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Geoarchaeology

Geoarchaeology

Bachelor of Science

Geoarchaeology applies the concepts of geology, geography and other Earth sciences to examine archaeological problems. It provides evidence for the preservation and development of historic sites and physical landscapes, taking into consideration the impact of humans. Surrounded by one of the world’s great outdoor laboratories for geology including a 10,000-year-old archaeological site, Western is well positioned for the study of Geoarchaeology.

Program Overview

Geoarchaeology student

Explore the history of the physical Earth and its people.

If you’re interested in uncovering the history of the physical Earth and the societies that inhabited it, you’ll find your niche in the Geoarchaeology emphasis. You’ll gain a geoscience background to support archaeological studies including geologic history, past climates and landscapes that would have impacted societies. The program features a blend of Geology and Anthropology courses and offers fieldwork opportunities in both fields.

The Gunnison Basin is one of the most geologically diverse regions in the world, and Tenderfoot (aka “W”) Mountain, just one mile away from campus, is home to structures dating to the Paleo Indian period—more than 10,000 years ago. Through a combination of rigorous coursework and unparalleled research opportunities, Western Colorado University offers an ideal environment to prepare you for a career or graduate studies in environmental and climate science, policy analysis and research.

Unparalleled research opportunities

All students take to the field every semester on trips that provide an opportunity to visit and explore famous sites, including the Hopi Mesas, Great Sand Dunes, Canyon de Chelly and Arches National Park.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

The Geoarchaeology Emphasis requires a minimum of 64 credits:

Course List
Code Title Credits
GEOL 101Physical Geology (GT-SC2)3
or GEOL 103 Earth and Energy Systems
GEOL 105Physical Geology Laboratory (GT-SC1)1
GEOL 201Historical Geology (with laboratory)4
GEOL 302Geoscience Writing2
GEOL 310Stratigraphy and Sedimentation (with laboratory)4
GEOL 315Earth Materials (with laboratory)4
GEOL 320Geomorphology (with laboratory)4
GEOL 345Structural Geology (with laboratory)4
GEOL 380Paleoclimatology3
GEOL 450Field Geology4
Required Supporting Courses
ANTH 107Introduction to General Anthropology3
ANTH 218Biological Anthropology (with laboratory)4
ANTH 219Archaeology (with laboratory)4
ANTH 230Cultural Anthropology (with laboratory)4
GEOG 340INTRO GEOGRAPHIC INFO SYSTEMS3
Select two of the following:7-8
ANTH 322
Analysis of Material Culture (with laboratory)
ANTH 333
Archaeology of Colorado
ANTH 366
Maya Archaeology
ANTH 377
Cultural Resource Management
ANTH 469
Archaeology Field School
Select one of the following:3-4
CHEM 101
Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry (GT-SC2)
CHEM 111
CHEM 112
General Chemistry I (GT-SC2)
and General Chemistry Laboratory I (GT-SC1)
One of the following:3
MATH 113
Statistical Thinking (GT-MA1)
MATH 213
Probability and Statistics (GT-MA1)
Total Credits64-66

Capstone Course Requirement

GEOL 450 Field Geology

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (GT-SC2) 3
CHEM 112 General Chemistry Laboratory I (GT-SC1) 1
GEOL 101 Physical Geology (GT-SC2) 3
GEOL 105 Physical Geology Laboratory (GT-SC1) 1
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
MATH 141 Precalculus (GT-MA1) (or higher, depending on MATH placement) 1 4
Gen Ed General Education Courses 3
 Credits16
Spring
ENG 102 Writing and Rhetoric I (GT-CO1) 3
GEOL 201 Historical Geology (with laboratory) 4
MATH 113 Statistical Thinking (GT-MA1) 3
ANTH 107 Introduction to General Anthropology 3
 Credits13
Year Two
Fall
ANTH 218 Biological Anthropology (with laboratory) 4
GEOL 302 Geoscience Writing 2
GEOL 310 Stratigraphy and Sedimentation (with laboratory) 4
Elective Elective 6
 Credits16
Spring
ANTH 230 Cultural Anthropology (with laboratory) 4
ENG 103 Writing and Rhetoric II (GT-CO2) 3
GEOL 315 Earth Materials (with laboratory) 4
Gen Ed General Education Courses 3
 Credits14
Year Three
Fall
GEOL 345 Structural Geology (with laboratory) 4
Gen Ed General Education Courses 6
GEOL 320 Geomorphology (with laboratory) 4
ANTH 219 Archaeology (with laboratory) 4
 Credits18
Spring
Elective Elective 4
Gen Ed General Education Courses 6
ANTH 333 Archaeology of Colorado 3
GEOG 340 INTRO GEOGRAPHIC INFO SYSTEMS 3
 Credits16
Summer
GEOL 450 Field Geology 4
 Credits4
Year Four
Fall
Elective Electives 12
ANTH 322 Analysis of Material Culture (with laboratory) 4
 Credits16
Spring
GEOL 380 Paleoclimatology 3
Elective Electives 9
 Credits12
 Total Credits125
1

Geology requires completion of mathematics through Calculus II.  Additional mathematics courses may be required and would fill Elective courses as needed.

Careers


Top Skills

  • Communication
  • Hydrology
  • Planning
  • Research
  • Soil Science
  • Water Resources



Career Pathways

  • Atmospheric and Space Scientists
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Geographic Information Systems Technicians
  • Geothermal Production Managers
  • Hydrologists
  • Petroleum Engineers

Take the first steps toward your dream career.

Career preparation is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling role in hundreds of professional fields after graduation. Wondering how you can apply your program of choice to a fulfilling career? Check out our “What Can I Do With This Major?” tool to see what future professions you can pursue within any degree pathway.

Scholarships

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 30 for 2024. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Geoarchaeology student

Take your education beyond the classroom.

Get the hands-on learning experience you need to apply your knowledge and launch your career.

  • Fieldwork: Students explore the Elk, West Elk and San Juan ranges; the Black Canyon and Gunnison Gold Belt; the active tectonics of the Rio Grande Rift and more.
  • Geology Club: The Geology Club is active in fundraising for student experiences, including field trips and attending professional conferences.
  • Geology Scholarships and Awards: Four annual scholarships, from generous geology alumni donations, are awarded to geology students to help offset educational costs.
  • Research Funding: The Bartleson-Prather Fund provides students with scholarships and research stipends.

Geology + Anthropology

The Geoarchaeology program features a blend of Geology and Anthropology courses and offers vast fieldwork opportunities in both fields including the study of geologic history, past climates and landscapes that would have impacted societies.

News & Research

Students and their professor use hand lenses to examine a rock during a geology field trip.

New Scholarship Fund Memorializes Alumnus, Supports Western’s Aspiring Geologists

Read More about New Scholarship Fund Memorializes Alumnus, Supports Western’s Aspiring Geologists
Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

Read More about Western Earns Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission
PBS documentary features Western professor, W Mountain

PBS documentary features Western professor, W Mountain

Read More about PBS documentary features Western professor, W Mountain

Department Chairperson

Anne W. Ryter, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry

Administrative Assistant

Lori Clement

NES Administrative Assistant

Contact Information

970.943.2015

rbingham@western.edu

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Hurst Hall 128
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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