Geology Rocks

Do you want a hands-on career studying the amazing natural processes at work on our planet? At SMCC, “Geology Rocks”! Come explore all the Earth has to offer from the Geosciences courses.

You will learn our history from Big Bang until present, identify rocks and minerals, survive natural and environmental disasters, or investigate strategies for managing Earth’s natural resources for future generations.

The Geosciences department offers an Associates in Science, Emphasis in Geology and a Sustainability Certificate of Completion.

All geology and sustainability courses are offered online or through a hybrid modality for student convenience and flexibility by a dedicated and passionate faculty.

Take a course in the Geosciences this term, and dive into Earth’s 4.55 billion-year saga!

Geology Degrees & Certificates at SMCC

Courses & Instructors


GLG101IN: Introduction to Geology—I Physical Geology

Course Description:
A study of the kind and arrangement of materials composing the earth's crust and the geological processes at work on and within the earth's surface. Students must sign up for the corresponding lab.
4 Credits + Lab Gen Ed Transfer: SQ Format: Online and Hybrid

From the Instructor:
Investigate the fundamentals of geosciences by exploring the processes that continuously reshape the surface of our planet over billions of years. Learn to identify minerals and the three different rock types. Apply critical thinking to discover the interconnectedness of Earth’s building blocks and geologic processes such as volcanism, earthquakes, and plate tectonics. 

GLG102IN: Introduction to Geology—II Historical Geology

Course Description:
Outlines the origin and history of the earth with emphasis on North America--its dynamic, geographic, and climatic changes; animals and plants of the past; the evolution of life. Students must sign up for the corresponding lab.
4 Credits with Lab, Gen Ed Transfer: H, SG, Format: Online and Hybrid

From the Instructor: 
Explore the saga that is Earth’s 4.55 billion-year history! From the origin of Earth in the Solar System to the appearance of mankind, you will study the exciting events of the Earth’s geologic record. Highlights include the origins of life, the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, mass extinctions, and massive mammals! After taking this course, you will better understand the chain of events that have led to different forms of life on this planet that have ultimately led us to the present.

GLG105: Introduction to Planetary Sciences

Course Description:
A survey of solar system objects and their geologic evolution, surfaces, interiors, and atmospheres, and the methods used to study them. Includes a weekly laboratory for data analysis and experiments.
4 Credits, Gen Ed Transfer: SG , Format: Online

From the Instructor: 
Embark on a tour of our Solar System from the Sun to the outer reaches of the Kuiper Belt! Every week, you will investigate a new object in the Solar System and evaluate data collected from current and past missions beyond our Earth. After this class, you will be able to describe the physical properties of our Solar System, its Sun, planets, and moons in-depth, and mankind’s approach to space exploration.

GLG106: Life in the Universe

Course Description:
Introduction to the search for life in the universe for the non-science major. Earth's location in space and time, nature of life, light and the spectrum, origin and history of the universe, origin of life on Earth and the possibility of life on other planets. 4 Credits, Gen Ed Transfer: SQ, Format: Online 

From the Instructor: 
Explore the Universe with the science of astrobiology! You will investigate the origin and organization of the Universe and discover the conditions necessary for life to form on Earth and on other worlds!

GLG110IN: Geological Disasters and the Environment

Course Description:
Acquaints students with the use and importance of geological studies as they apply to the interactions between people and the earth. Includes geological processes and hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and landslides & examines environmental impact.
4 Credits with Lab, Gen Ed Transfer: G, SG, Format: Online

From the Instructor: 
Investigate the hazards and disasters that continuously impact society and reshape our planet! Learn how geologic hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and landslides occur and strategies to survive them. Examine deadly weather, sea level rise, and environmental pollution and their effects on human populations.

Environmental Sciences

ENV101: Introduction to Environmental Sciences

Course Description
Interdisciplinary analyses of interactions among living and non-living environmental components, focusing on human influences. Scientific methods of investigating and solving environmental problems are introduced.
4 Credits Gen Ed Transfer: SG Format: Online 


SUS110: Sustainable World

Course Description:  
Introduction to the field of sustainability and exploration of the interaction between human and natural global systems. Framework for analyzing and investigating the global challenges such as land use change, competition for water and other natural resources, and renewable energy concerns and crises. 
3 Credits Gen Ed Transfer: SB Format: Online 

SSH111: Sustainable Cities

Course Description:
  Introduction to the field of sustainability and exploration of the practices leading to the development of sustainable cities. Explores the concept of sustainable development of cities within local, regional, and global contexts.  
3 Credits Gen Ed Transfer: G, Hu, SB Format: Online 

Dr. Sian Proctor

Dr. Sian Proctor is a geoscientist, explorer, space artist, and astronaut. She was the mission pilot for the SpaceX Inspiration4 all-civilian orbital mission. She is the first black female to pilot a spacecraft and the first black commercial astronaut. She is also one of The Explorer’s Club 50: Fifty People Changing the World. Her motto is called Space2inspire where she encourages people to use their unique, one-of-a-kind strengths, and passion to inspire those within their reach and beyond. She believes that we need to actively strive for a J.E.D.I. space: a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive space as we advance human spaceflight.

She uses her Afrofuturism space art to encourage conversations about women of color in the space industry. She believes that when we solve for space, we also solve issues on Earth and she promotes the adoption of space technology to issues such as food waste and climate change.

Dr. Proctor spent over 20 years as a professor teaching geology, sustainability, and planetary science at South Mountain Community College, in Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently the director of the Global Futures Institute for the Maricopa Community College District

Dr. Charlene Estrada

I have loved geosciences since I can remember! As a toddler, I would collect rocks and play in my mother's rock garden, and I knew way too much about our Solar System by age 10. I became a Geosciences major at the University of Arizona, where I earned my Bachelor's Degree in 2009. I then earned a Master's (2011) and Ph.D. in Earth & Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, where I studied how rock/mineral surfaces might play a role in the origins of life on our planet! I have carried out several postdoctoral studies in astrobiology, geochemistry, and paleontology at the University of Akron, the Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution for Science, and Arizona State University. I am thrilled to share what I have learned as your instructor!

Shaun Willson

With academic backgrounds in both finance and ecology, I have been an environmental biologist and lecturer in sustainability for 25 years. Most of my career has been specifically devoted to alternative teaching strategies, primarily online course delivery, design, and review.  I have taught over 200 sections of online courses for institutions public and private, and designed and reviewed dozens more. Meanwhile, I explored the boundaries of the online platform by “flipping the instructor”, administering courses from far afield while ground-truthing environmental issues. I am continuously experimenting with low footprint lifestyles, such as living off-grid or traveling by human power. I have learned much from experiences in simpler societies. It has been quite an adventure, and I am grateful to share it with my students. I spend my “spare” time outdoors, mostly running and trekking trails across high, remote, and otherwise wild places, and working to inspire challenged individuals to overcome their difficult circumstances.

Wael Hassinan

My name is Wael, and it sounds like the letters Y & L. I currently live in Phoenix, Arizona. I have worked for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality since 1993 as a hydrologist/Geologist. My wife is on active duty, and we have three kids who have enjoyed the great care and generosity within the Air Luke Base. My job involves the investigation and remediation of contaminated groundwater for the federal and state "Superfund" sites. I have been an on-ground and Online instructor since 1989, teaching Science and Math courses for various universities. In 1992, I received my Master's degree in Geology with a minor in Environmental Engineering from Rutgers University in New Jersey. During my graduate work, I taught Earth Science courses as a teaching assistant.

Contact Information:

Charlene Estrada
Geology Instructor
Office Location: NCC-106C