Certificate Program in UAVs Applications in Geological and Environmental Sciences

The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences jointly with the College of Aviation (COA) at Western Michigan University is offering a nine credit hour certificate in the geological and environmental applications of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The certificate program provides a comprehensive understanding of the available geophysical and remote sensing sensors mounted on UAVs, and training on the acquisition of the UAV observation and their applications in addressing geological and environmental problems of interest such as mapping of environmental hazards (e.g., algal bloom distribution, contaminant releases, flood assessment, landslides, fire and volcano monitoring), and mapping of natural resources (water, mineral, forestry, vegetation intensity and type, and wildlife). Two online courses will be taught in Geological and Environmental Sciences each for two credit hours, one in remote sensing fundamentals, methods, and applications in geological and environmental sciences, and the second in geophysics fundamentals, methods, and applications in geological and environmental sciences. An additional two credit hour course will be taught as a face-to face course on the acquisition, download, processing, and analysis of UAV datasets in the department. One three credit hour hybrid course will be taught by the COA; the course will provide an introduction to unmanned aerial systems, operations, Federal Aviation Administration regulations, fundamentals of flight and weather, and preparation for the FAA UAS knowledge examination. All classes will be offered during summer sessions.


  • GEOS 5700 - UAV's: Geophysical Applications 
    Credits: 2 hours,
  • GEOS 5710 - UAV's: Geology and Environment 
    Credits: 2 hours,
  • GEOS 5720 - UAV's: Geophysics and RS Lab 
    Credits: 2 hours,
  • AVS 5300 - Unmanned Aerial Systems I 
    Credits: 3 hours,

  • 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.



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