Certificate Program in Hydrogeology

As a student in the certificate program in hydrogeology at Western Michigan University, you will gain the field, technical and analytical skills that prepare you for successful careers in hydro- and environmental geology. Students will learn the principles and practices of aquifer testing and analysis, contaminant transport and remediation, drilling and water well design, installation and development and near-surface geophysics. Students will also practice water, soil, gas and sediment sampling, field geochemistry, scientific writing, proper data collection, field documentation, scientific presentation and analysis. Through a combination of online academic year and in-person summer field courses, students will gain knowledge as well as the ability to carry out relevant field techniques and develop technical and problem-solving skills.

During your program, you will learn how to design an investigation, collect and analyze your own data, form interpretations and share your results with peers, faculty and members of the geosciences community. Trained environmental professionals are needed to solve problems concerning drinking water supplies, wastewater treatment, water resources availability, subsurface contaminant transport, water quality and quality assessment, the effects of climate and land-use change on water and wetland resources and many other environmental issues. This program provides the specialized knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills necessary to succeed as a trained environmental professional. Graduates of this program have attained positions in state and federal government agencies, non-profit agencies and environmental and geotechnical consulting firms.


  • You want to specialize or expand your skill set into hydro- and/or environmental geology.
  • You are seeking a manageable post-graduate program that includes theoretical, laboratory and field training and technical skills that will prepare you to be a marketable entry-level geologist, hydrogeologist or environmental scientist.
  • You are currently employed with a non-profit, regulatory or consulting group but desire to learn the technical and field aspects of environmental geology and hydrogeology through hands-on training.
  • You are interested in a career in geosciences working in a state or federal agency, non-government organization, environmental or geotechnical consulting firm.


Employment options for holders of a certificate in hydrogeology are numerous. Graduates seek employment with state and federal government agencies, private consulting firms, non-profit organizations and educational services. Employment opportunities may include work dealing with: environmental consulting, environmental regulations, hydrogeologic investigation, wetland mitigation, flood prediction, pollution abatement and hazardous waste remediation and environmental geochemistry. Some specific careers available to those with certificates in hydrogeology are:

  • Geologist*, hydrogeologist
  • Teacher*, educational consultant or museum educator
  • Manager or mid-level consultant
  • Environmental technician, scientist and specialist
  • Environmental regulator

*Some positions require additional licensure not provided as part of this program. For more career information, contact your faculty advisor (listed below) and visit the Career Guidance and Alumni Spotlight pages.


  • Application requirements: Learn more about specific application requirements.

  • Program requirements: To learn more about specific program requirements, consult the 2020-21 graduate catalog or the 2020-21 undergraduate catalog.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Find answers to the most frequently asked questions pertaining to the certificate program.
  • Program design: Our students have 20 to 40 percent classroom/laboratory education with a 60 to 80 percent focus on research. Students will gain experience through attending dynamic lectures, performing laboratory research in our state of the art facilities and applying their knowledge in hands-on field courses. Our programs are designed for national and international students coming from diverse scientific backgrounds with a variety of career goals—from industry to academia.
  • 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 Geological and Environmental Sciences 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.

  • 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 Geological and Environmental Sciences.
  • Recent student achievements: Read about the accomplishments of our current students.
  • Alumni spotlight: Read about where our students find careers after graduating.


  • 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).


  • Academic advising: Confused about which classes to take, how to meet program requirements or what your progress is towards certificate completion? Confused about Graduate College forms or deadlines? All of these questions can be discussed with your faculty advisor, Dr. Dan Cassidy.