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SCIN138 - Introduction to Physical Geology with Lab

Course Details

Course Code: SCIN138 Course ID: 3825 Credit Hours: 4 Level: Undergraduate

Geology encompasses the study of our planet, and students in this course will explore: how it formed, the nature of its interior, the materials of which it is composed, landforms, earthquakes and volcanoes, geologic resources, and geologic history. Current events that students learn about in the news, ranging from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, and more will fit into a larger picture of how Earth works and why such things happen. The laboratory component of the course provides students with practical activities which reinforces the content of the course in a virtual format.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/26/18 - 05/03/19 05/06/19 - 06/30/19 Spring 2019 Session I 8 Week session
12/31/18 - 05/31/19 06/03/19 - 07/28/19 Spring 2019 Session D 8 Week session
01/28/19 - 06/28/19 07/01/19 - 08/25/19 Summer 2019 Session B 8 Week session
02/25/19 - 08/02/19 08/05/19 - 09/29/19 Summer 2019 Session I 8 Week session
03/25/19 - 08/30/19 09/02/19 - 10/27/19 Summer 2019 Session D 8 Week session
04/29/19 - 10/04/19 10/07/19 - 12/01/19 Fall 2019 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

At the conclusion of this course, the student will be able to:

CO-1 Recognize the general structure of the Earth and how it was formed, including the origin of elements and mineral structures.
CO-2 Recall how the Earth and living organisms have changed over the last four billion years.
CO-3 State the dynamic processes of rock formation and deformation, volcanism, and earthquakes within the framework of Plate Tectonic Theory.
CO-4 Compare and contrast igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, including formation processes.
CO-5 Recognize the geologic settings and formation processes for common landforms and soil types.
CO-6 Identify the principles and processes related to transport and storage of subsurface and surface water.
CO-7 State the physical and chemical properties of the oceans and atmosphere and how these affect climate.
CO-8 Identify present and future energy resources and associated challenges.

Grades for this course will be based upon the following assignments and exams:


Participation is mandatory and will count towards the course grade (16%). You are expected to provide a substantial and well-written comment in each session and a similar comment or reflection in reply to at least two other students’ contributions. Initial posts are due by Wednesday, 11:55 pm EST; and two replies are due by Sunday, 11:55 pm EST. If you have extenuating circumstances which prevent you from completing your initial forum posts or replies on time, contact your instructor before Wednesday so we can discuss other arrangements.

The initial post in the first forum (Introduction) must be at least 250 words long. Your response must be submitted before the end of the first week. This is a way of confirming your attendance in the course.


The exams covering the reading assignments in the online textbook provided in the classroom are on-line, open-book, and timed. They may include multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short essay type questions.

Laboratory Quizzes

Multiple-choice, fill in the blank, and T/F quizzes based on the Laboratory Exercises. Quizzes are not timed and can be accessed multiple times. Answers are submitted in the Tests & Quizzes Tool (left-hand menu) of the electronic classroom. Quizzes are due on Sunday evening (11:55 PM EST) of the week that they are assigned.

NameGrade %
Forums 16.00 %
Forum 1 2.00 %
Forum 2 2.00 %
Forum 3 2.00 %
Forum 4 2.00 %
Forum 5 2.00 %
Forum 6 2.00 %
Forum 7 2.00 %
Forum 8 2.00 %
Exams 38.50 %
Week 7 Exam (timed and single access) 5.50 %
Week 6 Exam (timed and single access) 5.50 %
Week 1 Exam (timed and single access) 5.50 %
Week 2 Exam (timed and single access) 5.50 %
Week 3 Exam (timed and single access) 5.50 %
Week 4 Exam (timed and single access) 5.50 %
Week 5 Exam (timed and single access) 5.50 %
Laboratory Quizzes 25.20 %
Lab Lesson 5: Minerals, due end of Week 1 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 1: Topographic Maps, Due end of Week 4 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 2: Plate Tectonics, Due end of Week 2 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 3: Rock Deformation and Mountain Building, Due end of Week 5 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 4: Earthquakes and Seismology, Due end of Week 3 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 6: Igneous Rocks and Volcanism, Due end of Week 3 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 7: Sedimentary Rocks, Due end of Week 4 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 8: Metamorphism and Metamorphic Rocks, Due end of Week 5 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 9: Geologic Time, due end of week 2 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 10: Mass Wasting, Due end of Week 7 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 11: Streams and Groundwater, Due Week 6 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 12: Oceans and Coastlines, Due Week 6 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 13: Glaciers, Due end of Week 7 1.80 %
Lab Lesson 14: Economic Geology and Resources, Due Week 8 1.80 %
Final Exam 20.30 %
Week 8 Final Exam (timed and single access) 20.30 %
Unassigned 0.00 %
RealizeIT 0.00 %

Required Technology

  • See the Technology Requirements section of the undergraduate catalog for the minimum hardware and software requirements.
  • Microsoft Office 365 is available to APUS students for free. To sign up, visit If you have questions about accessing the software, please contact Classroom support at
  • Many of the labs require Google Earth. The software can be downloaded for free on your phone or computer. You can find out more here:
Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Links provided inside the classroom in the Lessons section.
Author: No Author Specified

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.