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 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 undergraduate students to begin accumulating credits toward the completion of a Master of Science in earth science (non-thesis) degree while completing a bachelor's degree.
  • Earth science

    This flexible degree is for students wanting to gain geoscience expertise outside of core geology. Students interested in conservation, parks and planning, science journalism, policy, economics, engineering, communications and business consider this for a second major.
  • Earth science education

    Focuses on secondary earth science courses such as geology, meteorology, astronomy and oceanography. Earth science is an expanding area of study in many schools.
  • Geochemistry

    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. This degree provides a strong foundation where you will obtain knowledge of the composition and chemical behavior of rocks, soils and pollutants. 
  • Geology

    This traditional curriculum focuses on the study of rocks and minerals, petrologic relationships, rock-forming processes and field methods in the earth sciences. 
  • Geophysics

    Focuses on geophysical theory, methods applied in earth sciences, solid earth geophysics, seismology, paleomagnetics and heat flow. Many aspects of resource exploration, surveying, site assessment and monitoring require expertise in geophysics.
  • Hydrogeology

    Focuses on applied hydrology, geology, landform development, fate and transport of contamination in the subsurface, flood management, water resources, water use sustainability, water quality and construction planning. This program emphasizes developing practical expertise in instrumentation, field methods, monitoring and water flow in natural environments as well as engineered systems.
  • Secondary integrated science education

    Focuses on preparing students to teach science as integrated content in middle and high school (grades 6-12). This program is only available as a second major, and requires a first major in biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics secondary education.


The following major will no longer be accepting new students effective fall 2019


  • Earth science

    An interdisciplinary, flexible course if you would like to broaden your earth and environmental understanding. You can select earth science and related courses. Effective spring 2020, the earth science minor will be available online!
  • Geology

    Designed as a supporting minor if you are preparing to do professional work in other science fields. This minor cannot be combined with earth science as a major-minor or double minor. A student may design a geology minor for specific needs.
  • Group science for geology majors

    Designed for geosciences majors not electing mathematics, chemistry, physics or biology minor.


  • Hydrogeology

    For students interested in learning how to collect environmental field data, water and sediment sampling techniques, the principles and practices of near-surface geophysics, drilling and water well installation methods, environmental assessment and hydrogeologic measurement techniques, field geochemistry, scientific writing, data presentation, data analysis and problem-solving skills.
  • UAVs Applications

    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). 


  • 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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