Dr. David S. Loebbaka, Chair
222 EPS Building
(901) 881-7432

Tahira Arshed, Ernest W. Blythe, Jr., Michael A. Gibson, Harry P. Houff, David S. Loebbaka, William T. McCutchen, Gloria Mansfield, Jefferson S. Rogers, Robert P. Self, Helmut C. Wenz

The Department of Geology, Geography, and Physics is a multi-disciplinary unit that offers a bachelor's degree in Geosciences with concentrations in Geology, Geography, or Travel and Tourism and a minor in physics. 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 and advanced physics laboratories, cartographic facilities, meteorological equipment, personal computers with digitizing capabilities, and a student reading room for individual study. The department is a respository 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.


The geology scholarship is available to both incoming freshmen and returning students. Applications can be made through the department or through Student Financial Assistance.


The Geo Club, which consists of geosciences majors and other interested students, sponsors field trips, speakers and social events of interest to geoscience students.


The five-year Cooperative Education Program in Geology, Geography, and Travel and Tourism leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science with a major in Geoscience (either a Geology, Geography, or Travel and Tourism Concentration) offers the participant an opportunity to obtain valuable professional experience while preparing for permanent employment or for admission to graduate school. In addition, the participant gains a source of income to help finance college expenses. After successful completion of the freshman year, qualified students admitted to the program alternate semesters at the University with semesters of work in geoscience-related areas and spend the fifth year in residence at the University. Applications for admission should be made during Fall Semester of the freshman year. Further information may be obtained by writing to the Department of Geology, Geography, and Physics.


B.S. Curriculum. 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 modern geographer is concerned with interpreting and explaining the occurrence, distribution and interrelationships of physical and cultural patterns. Roughly one fourth of all professional geographers find employment in government at the federal, state or local level, filling such jobs as cartographer, analyst, curator, land officer, and soil conservationist. Private industry employs geographers for industrial location analysis, market research, and in transportation planning and design. Other geographers in private business work as writers or editors for publishers of maps, atlases, news and travel magazines.

Geography 151-152 are prerequisites to the concentration which consists of Geography 201-202 and 24 hours of upper division geography. Travel and Tourism courses Geography 351, 352, 451, and 452 will not apply toward the geography concentration.

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 sources of employment include Travel Agencies, Group Travel Counseling Agencies, Airline Travel, Group Travel Guide, State Department, U.S. Government Travel Services, Travel Information Counseling, State and Local Tourism Commissions.

Geography 151-152 are prerequisites to the concentration which consists of Geography 201-202, 351-352, 451, and 452. In addition, twelve (12) upper division hours must be selected from current geography courses.

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 318, 331, 337, 351, 371, 411, 412, 462 and 463 and sufficient geology electives to total at least 37 hours of upper division Geology. A minor is optional.

B.A. or B.S. Curriculum. Minors.
Geography 151-152 are prerequisites to a geography minor which consists of 12 hours of upper division geography. Travel and Tourism courses Geography 351-352 and 451-452 will not apply toward a geography minor. Travel and Tourism students cannot minor in geography.

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

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

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 and Physics 201L-202L are prerequisites to a physics minor, which consists of 15 hours of upper division physics electives; or Physics 211-212, 201L-202L, 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).