The School is housed in Leonard Hall, a four-floor 70,000 square-foot building on the UND Campus. Our physical facilities, including lecture and laboratory space, and the F. D. Holland, Jr. Geology Library, are superior to those in most geoscience departments at universities similar in size and mission to UND.
F. D. Holland, Jr. Geology Library
We have a full-time staff librarian in the F. D. Holland, Jr. Geology Library which is the largest geoscience library in the upper Midwest with more than 50,000 volumes, 500 journal titles, 100,000 maps, 18,000 microfiche records, 8,000 air photos, and several hundred geological databases on CD. The library is also a depository for U.S. Government documents and specializes in U.S. Geological Survey publications.
Laboratories and Research Programs and Equipment
- Petroleum Research, Education, and Entrepreneurship Center of Excellence (PREEC). The College of Engineering and Mines is launching both undergraduate and graduate Petroleum Engineering degree programs and establishing a Petroleum Research Center to address several geological engineering characteristics of the Williston Basin, including:
- The role of in-situ stress fields and fracturing in the Bakken Formation
- Enhanced oil recovery
- CO2 sequestration
- Enhanced geothermal systems using oil field water to generate electrical power
- Antarctic Research Program. We are interested in how land surfaces change over time. This is controlled by many factors including climate, local rock/soil types, and topography amongst many more, all of which vary greatly depending on where you are in the world. Our research takes us to the coldest, windiest, and driest place on Earth to see how remote glacial valleys (and coldest deserts) erode and change unlike anywhere else. Details in the program description.
- The Petroleum Engineering Laboratory is a 576 sq ft facility housed in the basement of Leonard Hall. The laboratory features a high pressure/high temperature acoustic core flooding system for research on enhanced oil recovery and CO2 sequestration and Schlumberger's ECLIPSE and PETREL software for reservoir simulation operations. The hardware and software in the Petroleum Engineering Lab are funded by a UND faculty start-up and ND EPSCoR, and two on-going research projects are funded by DOE through the UND EERC.
- The Mining Engineering Laboratory is another 576 sq ft facility housed in the basement of Leonard Hall. The Laboratory contains a variety of equipment for testing rock properties and computers and software for analyses.
- The Environmental Analytical Research Laboratory (formerly the Water Quality Laboratory) EARL is housed on the third floor of Leonard Hall and is jointly administered by the School of Geology and Geological Engineering, Chemical Engineering Department, and Chemistry. The laboratory is staffed by a full-time technician and includes an inductively coupled argon plasma-atomic emission spectrometer (ICP), a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GCMS), an ion chromatograph (IC) a total organic carbon analyzer (TOC), ion selective electrodes (ISE) and ancillary equipment to support teaching, scientific research and engineering design projects in aqueous chemistry and water resources investigations.
- The Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library (North Dakota Geological Survey) is a climate controlled facility, located directly across the street from Leonard Hall. The facility consists of 2,000 square feet of office and laboratory space and 18,000 square feet of core storage. It currently houses approximately 129 kilometers of cores and approximately 40,000 boxes of drill cuttings. The cores represent about 80% of the cores cut in the North Dakota portion of the oil- and coal-rich Williston Basin, and about 95% of the samples collected. The facility also houses an extensive collection of water-well samples and cores.
- Geophysics facilities include: two Geometric proton-precession magnetometers, a LaCoste and Romberg gravity meter, Trimble 5700 and Leica System 300 real-time-kinematic GPS with sub-centimeter resolution, two high-resolution laser range finders, three solar-powered weather stations, a divided-bar thermal conductivity apparatus, and a high-precision temperature logging system.
- Geothermal Research
- Hydrogeology Program. The hydrogeology program provides the course work and individual research necessary for the graduate to work as a groundwater professional in consulting, research, teaching, or governmental regulation. Course work and research in the program balances theory with practical field and laboratory skills. Auger rig and extensive field equipment. Details in the program description.
- Other Department facilities include: an X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory with a computer-controlled Phillips XRD using automatic peak matching software library; a Paleontology Laboratory which includes an extensive collection of invertebrate and vertebrate specimens; and a Stable Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory for isotopic analysis of waters, rocks and fossils in paleoclimate and environmental investigations.
The Senior Thesis is an important part of a student’s scientific training in the School of Geology & Geological Engineering. It sums and implements the knowledge gained in various classes and shared experiences to date in a student’s life. Senior thesis also introduces the student to a reallife scientific problem. Senior Thesis preparation follows the typical lifespan of a research project and consists of three separate segments: 1) development of the research proposal, 2) execution of the research plan, with field and/or laboratory analyses, and 3) communication of results.
Sequence of Classes
Students will progress through the sequence of classes numbered: Geol 487 Research I, Geol 488 Research II, and Geol 494 Senior Thesis. Some of these classes may be taken concurrently depending on the type of research that is proposed. Therefore the full series typically requires two to three semesters to complete. We recommend, however, that a student should begin thinking early about their interests in a research project. Note, also Geol 356 (Geoscience Lectures), Geol 421 (Seminar I), and Geol 422 (Seminar II) should run concurrently with the research program.
It is recommended that the student start planning his/her research on year two and sign up for Geol 487 Research I in his/her third year of studies. The first task for the student is to consider a research problem. This should go hand-in-hand with contacting potential advisors (mentors) and discussing ideas and approaches. The Senior Thesis advisor is usually a faculty member from within the School of Geology & Geological Engineering. Contact potential advisors early and often to discuss your ideas for a good project.
A tentative research adviser must be selected before a class entry code is granted. No later than six weeks into the semester have your research topic worked out with your official research advisor. Turn in a one page typewritten description of the project at that time.
Be sure to visit regularly with your advisor. Typically, meet once a week or twice a month to review that your progress is adequate.
The feasibility review describes what methods you plan to use and provides some assurance that the methods you choose will actually work.
Turn in a completed draft of your research proposal no later than two weeks before the last day of classes. This should be about 510 typewritten double-spaced pages, font Arial 10 points or comparable, 1inch margins on all sides. Figures, maps, tables, etc. do not count towards the number of pages. The research proposal should have the following parts:
Title - brief and to the point
Introduction - What is the problem you will address or question you plan to answer? Why is it important? Why should others care? What are your multiple-working hypotheses (see Chamberlin, 1890)
Previous Research - What is the state of knowledge on this problem, both indirect and direct? Describe the work that others have carried out that bears directly on the problem you plan to address. Briefly summarize the gap in knowledge that you will explore.
Methods - Provide an overview of the methods you plan to employ, and then go into each step in detail. Provide a time line when will each part of the work you plan be completed? Are there contingency plans? What will happen if the methods do not work as well as you hoped)? How much will it cost and how will it be funded?
Anticipated Results - What are the probable results based on current understanding of the system? How will the results be presented (text, figures, tables, appendices, etc.)?
List of References - Make sure that all references cited in the text are included and none others. Pay strict attention to citation style. Use citation style of any high quality scientific journal such as Geology, Journal of Hydrology, Quaternary Research, Journal of Geophysical Research, etc., but be consistent.
Typically, your draft will be read by your advisor and returned to you for improvement one or more times. The final draft, with all comments and problems satisfactorily addressed, must be turned in to your advisor no later than the last day of classes.
An Oral Presentation of your proposal will be required as part of Seminar I (Geol. 421). Please provide your advisor with the scheduled date and time as early as possible, but no later than one week before the presentation. Plan on one or more practice sessions with your advisor.
Fail: No apparent logic or coherence in research plan, and/or the scope of research either too small or too large, and/or impossible to obtain the planned results, and/or missing literature review, and/or wrong formatting, and/or missing sections, and/or failure to improve the indicated shortcomings in writing or logic.
Satisfactory: Otherwise excellent proposal but some gaps in logic, and/or incoherent style of research plan, and/or some sections missing critical information, and/or many factual errors or missing references, and/or some inconsistencies in formatting.
Excellent: Clear scientific logic, plausible research plan of correct scope, coherent easy to follow writing style, all sections fully documented, and perfect formatting and references.
Be sure to begin early! If you are enrolled in Geo 488, plan to turn in a written report of your results no later than two weeks before the last day of classes. This report will be the basis for the methods and results section of your thesis (see below).
Fail: No original research done, and/or substantial omissions or deviations from the research plan, and/or missing documentation of the results and analysis.
Satisfactory: Otherwise excellent adherence to the research plan but with significant gaps, and/or failure to reach or fully document the results, and/or failure to adapt the plan in light of new findings.
Excellent: Close adherence to the research plan, flexibility in adapting the project to emerging challenges, and conclusions reached and fully documented.
No later than four weeks before the last day of classes, turn in a completed draft of your senior thesis. Note that much of it can be adapted from your proposal. The final paper should be 815 typewritten, double-spaced pages, font Arial 10 points or comparable, 1 inch margins on all sides. All figures, maps, tables, etc. are excluded from the page requirement. Here is an outline of the essential parts:
Title - brief and to the point
Abstract - A 250 word or less summary of your thesis. It should include a sentence or two on each part that follows.
Introduction - What is the problem you will address or question you plan to answer? Why is it important? Why should others care? What are your multiple-working hypotheses (see Chamberlain, 1890)?
Previous Research - What is our current understanding of the problem being addressed? Describe the work that others have carried out that relates to the problem you addressed. Briefly summarize the gap in knowledge that you explored.
Methods - Provide an overview of the methods you used and then go into each step in detail. Provide sufficient detail to allow someone else to replicate your work.
Results - What answers did you find? How did the results address the question or hypothesis you presented? Present the results clearly and concisely using text, figures, tables, and appendices.
Discussion - How do your results relate to the work that others have done? Explain the answer to the question you posed.
Conclusions - Summarize your findings.
List of References - Make sure that all references cited in the text are included and none others. Pay strict attention to citation style; Use citation style of any high quality scientific journal such as Geology, Journal of Hydrology, Quaternary Research, Journal of Geophysical Research.
Typically, your draft will be read by your advisor and returned to you for improvement one or more times. The final draft, with all comments and problems satisfactorily addressed, must be turned in no later than the last day of classes. The final accepted copy of your Senior Thesis is to be provided in PDF format to the department computer administrator for posting on the department web page.
An Oral Presentation will also be required as part of Seminar II (Geol. 422). Please provide your Senior Thesis advisor with the scheduled date and time as early as possible, but no later than one week before the presentation. Plan on one or more practice sessions with your Senior Thesis advisor.
Fail: No apparent logic or coherence in thesis, and/or the scope of the thesis is either too small or too large, and/or missing results, and/or missing literature review, and/or wrong formatting, and/or missing sections, and/or failure to improve the indicated substantial shortcomings in writing or logic.
Satisfactory: Otherwise excellent thesis but some gaps in logic, and/or incoherent style of the thesis, and/or some sections missing critical information, and/or many factual errors or missing references, and/or some inconsistencies in formatting.
Excellent: Clear scientific logic, well executed and documented research project of correct scope, coherent easy to follow writing style, all sections fully documented, and perfect formatting and references.