occupations. At Fort Lewis College, the GIS Certificate aligns closely with the subjects of environmental studies, geology, biology, public health, archeology, engineering, business administration, and of course, geography.
The Fort Lewis College GIS Certificate Program
Students who are seeking the GIS Certificate should declare their intention using Change or Declaration form. At the same time, they should discuss their academic plans with the coordinator of the GIS Certificate Program. Final outcomes include a printed certificate, and a statement on the student’s official college transcript indicating the date of completion of the GIS Certificate.
For more information, students should contact the GIS Certificate Program Coordinator, Dr. Alan Kasprak, and visit the Certificate’s website. Click here for more information.
Requirements for GIS Certificate Students:
- A minimum “C” grade must be earned in each course applied toward the certificate program.
- All coursework must be in graded courses. Pass/fail work will not be accepted toward certificate requirements.
- At least 50% of the coursework toward the certificate must be earned at Fort Lewis College.
- Students must matriculated through the Office of Admission as a credential seeking student.
- Certificate coursework may also be applied in fulfillment of requirements for departmental majors or minors.
- Courses taken prior to admission to the certificate program can be counted toward the certificate only with the program director’s specific approval.
- Certificates will not be awarded to individuals who have completed all of the coursework prior to admission to the certificate program.
Major in Geology
Minor in Geology
GIS Certificate Program
GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Certificate