Points of Pride

The Department of Geosciences at Western Michigan University is one of the oldest existing programs of its kind in the United States. Since our department's inception in 1965, we have continually taken pride in our field, our department and our students for the reasons listed below.

The field of geosciences is…

  • One of the most actively recruited disciplines with the highest earned income in all of the STEM fields. Successful students have exciting and innovative employment opportunities in the oil industry, remote sensing, hydrogeology, environmental studies, climatology and other Earth science disciplines.
  • The most interdisciplinary educational and research experience in the STEM fields. In the geosciences, students gain experience in physics, chemistry, mathematics and engineering. This exposure opens up more opportunities for graduates. For example, geochemistry majors are both chemists and geologists; hydrogeologists are trained in geology as well as modeling (geological engineering) and geophysics students know both geology and physics.

In the Department of Geosciences at WMU...

  • Our innovative course offerings encompass one of the strongest hydrogeology and remote sensing programs in the nation.
  • Field and laboratory training involves learning to work with state-of-the-art geophysical, environmental and surveying equipment, in addition to cutting-edge numerical and imaging tools that match the highest standards of the industry.
  • We understand that the geosciences are a dynamic and constantly evolving field. We have added exciting new curricula including insights into space exploration, planetary sciences and airborne geophysics in order to give students the tools they will need to enter their chosen field.
  • We emphasize understanding the fundamentals of the geosciences and their application in real fieldwork cases. We accomplish this through our numerous and diversified field experiences that increase student readiness and prepare students to transition to future employment immediately, bypassing months of on-the-job training.
  • Graduate programs have a seamless transition between M.A., M.S. or Ph.D. Students can scale their degree as they successfully complete each step. Our new Accelerated M.A. in Earth Sciences program now allows upper-level undergraduates to transition to our M.A. program as well.
  • We provide a highly supportive environment for all of our students. Our passionate and experienced faculty members work closely with students and advisees in order to provide feedback and assistance.
  • We offer a variety of disciplines which allow students to choose their area of interest. For example:
    Petroleum studies: Over the next ten years, the oil industry will experience large economic growth. Our students work on sites across Michigan studying sub-surface data sets and receiving hands-on training. WMU graduates have gone on to become CEOs and other high-ranking members in the oil industry.
    Hydrogeology: Half of our faculty provide training on subjects relating to hydrogeology, including geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, modeling, geophysics and remote sensing. WMU has one of the highest reputed hydrogeology field courses in the country; each year, students from around the world attend our six-week course where they learn skills that win them jobs immediately upon graduation. Because of this, we have also added a Certificate Program in Applied Hydrogeology to our catalog of academic programs.
    Geophysics: Graduates who study geophysics gain exposure to physics, mathematics and environmental science and often work for extraction industries and environmental companies.

Our Students...

  • Explore humanity’s most precious asset, our planet, through diverse and exciting courses on today’s most challenging questions regarding water, energy, climate, natural hazards and space exploration.
  • Participate in research projects around the world, including Asia, South America, the Middle East and the United States. Travel for these projects is often funded by state or federal grants.
  • Present papers at national conferences where they meet peers in their field and learn about the newest discoveries in geosciences.
  • Have the potential to participate in national and international joint internships and training through our collaborating networks of geoscience research institutes and companies.