Geochemistry Major

As a geochemistry major, you will learn to apply the principles of chemistry and geology to the study of the Earth. The geochemistry major focuses on chemical principles, reactions, geologic problems, environmental contamination, pollution, site assessment, remediation, water quality, pollution monitoring, climate change, soils, resource exploration and the health effects of minerals. Geochemistry graduates will have the skills to address issues ranging from water resources to issues of pollution and remediation. With a degree in geochemistry, students can choose to do graduate study in either chemistry or in geology.

You should major in geochemistry if...

  • You are fascinated by the Earth and skilled in chemistry and mathematics.
  • You are interested in groundwater, chemical-rock interactions or economic minerals.
  • You are considering going on to graduate-level studies in geosciences.

Program overview

The geochemistry major will train you in the broad spectrum of both the geosciences and chemistry, as well as foundational mathematics, physics and biology. It is a challenging curriculum that does not require a minor. After completing the required foundation courses, you may choose electives to suit your specific areas of interest. For example, you will have the opportunity to study various areas, from hydrogeology to remote sensing, and from physical chemistry to biochemistry.

  • Program requirements: To learn more about specific program requirements, consult the 2016-17 undergraduate catalog.
  • Course listings: To see which courses will be offered when, check out the WMU course listings. You can also read course descriptions for geosciences classes here.
  • Professional development: Students in the Department of Geosciences are encouraged to gain valuable professional, research and field experience through joining our highly active student organizations: Geology Club, Student Chapter of American Institute for Professional Geologists, Student Chapter of American Associate of Petroleum Geologists and the Student Chapter of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

Careers

Employment options for holders of a bachelor of science in geochemistry include entry-level positions in the environmental assessment industry. Employment in the petroleum industry during boom years is also possible. Graduates are well prepared for graduate work in either chemistry or geosciences. Once a master’s-level degree is obtained, many jobs open up. Environmental firms and petroleum exploration firms are likely employers. Government employment at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or the U.S. Geological Survey is possible. For students with master’s or doctoral degrees, employment in similar state agencies around the country are available as well.  For more career information, contact your faculty advisor Dr. Duane Hampton (listed below) and visit the Career Guidance and Alumni Spotlight pages.

Graduate study options

  • Accelerated Master of Arts in earth science: The accelerated graduate degree program allows undergraduate students to begin accumulating credits toward the completion of a Master of Arts in earth science degree while completing this bachelor's degree.
  • Graduate programs: The Department of Geosciences offers three graduate degree programs (MA, MS, PhD) and a graduate certificate program in applied hydrogeology. 

Our students

  • Meet our students:Watch video interviews featuring undergraduate and graduate students from a wide variety of personal and educational backgrounds discussing their experiences in the Department of Geosciences.
  • Recent student achievements:Read about the accomplishments of our current students.
  • Alumni spotlight:Read about where our students find careers after graduating.

Associated Faculty

  • Faculty directory: Learn about our faculty members' professional and academic backgrounds, their teaching and research interests and publishing history.
  • Faculty and staff research specialties: Learn about each faculty and staff members' unique research interests (links to laboratories are also provided here).

Advising

The College of Arts and Sciences has a two-tiered advising system for undergraduates. Please consult your departmental and college advisors regularly to ensure that academic requirements are met.

  • Major and minor advising: Unsure which geosciences major/minor is right for you? Curious about job opportunities for geochemistry majors? Contact Dr. Duane Hampton, our prospective undergraduate adviser and career adviser, to set up an appointment. Confused about which classes to take, how to enroll in classes or want to know your progress towards graduation? All of these questions can be discussed with your undergraduate faculty adviser, Dr. Michelle Kominz.
  • College of Arts and Sciences advising: Have a question about general education or graduate requirements? Take advantage of CAS undergraduate advising drop-in hours or make an appointment.

Resources

What's Next?

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