Course Details

Course Number: GEOS 3234  Section Number: 201

Spring 2015

Location: Bolin Hall

Classroom Number: 115

Days & Times:
  • Lecture: MWF 11:00 am - 11:50 am
  • Lab: W 1:00 pm - 2:50 pm
  • Lab: F 1:00 pm - 2:50 pm

Course Attachments

Topics and dates  petrology-calendar-topics-S15-20150119-105853.pdf


Petrology: Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic
Third edition A complete but straightfoward examination of the common terrestrial lithologies in terms of formation and classification.
  ISBN: 0-7167-3743-4

Intro to the Rock-Forming Minerals Edition: 3rd
Recommended text for petrographic analysis
  ISBN: 9780903056274

GEOS 3234 Lab Manual
Required new lab manual
MSU Faculty Member
Dr. Jonathan D. Price   
view Profile »

Course Objectives

Petrology introduces students to the nature and origin of rocks, the solid materials of the Earth’s crust and mantle.  Students successfully completing the course will be able to identify common rocks by their macroscopic and microscopic properties.  Moreover, students completing the course will understand natural crystallization, weathering, erosion, sedimentation, and lithfication processes and products.

Specific objectives

  • Understand the nature of rock and similar materials
  • Understand the classification system based on texture, mineral/chemical composition, and association
  • Understand rock-forming processes and environments.
  • Learn the physical characteristics, chemical composition, and common origins of several dozen of the most common rocks.
  • Learn the nature of crystallization, lithification, weathering, erosion, and soil formation.

Course Expectations

The course is divided into two components: lecture and laboratory.

Lecture will be evaluated through the following means

  • 2 of 3 choices - Field/project (12%)
    • Field trip 1assignment
    • Field trip 2 assignment
    • Project of the professor's choosing
  • 2 examinations (midterm - 18%, Final - 20%)

Laboratory through the following means:

  • Weekly lab assignments (35%)
  • Lab final examination (10%)


Grading Standards

In this class, the following numerical equivalents for grades are used: A = 100-90% | B = 89-80% | C = 79-70% | D = 69-60% | F = 59-0%.

Final Exam5/11/2015  10:30 AM

Submission Format Policy

 I will issue specific assignments in class and lab.  Completed work may be remitted to the professor in person, through his office mailbox (Bolin 102), or by electronic submission.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

Late assignments slow the grading down and therfore penalize the whole class. They will be provisionally accepted and at discounted credit.  For most assignments, you will receive 10% of the grade for submitting your assignment on or before the prescribed time it is due. Late submissions, if accepted, will automatically lose that 10%. I will not take any late assignment after I returned the evaluated materials to the rest of the class.

Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Required.  But don’t show up ill – if you have a fever, see a physician and then get some rest.  Absenteeism will be addressed on an individual basis, and the professor reserves the right to drop or fail students with poor attendance.  However, any excuse (for absence or otherwise) is better when delivered ahead of the absence.

This is an upper level class in geosciences. Successful completion is a pathway to an estimable career path that generally weeds out those without commitment and courtesy.  It reflects poor commitment to let other obligations and distractions impair your preparation towards a career, It is discourteous to not alert your professor to a delay or absence to any scheduled assembly.

Other Policies

Desire2Learn (D2L)

The official source of internet information for this class is D2L site n the MSU network - it shall be considered the authoritative web source for the class for this semester.  All assignment info, grades, official schedule, etc... will be on the D2L site.  

The Geosciences Program puts together a colloquium series for the benefit of its students. There are typically three of these scheduled each semester. As part of participating in this class, you are required to attend all three.

Research and Creative Activity Opportunities at MSU

Enhancing Undergraduate Research Endeavors and Creative Activities (EURECA) is a program that provides opportunities for undergraduate to engage in high-quality research and creative activities with faculty. EURECA provides incentives and funding through a system that supports faculty and students in a cooperative research process. For more information contact the Office of Undergraduate Research, (940) 397-6275 or Information and resources are available at

Demands of petrology

Petrology ranks among the most challenging classes within the undergraduate geoscience curriculum.   It covers a number of abstract concepts.  It incorporates attributes of inorganic chemistry and solid-state physics.  It relies heavily on largely non-intuitive, frequently arcane, and always cumbersome nomenclature.  In short, plan on spending a good portion of each week on this class.

Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.