Department of Geology, Geography, and Physics

Dr. Aley El-Din K. El-Shazly, Chair
222 Johnson EPS Building
(901) 587-7432

Geology Faculty

Christopher I. Chalokwu, Lionel J. Crews, Aley K. El-Shazy, Cahit Erkal, Michael A. Gibson, Gloria Mansfield, Robert P. Self, Richard S. Taylor

Geography Faculty

Jefferson S. Rogers, Robert M. Simpson, Helmut C. Wenz

Physics Faculty

Tahira Arshed, Cahit Erkal, Richard S. Taylor

The Department of Geology, Geography, and Physics is a multi-disciplinary unit that offers a Geoscience major within the Bachelor of Science degree. The major provides concentrations in Geology, Geography, or Travel and Tourism. Minors are available in physics as well as geology, geography, and travel/tourism. Students can study with highly qualified faculty who provide individualized educational opportunities to achieve the greatest personal potential.

The mission of the Geology, Geography, and Physics Department is as follows:

  1. to provide students with a basic understanding and appreciation of science and how it affects their lives;
  2. to train competent professional geoscientists to serve the region, state and nation;
  3. to provide a strong science background for pre-professional students;
  4. to provide students with an awareness of physical and cultural diversity;
  5. to advance the geosciences and physics through research;
  6. to provide public service in our fields of expertise.


Instructional facilities of the department include: three fully-equipped geology laboratories, introductory physics laboratories, cartographic facilities, meteorological equipment, personal computers with digitizer, large scale plotter, and study room. The department is a repository for U.S. Geological Survey maps and maintains large collections of topographic maps, aerial photographs, rocks, minerals, fossils, and visual aids. These collections are an integral part of the instructional program. The department is included in the Tennessee Earthquake Network. Field trips to areas of geological and geographical interest form an integral part of the programs.

Departmental Awards

The Geography Award - A cash award of up to $300 to an outstanding geography orr travel/tourism student. Eligible students must have sophomore standing, be a declared geoscience major with a concentration in geography or travel/tourism. Eligible students must submit an application consisting of transcripts of all college work, a letter of intent, and an essay explaining why the applicant has chosen geography or travel/tourism as a career. Funding for this award comes from faculty and alumni donations. The geography faculty selects the recipient.

TheWilliam T. McCutchen Geology Award - A cash award of $300 to an outstanding geology student. Eligible students must have sophomore standing, be a declared geoscience major with a concentration in geology and submit an application consisting of transcripts of all college work, a letter of intent, and an essay explaining why the applicant has chosen geology as a career.Funding for this award comes from faculty and alumni donations.The geology faculty selects the recipient, which is named in honor of ProfessorWilliam T. McCutchen, the first geology faculty member at the university.

The David S. Loebbaka Award - A cash award of $150 to an outstanding astronomy or physics student. The award recognizes Dr. Loebbaka's many contributions to the department and the university. To be eligible a student must have been enrolled in a physics or astronomy course during the fall semester of the year in which the award is presented. The physics faculty selects the recipient based on academic achievement.

Student Organizations

The GeoClub consists of geoscience majors and any students interested in geology, geography and travel and tourism. The club sponsors field trips, activities for National Earth Science Week, and participates annually in GeoConclave, which is a regional geoscience competition among university programs. The primary goal of the GeoClub is to provide opportunities for students to learn about the earth, environment, and human impact through travel and field experiences. GeoClub endeavors to accomplish this goal through entertaining and enlightening activities involving student participation. Additionally the GeoClub provides service to the university and community through its outreach programs. For more information contact the GeoClub president (

Eta Alpha is the UT Martin chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the Earth Sciences National Honor Society. The chapter seeks students who excel in their academics and show an appreciation for the various earth-related sciences of geology, natural resource management, soils science, physical geography, and national parks,among others. The objective of SGE is to providean opportunity for the scholastic and professional development of its members while promoting comradery and cooperation among college and university programs devoted to earth sciences. The chapter provides educational programs for area schools and conducts research for publication through the society's journal The Compass. Any interested student who meets the requirements of 12 or more semester hours in earth-related sciences with an overall minimum of 3.0 GPA in those courses and minimum 2.67 GPA in all course work need only contact a member of the chapter or faculty advisor Michael Gibson ( for consideration of membership.


Geoscience Major

B.S. Curriculum. In addition to the general B.S. degree requirements, a geoscience major must satisfy the requirements of one of the following concentrations. A minor is required for the concentrations in geography and in travel and tourism; a minor is optional for the geology concentration. The choice of a minor should be made in consultation with an advisor in the concentration.

Geography Concentration - The Geography concentration is designed to provide students with a comprehensive training in geographic regions, processes, and techniques. In addition to the basic characteristics of the world’s regions, student learn about the dynamic processes shaping the earth’s natural and cultural environments. Geography majors develop basic skills in research, cartography, remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Potential career fields include: economic development, industrial site selection, transportation systems management and design, land management, publishing, education, cartography, service in state and local government, foreign service, and many other professional areas reflecting the increasing uses for geographic analysis throughout the society. Students interested in attending graduate school will also be well-prepared for continued study and research.

Geography 151 and 152 are prerequisites to the concentration which consists of Geography 201; 202; 351 or 352; 380, 381, or 393; 461, 462, or 472; 360 or 471; and 12 additional hours of upper-division geography courses. A minor is required.

Travel and Tourism Concentration - Travel and Tourism is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries and is the third largest retail business in the United States. Familiarity with the discipline equips one to pursue a career in a number of related fields. Potential employment venues include the U.S. State Department, U.S. government travel service offices, state and local tourism and economic development commissions, travel information counseling firms, airlines, private and group travel agencies, group travel guide services, and hotel/resort marketing firms.

Geography 151-152 are prerequisites to the concentration which consists of Geography 201, 202, 351, 352, 451, 452, 471, and and nine additional upper-division hours from current geography courses. A minor is required.

Geology Concentration - Geology is the study of the materials and processes which shape the earth’s past, present and future. There are many subfields such as oil and gas exploration, environmental geology, paleontology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, and geophysics. Geology assumes an increasingly important role in our quest for energy and mineral resources and in our growing concern for the environment. Geologists are typically employed by:

  1. private industry such as energy, mining and construction companies;
  2. federal government in such agencies as the U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Mines, NASA, and the Environmental Protection Agency;
  3. state and local governments in state geological surveys, regulatory bodies and regional planning commissions;
  4. private consulting firms;
  5. academia.

Geology 111 and Geology 113 are prerequisites to the concentration which consists of Geology 200, 318, 331, 337, 351, 371, 411, 412, and 462 and nine additional hours of upper-division geology courses. A minor is optional.


Geography. Geography 151 and 152 are prerequisites to a geography minor which consists of the following: Geography 201 or 202, and nine credit hours of upper-division geography courses. Geography 351, 352, and 451 cannot be used toward a geography minor. Travel and Tourism majors cannot minor in geography.

Geology. Geology 111 and 113 are prerequisites to a geology minor which consists of 15 hours of upper-division geology.

Physics. The minor in Physics provides a strong support program for degrees in mathematics, engineering, geology, chemistry, medicine or any of the pre-professional areas. The program of study can be designed to provide background in physics principles that best fits the student’s primary degree area or interests.

Physics 220-221-222 are prerequisites to a physics minor, which consists of 15 hours of upper-division physics electives; or Physics 211-212, 201-202, and 331-332 are prerequisites to a minor with 12 hours of upper-division electives in physics (in courses other than the 331-332 prerequisite).

Travel and Tourism. Geography 151 and 152 are prerequisites to a Travel and Tourism minor which consists of the following 12 hours of upper-division courses: Geography 351, 352, 451, and 452. A geoscience-geography major cannot minor in Travel and Tourism.

Description of Courses