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Earth & Environmental Sciences


The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences offers two master’s degree programs—the Master of Science and Master of Science in Teaching (Earth Science). The Master of Science program prepares students for careers as professional earth scientists in industry, government, or education, or for continued graduate study. Current program concentrations are in earth sciences (hydrogeology, geophysics, geochemistry) and environmental sciences. The department is widely recognized for its applied and multidisciplinary programs and maintains a strong emphasis on practical field applications.

A nonthesis M.S. degree option is available for individuals seeking to gain expertise in earth or environmental sciences who already have an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in science or engineering from an accredited university, and who have completed a research thesis or dissertation.

The Master of Science in Teaching (Earth Science) program is designed for K–12 educators seeking to add content and education courses in Earth/Space Science that may lead to Ohio Early Childhood Education, Middle Childhood, or Adolescent Young Adult (AYA) licensure in Earth/Space Science; or for presently certified or licensed K–12 teachers seeking to improve their knowledge of Earth/Space Sciences.

In addition to the above programs, the department supports two interdisciplinary programs offered within the College of Science and Mathematics: Interdisciplinary Science and Mathematics Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) and Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences (M.S.).

For additional information on the department and its programs, you might wish to consult our Web site at www.geology.wright.edu/.


A candidate for the Master of Science degree must possess a Bachelor of Science degree or Bachelor of Arts degree from a recognized institution. Students must have a strong background in earth or environmental sciences with appropriate courses in supporting sciences, mathematics, and computer science. Students not meeting these requirements may be admitted with deficiencies. A candidate for the Master of Science in Teaching degree must possess a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from a recognized institution.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Sciences
In addition to the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, the following requirements of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences must be met:
1. Completion of 45 or more graduate credit hours apportioned in the following way: at least nine hours of thesis credit and at least 36 additional hours of graduate credit in an instructional program approved by the candidate’s graduate committee, including colloquia or seminars as required by the department
2. Submission of an approved thesis based on original research
3. Satisfactory performance in a final thesis defense near the end of the degree program

Individual programs of study tailor course work, seminars, and research guided by faculty to the professional and educational goals of each student. Each graduate student is advised by a committee of three faculty members. Ultimate responsibility for fulfilling all requirements rests with the student.

Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program
The department also participates in the interdisciplinary Ph.D., in Environmental Sciences, concentrating on Environmental Geophysics, Hydrogeology, and Geochemistry. See the separate listing for that program or consult the Web site www.wright.edu/academics/envsci/.

Master of Science in Teaching (Earth Science)
In addition to the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, the following requirements of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences must be met:
1. Completion of a minimum of 45 graduate credit hours apportioned in the following way: a maximum of 12 credit hours in the College of Education and Human Services, 6 credit hours of project credit, 9 hours of field-based courses in earth sciences, and additional graduate courses approved by the student’s graduate committee to fulfill the credit hour requirement
2. Submission of an approved project report
3. Satisfactory presentation of an approved project
Because graduate students working toward this degree are expected to have a wide range of backgrounds, programs must be designed on an individual basis. For instance, students may choose to focus on the environment by taking a suite of environmental sciences courses combined with a related environmental project. Graduate students are guided by an advisory committee consisting of two faculty members from within the department and one faculty member from education. This advisory committee is responsible for advice concerning the academic program including the project, the number of education courses, and the selection of other courses to fulfill candidacy requirements. Ultimate responsibility for fulfilling all requirements rests with the student.


The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is housed primarily in the Brehm Laboratory. Department facilities include 12 teaching and research laboratories and a wide variety of specialized facilities. The department’s research facilities and equipment are outstanding and lend critical support to its applied programs. The department’s dedicated computer facilities provide PCs, Macs, and custom workstations for GIS, geological, hydrological, geophysical, and remote sensing applications.

In addition to the laboratory facilities described here, the department has an exceptional array of field equipment for faculty and student use. This equipment includes truck-mounted drilling rigs, trucks, vans, and other vehicles for field research. Two technicians are employed to maintain and improve both field and laboratory equipment.

The mineralogy/crystallography/petrology laboratories feature reference and display collections of minerals and rocks, Zeiss universal microscopes, and several student model microscopes. A Logitech thin-sectioning machine and facilities for mineral separations are available.

The sedimentary petrology laboratory is equipped with a Wild stereomicroscope with drawing attachment, Nuclide Cathodoluminescence Luminoscope, Zeiss Universal petrographic microscopes, digital photography equipment, an interactive video-computer microscope system, UV luminescence equipment, an air abrasive unit, and the petrologic equipment listed previously.

Current research projects in carbonate sedimentology focus on the origin, depositional environments and diagenesis of Quaternary shallow-water carbonates, local and regional scale deposition and diagenesis of Mississippian limestones, and Silurian shallow-water carbonates in Ohio. Projects in clastic sedimentology focus on facies analysis of Paleozoic fluvial sandstones, Pleistocene glacial (fluvial and lacustrine) sediments, and the effects of sedimentary structures and facies distributions on ground water flow.

Several laboratories support research in hydrogeology and environmental geochemistry. Field campaigns are supported by equipment for sampling or in situ determination of both the physical and the chemical properties of hydrogeologic systems, including drilling rigs with numerous support vehicles, sample extraction apparatus, in situ sampling probes with automated digital data acquisition systems, and downhole geophysical logging tools. Two field sites with dedicated hydrogeological monitoring equipment are maintained.

The hydrogeochemistry laboratories comprise a complete line of analytical instrumentation for the analysis of aqueous chemical parameters, including ion chromatography, VIS/UV spectrophotometry, and gas chromatography. An organic geochemistry lab is equipped with the latest Hewlett-Packard gas chromatograph and automatic sampler, managed by a computer system and HP GC Chemstation software.

Current research includes the theory and the application of ground-water flow and pollution modeling, hydrogeochemical modeling, theory and application of environmental isotopes for the investigation of hydrologic systems, organic contaminant fate and transport, insular water resource planning and management, ground-water buffering of acid precipitation, acid-mine drainage, hydrogeology and diagenesis of carbonates, non-point source pollution (Sycamore Farms Experimental Watershed), wetland hydrogeology and hydrogeochemistry, hydraulics of fractured rocks, and the characterization of hazardous waste repositories.

The facilities and equipment supporting research in geophysics include a 120-channel seismic reflection system, geophysical workstations for seismic modeling, Sun workstations running PROMAX for seismic data processing, a new linux cluster donated by Hess being installed with Schlumberger 3D seismic analysis and interpretation, three gravity meters (LaCoste-Romberg and Worden), a magnetic gradiometer system, both GSSI SIR-2 and SIR-3000 ground-penetrating radar systems with a wide range of antennae, a Sting-Swift 2D/3D resistivity imaging system, a 48-channel Strataview engineering seismograph, a trailer-mounted Bison elastic wave generator, a Leica TCRA1105 total survey station and a Trimble GPS survey system.

Research on near surface geophysical studies related to environmental and engineering problems includes geophysical archaeology, karst/mine detection and mapping, geophysical mapping of levee integrity, and detection of old coal mines from scattering of in-seam seismic waves generated by active mining nearby. Additional research includes seismic refraction and reflection studies relating to the geology of Ohio and the U.S. continental interior.

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences has a remote sensing laboratory comprising a Sun Sparc 80 and personal computers with remote sensing data processing software and has the capability to download and process a variety of satellite and airborne image formats. The facility includes a large-format plotter suitable for large-scale mosaics.

Additional research areas require only advanced computer facilities. Current research topics include the temporal dynamics of stream and river discharge, spatial patterns of hurricane landfall, spatial patterns of trees in a forest, patterns of land use, dynamics of coastal water-level change, and shoreline dynamics.

Excellent cooperative academic and research relationships exist with other departments on campus and with surrounding colleges and universities in southwestern Ohio. The department has wide-ranging capabilities and can accommodate through its facilities a very broad range of research ideas.



Christopher C. Barton, analysis and forecasting of complex systems
Allen Burton (chair), aquatic toxicology, ecological risk assessment
C. Bryan Gregor, geochemical cycles, mass age distribution of sediments
Byron R. Kulander (Emeritus), structural geology, geophysics
Benjamin H. Richard (Emeritus), field geology, exploration geophysics
Robert W. Ritzi Jr., hydrogeology, hydrogeological modeling
Paul J. Wolfe (Emeritus), exploration geophysics

Associate Professors
Abinash Agrawal, contaminant hydrogeology, site remediation
Cindy Carney, carbonate petrology, carbonate sedimentology, diagenesis
Songlin Cheng, hydrogeochemistry, isotope hydrology, geographic information systems
David Dominic, fluvial and glacial sedimentology, hydrogeology
Ernest C. Hauser, near surface geophysics, subsurface imaging
William Slattery, teacher education, sequence stratigraphy
Doyle Watts, remote sensing, seismic data acquisition and processing, astrogeology

Assistant Professor
Rebecca Teed, teacher education and Quaternary paleoecology

Huntting Brown, environmental management and law

Financial Assistance

Graduate teaching assistantships and graduate assistantships carrying stipends and fee remissions are awarded. Research assistantships connected with supported research projects and research contracts are also available. Tuition scholarships are available in special cases.

Graduate School
E344 Student Union
Voice: (937) 775-2976
Fax: (937) 775-2453
E-mail: wsugrad@wright.edu
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