Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Western Michigan University offers major and minor programs in several branches of geological and environmental sciences to build a strong foundation in your area of interest. These degrees are designed to provide valuable professional development, prepare you for entry-level jobs and fulfilling careers in industry, government, non-profit organizations, and academia, and to prepare you for graduate study, if you choose to pursue it.


  • Accelerated Master of Science in Earth Science (non-thesis)

    The accelerated graduate degree program allows you to begin accumulating credits toward the completion of a Master of Science in Earth Science (non-thesis) degree while completing your bachelor's degree. The program can reduce your time and cost of obtaining a Masters degree by a full year.
  • Earth Science (and Earth Science Teaching)

    This program provides a broad introduction to multiple topics in the earth sciences. It has two tracks - the general track is appropriate if you have interest in careers that utilize non-technical knowledge of earth processes, such as positions in state and federal parks, planning agencies, law firms or policy. Pursue the teaching track if you are planning a career as a middle or high school (grade 7-12) earth and space science teacher.
  • Environmental Geology

    In this program, a traditional curriculum in geology provides the foundation for electives and more advanced coursework that focuses on understanding the importance of geosciences to society and the interrelatedness of humans and the earth. This program is a good choice if you are interested in a career in government regulatory agencies, non-profit organizations, and environmental geosciences and sustainability.
  • Geochemistry

    This unique program provides foundational knowledge in both chemistry and geology, with applications to understanding the properties of rocks and minerals, soil, and environmental contaminants. The program will lead you to careers in critical mineral and energy exploration, environmental remediation, pollution monitoring, and climate change. 
  • Geology

    This traditional curriculum focuses on the study of rocks and minerals, earth history, subsurface geology, mapping, and landforms. It is a good choice if you are interested in careers in the energy and critical mineral exploration industries, geotechnical or environmental industries, or government regulation. This program is also a strong foundation for pursuing graduate study in many geoscience fields.    
  • Geophysics

    This unique program provides foundational knowledge in both physics and geology, with applications to exploring the shallow subsurface. The program focuses on application of ground-based and airborne geophysical methods to resource exploration, surveying, site assessment, and environmental monitoring. If you have a strong quantitative background, it can prepare you for careers in geotechnical, surveying, exploration, or environmental industries.
  • Hydrogeology

    This program blends a core set of geology courses with advanced coursework in applied hydrology, with an emphasis on developing practical expertise in instrumentation, modeling, field methods, contaminant monitoring, and water flow in natural environments as well as engineered systems. It is a good fit if you have a strong quantitative background and interest in working in the groundwater use, extraction, and protection industries as well as in government regulatory agencies. 
  • Integrated Science

    This program will prepare you to teach science as integrated content in middle and high school (grades 7-12). It is only available as a second major, and requires a first major in biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics. This program does not lead to initial certification, but does lead to an accelerated post-graduate certification program. 


  • Earth science

    This interdisciplinary, flexible program is a good fit if you would like to broaden your earth and environmental understanding. It can include both earth science and related courses. This program cannot be combined with any other major or minor in our department. The earth science minor can be completed online!
  • Geology

    This program is designed as a supporting minor if you are preparing to do professional work in other science fields. This minor cannot be combined with any other major or minor in our department. 
  • Group science for geology majors

    This program is a combination of coursework across multiple sciences. It is designed for geosciences majors who are not electing a minor in either mathematics, chemistry, physics or biology.


  • Hydrogeology

    This hands-on program is designed for students interested in learning how to collect and analyze environmental field data. It can be added on to any other geoscience major or minor.


  • After you have been admitted, schedule an appointment with a program advisor to fill out a major or minor form for official enrollment.

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