Earth Sciences (ESCI) Undergraduate Courses

Please visit The University of Memphis Undergraduate Catalog for more information regarding courses.

Additional fees are charged for some Earth Sciences lecture and laboratory courses. See the online class listings or the Expenses section of the Catalog.

In addition to the courses below, the department may offer the following Special Topics courses:

ESCI 4308-12. Special Topics in Regional Geography. (3). Geographic analysis of physical, cultural, economic characteristics of a selected world geographic region, including Europe, United States, Canada, Central America, South America. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 hours credit with a change in topic.

ESCI 4342-46. Special Topics in Geology. (3). Topics are varied and in online class listings. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 hours credit with a change in topic.

ESCI 4370-79. Special Topics in Archaeology. (3). Topics are varied and in online class listings. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 hours credit with a change in topic.

ESCI 4610-19. Special Topics In Geography. (3). Topics are varied and in online class listings. May be repeated a maximum of 9 hours credit with a change topic

ESCI 1010 - Weather and Climate (4)
(GEOG 1010). Atmospheric processes and geographic distribution of radiation, moisture, pressure, and circulation interacting to create weather systems and storms; oceanic influences, earth-sun relationships, global climate patterns; human interaction with atmosphere. Laboratory exercises, observations, and experiments designed to apply scientific methods. Fee $25.00 lab fee. Three hours lecture, three hours laboratory per week. [G]

ESCI 1020 - Landforms (4)
(GEOG 1020). Agents and processes of landform development and geographic relationships of landscapes including volcanic, fluvial, glacial, and coastal environments; soil development and vegetation associations; environmental hazards to humans; maps and aerial photo interpretation as sources of environmental information. Laboratory exercises, observations, and experiments designed to apply scientific methods subjects. Fee $25.00 lab fee. Three hours lecture, two hours laboratory per week. [G]

ESCI 1040 - Physical Geology (4)
(GEOL). Introduction to processes that form the rocks in the earth's crust; the earth's internal forces that make mountains and volcanoes; special emphasis on topics that impact the Mid-South, such as earthquakes. Fee $25.00 lab fee. Three lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. [G]

ESCI 1050 - The Earth Through Time (4)
(GEOL). Overview of history of earth and its life as interpreted from rock and fossil record; origins of continents, mountain ranges, ocean basins and National Parks. Fee $25.00 lab fee. Three lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. [G]

ESCI 1100 - Biological Anthropology, Archaeology, and Human Evolution (3)
(Same as ANTH 1100). Introduction to the subfields of biological anthropology and archaeology; anthropological understandings of human origins, human evolution, and the common heritage of all humanity; the role of culture in human evolution; changing lifeways and subsistence practices in early human societies; addresses common misconceptions about human evolution including about race, ethnicity, sex and gender.

ESCI 1103 - The Human Planet (4)
(GEOL). Applications of physical geology to understanding, evaluating and solving problems encountered in the environment by past human populations; study in management, utilization and preservation of archaeological resources. Fee $25.00 lab fee. Three lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. [G]

ESCI 1301 - Survey of World Regions (3)
(GEOG). (TBR: GEOG 2010). Survey of economic, cultural and physical traits characteristic of developing and industrialized nations. [G]

ESCI 1401 - Intro/Cultural Geography (3)
(GEOG). (TBR: GEOG 1030). Geographical aspects of human behavior; distributional patterns and interactions of such cultural characteristics as language, religion, politics, and economics. [G]

ESCI 2300 - Great Discoveries in Archaeology (3)
(Same as ANTH 2300). Great discoveries of archaeology that underlie our understandings of ancient societies and social institutions are explored. Overviews of major archaeological investigations, the archaeologists, and contemporary excavation practices; beginnings of society; discovery of agriculture; and the emergence of complex societies provide the basis to emphasize basics of the scientific methods of archaeology and the obligation to learn from prehistory.

ESCI 2301 - Fundamentals of Archaeology (4)
(Same as ANTH 2301). Hands-on experience in archaeological methods; survey of past civilizations; critical evaluation of how modern archaeological methods and theories are applied. Fee Course Fee: $25. PREREQUISITE: ANTH 1100, recommended.

ESCI 3100 - Seminar in Emergency Mgmt (3)
(Same as EMGT 3100 and PADM 3100). Synthesizing and integrating the various elements of emergency management.

ESCI 3131 - Severe Weather (3)
Descriptive account of the physical processes important in the formation of blizzards, ice storms, thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and heat waves. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1010

ESCI 3200 - People/Culture World (3)
Major ethnographic areas and selected cultures of world.

ESCI 3211 - Invertebrate Paleontology (4)
(GEOL). Fossil invertebrate animals and their importance in interpretation of ancient environments, evolution, and geologic time. Three lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1040, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 3221 - Principles/Conservation (3)
(GEOG). Development of conservation ethic and wilderness concepts; survey of environmental problems, land use, and energy and resource utilization; soil erosion and crop productivity relationships.

ESCI 3311 - Mineralogy/Petrology (4)
(GEOL). Classification and identification of minerals. igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks in hand specimen; geological occurrence and use of minerals; genesis and occurrence of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Fee Course Fee: $25. Three lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1020 or 1040, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 3331 - Climate Change (3)
This course is designed to give students a background in the scientific understanding and evidence for global climate change, impacts of global climate change, and policy and political aspects of climate change.  The beginning of the course emphasizes how weather and climate systems operate on Earth, discussion of scientific evidence for ancient and modern climate change, and predictive modeling of climate change.  The second part of the course investigates the impacts of climate change on the Earth system and people, including consideration of uncertainty, timeline of change and geography.  The third part of the course addresses approaches to mitigating and adapting to climate change, and the politics of one of the most divisive scientific topics today.

ESCI 3451 - Intro/Urban Planning (3)
(GEOG; Same as PLAN 3451). Introduction to regional and urban planning emphasizing spatial relationships of physical, economic, and cultural phenomena necessary in planning process.

ESCI 3602 - Introduction to Geophysics (3)
Physical methods used to study the earth's interior. Each method is based on a particular area of physics such as seismology, potential methods (gravity and magnetics), electricity and magnetism, radioactivity, and heat. Emphasis is placed on the interpretive aspects of each of the methods, as well as on their relative advantages and limitations. PREREQUISITE: PHYS 2010.

ESCI 3712 - Sedimentology/Stratighy (4)
(GEOL). Origin and classification of sedimentary rocks and mutual relationship of sedimentary rock bodies both geographically and through geologic time. Lecture emphasizes comparison of modern depositional systems with their ancient counterparts. Laboratory emphasizes hand specimen analysis and preparation of geologic maps. Fee Course Fee: $25. Three lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1050.

ESCI 3802 - Oceanography (3)
(GEOL 3802). Origin, chemistry, water circulation, shoreline and deep water characteristics of oceans; its role in evolution and history of earth; marine life and its ecology.

ESCI 4122 - Soils and Soil Processes (3)
(GEOG 4122). Processes and dynamics of soil profile development; major models of soil development examined and applied to soil genesis in Tennessee; application of soil techniques to archaeology, planning, earth sciences, and soil conservation and erosion problems; emphasis on field and laboratory techniques with field work in soil mapping and soil taxonomy. Fee Course Fee: $25. Two lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1020 or ESCI 1040.

ESCI 4201 - Urbanization/Environment (3)
(GEOG; Same as PLAN 4201). Ways man has changed natural environment by urbanization and how physical features and processes influence development and function of cities.

ESCI 4202 - Geomorphology (4)
(GEOL). Description, origin and interpretation of landforms and their relationships to underlying structure and geologic history; processes acting on earth's surface, including active tectonics; weather; mass-wasting; climate change; and fluvial, shoreline, and glacial processes. Fee Course Fee: $25. Three lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1020 or ESCI 1040

ESCI 4204 - Environmental Science (3)
(Same as BIOL 4204). This course is designed to bring the student to an applied and informed awareness of responsible behavior toward our environment and the role of the human race therein. The content will include a study of the philosophical and scientific basis for the study of ecosystems and the environment, the nature of ecosystems, the techniques used to study the environment, the origin and development of current environmental problems, the interdisciplinary nature of environmental studies, the processes of critical thinking and problem solving, and the moral and ethical implications of environmentally-mandated decisions.

ESCI 4211 - Physical Hydrology (4)
(Same as CIVL 4211). Movement, storage and development of groundwater; groundwater in the hydrologic cycle; aquifer characteristics and tests. Fee Course Fee: $25. Three lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1040 and MATH 1830 or equivalent.

ESCI 4213 - Field Methods/Hydrology (3)
(GEOL). Practice of field methods in solving hydrologic problems. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 4211, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4214 - Climatology (3)
(GEOG 4211). Climatic elements and methods of data analysis; applications of climatology in agriculture, health, economics, and architecture. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1010, MATH 1710, and PHYS 2010, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4215 - Physical Climatology (3)
(GEOG). Components of earth's energy balance, emphasis on solar radiation, heat transfer, and evapotranspiration. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1010 and PHYS 2010/2011.

ESCI 4216 - Synoptic Meteorology (3)
Physical processes in the atmosphere applied to analysis and interpretation of synoptic (regional) scale systems using weather maps, upper-air soundings, satellite and radar imagery, and computer model output; introduction to techniques used in weather forecasting. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1010, MATH 1710 and PHYS 2010, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4231 - Watershed Science and Management (3)
(GEOG). Hydrologic processes and their application to needs of cities, industry, agriculture, and recreation.

ESCI 4241 - Biogeog/GIS Analyses/Ecology (3)
(GEOG; Same as BIOL 4241). Basic principles of interaction between geography, organism diversity and evolution; physical factors limiting species distribution, theories of island biogeography, geographical modes of speciation. Laboratories introduce principles of GIS, basic functions of ArcGIS, and other programs relevant to ecological studies. Two lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: BIOL 1120 and 1121, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4251 - Environmental Hazards (3)
(GEOG). Environmental hazard and disaster experiences to investigate the nature, impact, and social responses to environmental hazards; focus is placed on relationship between nature, society, and technology in how people and places perceive, experience, and cope with environmental hazards.

ESCI 4252 - Global Environmental Change (3)
(GEOP). Characteristics of natural systems; magnitude of human alteration of environmental systems; history of natural changes in climate and landscape; impact of changes. PREREQUISITE: permission of instructor.

ESCI 4261 - Plan Sustainable Cities/Region (3)
(Same as PLAN 4261). Multidisciplinary and multi-scaled approach to understanding the sustainability of natural and built environments in planning cities and regions; methods for measuring sustainability; emerging development concepts and practices; technology, efficiency, social equity and public health implications of sustainability; sustainable urban/regional form of the future.

ESCI 4301 - Archaeology of the Americas (3)
(Same as ANTH 4301). Intensive study of various prehistoric cultures of the Americas from earliest times until historic contact. PREREQUISITE: ANTH 1100, 1200, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4307 - Thematic Studies/China (3)
Geographic analysis of physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of China and neighboring regions.

ESCI 4325 - Archaeol Fld/Lab Techn (3)
(Same as ANTH 4325). Field excavation, specimen preparation, use of survey instruments and photography, map making, archaeological record keeping; methods and techniques in archaeological laboratory analysis; emphasis on organization and supervision of laboratory procedures. PREREQUISITE: permission of instructor.

ESCI 4332 - Intro to Geochemistry (3)
(GEOL). Geological and chemical processes that govern or control migration and distribution of elements and atomic species of earth in space and time. Three lecture hours per week. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 3311, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4335 - Analysis of Stone Artifacts (3)
(Same as ANTH 4335). Much of the prehistoric cultural record is pieced together through the analysis of stone artifacts. The class outlines the basics of stone "lithics" artifact analysis through an in-depth study of current techniques, instrumentation, and theory. Lecture is augmented by class discussion and hands-on experimentation "flintknapping."

ESCI 4341 - Aqueous Geochemistry (3)
(GEOL). Physical chemistry of aqueous solutions as applied to geochemical processes on earth's surface. PREREQUISITE: CHEM 1120.

ESCI 4350 - Archaeology of Collapse (3)
(Same as ANTH 4350). Emphasis on archaeology of regional politics and archaic states throughout the world. Overview of social and political collapse of complex societies.

ESCI 4352 - Archaeology/World Prehistory (3)
(3351) (Same as ANTH 4352). Global survey of cultures from first humans to early civilizations.

ESCI 4365 - Cultural Resource Mgmt (3)
(ANTH 4375-6375). The majority of archaeological work in North America is conducted in compliance with tribal, state, and federal legislation in Cultural Resource Management (CRM). The ultimate goals of this course is to prepare students for CRM roles and responsibilities through learning the historic development, current legislation, practices and real world skills needed to conduct CRM work.

ESCI 4430 - Social and Economic Geography with GIS (3)
(Same as PLAN 4430). Geographic analysis of social and spatial characteristics of economic activities and their distribution.  Applications of data analysis and output using ArcGIS software package.

ESCI 4431 - Urban Geography (3)
(GEOG; Same as PLAN 4431). Geography of urban processes and forms; cultural, social, economic, and political aspects of the contemporary city.

ESCI 4443 - Transportation Planning (3)
(GEOG; Same as PLAN 4443). Planning for various transportation modes and networks and impact they have on land use and contemporary development problems.

ESCI 4502 - Computer Cartography (3)
(GEOG). Use of computer mapping programs as effective techniques for visual presentation of wide variety of data. Fee Course Fee: $25. Two lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week.

ESCI 4511 - Remote Sensing/Environ (3)
(GEOG 4511). Survey of theory and application of using color, infrared, thermal, and radar images generated from satellite and aerial photographs for geographic, geologic, environmental, and planning purposes. Fee Course Fee: $25. Two lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: one college-level MATH course, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4512 - Structural Geology (4)
(Was 3512). (GEOL). Structures of the crust; geometry of folds and faults, rock deformation, criteria for recognizing structures, solution of geometrical problems. Fee Course Fee: $25. Three lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1040, MATH 1910, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4515 - Geographic Info Science (3)
(GEOG). Theoretical and practical understanding of fundamental GIS concepts, capabilities, and applications; nature of geographic data and issues of data input, data models, database design, spatial analysis, data output using ArcGIS software. Three lecture hours, two laboratory hours per week. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1010 or 1020 or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4521 - Quantitative Methods (3)
(GEOG). Introduction to quantitative methods in spatial analysis.

ESCI 4525 - Adv Geographic Info Science (3)
(GEOG). Design and implementation of spatial analysis approaches within the context of GIS technology; development of a sound understanding of the operational basis of modern GIS technology. PREREQUISITE: GEOG 4515, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4526 - Advanced Remote Sensing (3)
Practical exercises and datasets to elaborate on fundamental skills introduced in ESCI 4511. Topics include advanced image enhancement techniques, hyper-spectral image analysis, change detection, and analysis of active sensor system (LiDAR). PREREQUISITE: ESCI 4511, or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4531 - Field Methods in Earth Science (3)
(GEOG). The course teaches both basic and advanced field methods used in the Earth Sciences such as cartography, GIS, statistics, remote sensing, drones, microscopy, geochemistry, soils, hydrology, and others.  The methods, learned through hands on activities and instruction, will be discipline specific but also broad based.  Students planning to go into careers in environmental science will benfit by learning real world skills.

ESCI 4535 - Modular GIS (3)
Implementation of modular learning content within the various GIS domains such as mapping and visualization, analytics, scripting and development, sharing GIS content, field mobility, real-time monitoring and discipline specific topics such as public safety, public health, business and geology, etc.  PREREQUISITE: ESCI 4515/6515 or ESCI 4525/6525 or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4541 - Geography/Field Studies (1-6)
(GEOG). Faculty conducted field trip emphasizing study of geographic phenomena. Location will vary. Topics may include physical landscapes, landaus patterns, cross-cultural analysis, micro and regional economics, or other geographical processes. Credit hours based on length of time in field. Requires field journal and report to receive credit. May be repeated for maximum of 6 hours credit with change in content. PREREQUISITE: permission of instructor and completion of special registration.

ESCI 4551 - Urban Planning Studio (3)
(GEOG). Application of planning process to urban problems and preparation of plans for the urban area. PREREQUISITE: GEOG 3451 or permission of instructor.

ESCI 4621 - Investigations In GEOG (1-3)
(GEOG). Student, under faculty supervision, studies in-depth particular geographic topic. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 hours credit with change in content. PREREQUISITE: approval of instructor.

ESCI 4622 - Geology Field Camp (6)
(GEOL). Preparation of structural and lithologic maps in prescribed geologic areas using topographic maps and aerial photographs. Instruments used are the alidade and the Brunton compass. Offered in summer school only. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 3311, 4512, and 3712.

ESCI 4680 - Applied Archaeology/Museums (3)
(Same as ANTH 4680). Representations of cultural heritage in a broad array of public venues; repatriation, cultural patrimony, cultural resource management, civic engagement, rights and responsibilities of stakeholders, public involvement in museum representations, performance and education, culture and memory.

ESCI 4700 - Earth Science Internship (1-9)
(GEOG). Experience working with agency in which knowledge of earth science can be utilized. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 hours credit. Credit allowed only after acceptance of report. PREREQUISITE: approval of instructor and department chair. (S/U)

ESCI 4701 - ESCI Field Excursions (1-2)
(GEOL). Conducted field trips during spring vacation. About 30 hours of field work follow 2-4 hours of lectures. Open to nonmajors. Among areas which may be included are Ouachita-Arbuckle-Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma; Ouachita, Ozark dome and adjacent mineral districts; central and southern Appalachians; Gulf Coastal Plain; Death Valley, CA; and Grand Canyon, AZ. Check online class listings for specific location. Fee Course Fee: $25. NOTE: May be repeated for a maximum of 8 hours credit. Dates, hours and credits to be arranged. PREREQUISITE: permission of instructor.

ESCI 4722 - Investigation In ESCI (1-3)
(GEOP). Individual or group work on topics of current interest in the broad field of earth sciences. May be repeated for maximum of 6 hours credit. PREREQUISITE permission of instructor.

ESCI 4731 - Senior Thesis (1-3)
(GEOL). Original study on subject of significance to earth science to be carried on independently by student with faculty supervision. PREREQUISITE: senior standing in Geology.

ESCI 4801 - Seminar in Applied Geography (3)
(GEOG). Perspectives and techniques of geography applied to contemporary topics in a seminar format based on review of literature, current issues, and the written and oral presentation student work. PREREQUISITE: ESCI 1010, 1020, 1011, 1021, 1301 or 4307-12, or 3430, 3514 and two additional upper division courses selected from two of the following areas: human/economic, environmental/earth, or the techniques. Registration by permit only.