The Department of Geosciences at Western Michigan University constitutes approximately 43,000 square feet (4,000 sq. meters) of facilities divided between three buildings across the university campus, in addition to the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education. Classroom instruction primarily takes place in Rood Hall; additional space exists in both Haenicke and Wood Halls for laboratory experiments. The Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education facility is the home of coring and subsurface sampling education.
Western Michigan University has a long legacy of specialized educators, dating back from its heritage as a Normal School during its’ early years from 1903 to 1930. This heritage of dedicated educators continues today; 20% of the Department of Geosciences’ faculty focuses on teaching and performing research related to improving educational methods in the geosciences. Teaching faculty work very closely with research faculty to develop new courses and continuously improve existing ones to match the highest requirements for nationally and internationally reputed geosciences programs. Our teaching style for undergraduate students is 60% focused on classroom instruction and 40% on hands-on applications with a diverse set of laboratory measurements and field courses. Graduate students have 20-40% classroom/laboratory education with a 60-80% focus on research. Our undergraduate and graduate degree programs are designed for national and international students coming from diverse scientific backgrounds with a variety of career goals—from industry to academia. Specialized help is offered to students needing assistance with their course work.
The moderate size of our department allows for one-to-one mentoring between students and faculty. It also promotes dedicated attention from our staff.
Wondering what geoscientists do and where do they work? Check out the American Geological Institute brochure, which answers these and other questions.
Our degrees prepare students for a variety of career paths:
- An undergraduate degree in geosciences prepares students for entry-level geosciences positions as well as preparing them for graduate school. WMU graduates in the geosciences hold positions in places such as government agencies, energy and natural resources companies, consulting firms, nonprofit organizations and academic institutions. Many WMU graduates pursue advanced degrees from other renowned universities as well.
- A master's degree in geosciences prepares students to advance into a wide range of career paths in fields where they can make a real, practical difference.
- A doctoral degree prepares students specifically for high-level and cutting-edge research in industry and academia.