Congratulations to our recent graduate Dr. Racha El Kadiri, on receiving the All-University Graduate Research and Creative Scholar Awards from the Graduate College; we are proud of you!

Further congratulations go to Jake Tholen, a hydrogeology major, who was given an honorable mention by The Goldwater Scholarship foundation this year!

Accelerating your geosciences education

A new geoscience degree program is in the works—an accelerated graduate degree program in geosciences. 

What is an accelerated graduate program?  In this case, it allows students who are enrolled as undergraduate geoscience majors to begin earning credits towards a Master of Arts in earth science. 

Did you know that all students can apply as many as 6 credits of their undergraduate program towards any of our graduate degrees?  As long as these are classes at the 4000 or 5000-level and for which you earned a B or better, this is true.  When this new program begins, it will allow students to include an additional 6 credits of 5000-level classes to be counted towards their graduate program. Is there a catch?  Of course there is.  You have to actually sign up for the program in your senior year (the program is not retroactive) and you need to earn a B or better in those classes.  Discuss the program with your advisor.

Why might you want to get an M.A. in earth science?  The bottom line is that most geoscientists who work in the private sector have a master’s degree.  Some have an M.A., some have an M.S., a few have a Ph.D., and a few are working with a B.S. or B.A. degree.  But that extra year or year-and-a-half of education (more like two to three years if you do not participate in an accelerated program or you choose to do our M.S. program) is likely to make all the difference in your ability to get a job and your trajectory towards promotions and a higher salary during your career.  This new program starts in fall 2016, so if you are in your sophomore or junior year and considering a career in the geosciences, please talk to your advisor to see if this program is the right fit for you.


The Geochemical Society is pleased to announce that Prof. Carla Koretsky, Dean of the Lee Honors College and Professor of Geosciences at Western Michigan University, will be awarded the Geochemical Society’s Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes and documents outstanding service to the Geochemical Society and/or the geochemical community that greatly exceeds the normal expectations of voluntary service to the Society. Read more.

WMU Geoscientists used GRACE to examine the water availability in Africa’s hydrologic systems. Results indicated that warming of the tropical Atlantic Ocean is intensifying Atlantic monsoons and increasing precipitation and total water storage over western and central Africa, whereas the warming in the central Indian Ocean is disrupting onshore moisture transport, causing droughts, and decreasing precipitation. Results of this work were published in Earth-Sciences Reviews.

WMU Geoscientists contributed to generating new global sea-level estimates with a peak of ~22 m higher than present for the Pliocene interval 2.7–3.2 Ma. The new estimates imply loss of the equivalent of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, and some volume loss from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and address the long-standing controversy concerning the Pliocene stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Results are published in Geology.

The National Groundwater Association is awarding Dr. W. Richard Laton alumnus of the Geosciences Department of Western Michigan University, for his outstanding service. He is currently developing a geological and hydrogeological conceptual model of the Malibu Valley Groundwater Basin. In addition, his students are researching the groundwater and geology of the campus, utilizing the research wells at the Fullerton Arboretum and on the northern portion of campus. More...

WMU Geoscientists develop methodologies and tools using remote sensing, ground sensors, and artificial intelligence techniques to characterize the spatial and temporal conditions that control debris flow occurrences and forecast their distribution on a regional scale. Results are published in IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing.


Check out the latest issue of the newsletter from the Department of Geosciences. More...


Undergraduate applicationMajor in geociences and receive a strong foundation in traditional geology as well as broad instruction in multi-disciplinary geosciences. Programs include the study of geology, geophysics, geochemistry, hydrogeology and earth science. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in research and internship experiences. Majors gain extensive hands-on field and laboratory experience to produce both a practical and theoretical understanding of geosciences. 

Graduate applicationFurther your expertise in the field with a geosciences graduate degree; an advanced degree is the key to building a rewarding and challenging future.