Hydrogeology Major

As a hydrogeology major, you will learn to apply the principles of geology to the study of the water that flows through Earth. The hydrogeology major will focus on applied hydrology, geology, landform development, the fate and transport of contamination in the subsurface, flood management, water resources, water use and 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 in engineered systems. Hydrogeology graduates will have the skills to address issues ranging from water resources to issues of pollution and remediation. With a degree in hydrogeology, students can choose to pursue graduate studies or go directly into a career in the environmental industry.

You should major in hydrogeology if...

  • You are skilled in the sciences as well as mathematics.
  • You fascinated by practical aspects of how the earth works.
  • You are concerned with environmental issues and preventing and remediating contamination.
  • You are looking for employment immediately after graduation.
  • You are considering going on to graduate-level studies in geosciences.

Program overview

The hydrogeology major will train you in the broad spectrum of the geosciences and the foundational mathematics, chemistry and physics on which it is based. It is a challenging curriculum designed to provide the theoretical background and hands-on training required for employment in the environmental industry. After completing the required foundation courses, you may choose electives to suit your specific areas of interest. For example, you will have the opportunity to study various areas, from remediation to applied remote sensing.

  • 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 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.


Employment options for holders of a bachelor's in hydrogeology include entry-level positions in the environmental assessment industry. Employment in the petroleum industry during boom years is also possible. Graduates are well-prepared for graduate work in the geosciences. Environmental firms and petroleum exploration firms are likely employers. Government employment at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or the U.S. Geological Survey is possible. For students with master's or doctoral degrees, employment in similar state agencies around the country are also available. For more career information, contact faculty advisor, Dr. Duane Hampton (listed below) and visit the Career Guidance and Alumni Spotlight pages.

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).

Graduate study options

  • Accelerated Master of Science in earth science: The accelerated graduate degree program allows undergraduate students to begin accumulating credits toward the completion of a Master of Science in earth science degree while completing this bachelor's degree.
  • Graduate programs: The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences offers three graduate degree programs (M.S. in earth sciences (non-thesis), M.S. in geosciences, Ph.D. in geosciences) and a graduate certificate program in hydrogeology.


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

  • Major and minor advising: Unsure which geological and environmental sciences major/minor is right for you? Curious about job opportunities for hydrogeoloy majors? Contact Dr. Duane Hampton, our prospective undergraduate advisor and career advisor, to set up an appointment. 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. Michelle Kominz.
  • College of Arts and Sciences advising: Have a question about general education or graduate requirements? Take advantage of CAS undergraduate advising drop-in hours or make an appointment.


What's next?

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