Senior Research Projects

The undergraduate curriculum is expressly designed to provide opportunities for students to undertake a geologic research project in their senior year.  Such projects may require either one or two semesters of effort, and typically involve enrollment in GEOL 199 (Undergraduate Research or Reading) for 1-3 credits, commensurate with the scope of the project.  The purpose of such research projects is to provide experience in the solution of practical problems in geology and related sciences and to thereby better prepare students for graduate-school studies and/or careers in science where problem solving is paramount.  Students are encouraged to discuss ideas for possible projects with faculty (either full-time or part-time) during the Spring semester of their junior year but certainly no later than the fall semester of their final year of study at GWU.  Projects should involve a work plan that is approved by both the student and faculty member.  All projects should include either a written final report or an oral presentation, or both.  Such senior research projects may be counted as equivalent to one upper-level course to be applied to the three (BA) or four (BS) required for graduation purposes.  Students should note that successful completion of a senior research project is required for graduation with Special Honors.

Research projects are generally undertaken in consultation with a faculty member with whom the student typically works closely.  Geoscientists from outside the University often become involved in the projects and may occasionally serve as the primary advisor in consultation with a GWU Geology faculty member.  Recent student research projects include studies of dinosaur anatomy, geochemistry of rift-related mafic dikes, petrology of Neoproterozoic metavolcanic rocks, mapping and geochemical studies of Mesoproterozoic basement rocks, and paleomagnetic/structural studies of Late Neoproterozoic mafic metavolcanics.