Earth Science Education Major

As an earth science education major, you will learn basic principles of how the Earth and other planets work. You will gain an understanding of our planet’s place in the solar system and universe, materials of the Earth’s surface and deep interior, the fossil record and past life on Earth, the forces shaping our landscape, the role of water on our planet, earth processes that support all life and how our climate is rapidly changing. While learning earth science content, you will also learn about the history, philosophy and policies of teaching in the American school system. Furthermore, you will explore the psychology and development of children and young adults. You will have opportunities to shadow experienced teachers and observe their classrooms, to learn how to develop and teach lessons and how to design, implement and assess instruction. The program culminates with a semester-long internship in which you teach earth science in a local school under the supervision of a mentor. This program prepares you for the Michigan DH (Earth/Space Science) endorsement, allowing you to teach earth science, environmental science, astronomy, climate science and oceanography in grades 6-12.      

You should major in earth science education if...

  • You are interested in science subjects such as astronomy, climate and weather, minerals and rocks, fossils, landforms, oceans and river systems or the environment.
  • You want to inspire children or other adults to learn about these subjects.
  • You want a career teaching earth and space science subjects in middle or high school.
  • You want to add secondary integrated science education as a second major to enhance your portfolio on the job market.
  • You have a first major in biology, chemistry, physics, or math education and are looking to complement this with another science.

Program overview

The earth science education major will introduce you to basic areas of earth science including geology, hydrology, oceanography, atmospheric science, climate science and astronomy. Basic coursework in math, physics and chemistry supports the classes you take in this program. While completing the science content classes, you will also take classes in education theory and policy, development of children and design and implementation of instruction. You will work with practicing teachers in middle or high school classrooms throughout this program.

  • Program requirements: To learn more about specific program requirements, consult the 2019-20 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 geological and environmental sciences 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.

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 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.
  • 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).


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

  • Departmental major or second major advising: Unsure which teaching major is right for you? Curious about job opportunities for earth or integrated science teachers? 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 advisor, Dr. Peter Voice.
  • College of Education and Human Development advising: Have a question about general education or graduation requirements? Have a question about your education courses, pre-internship, or internship? Take advantage of COEHD undergraduate advising drop-in hours or make an appointment.


What's next?

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