Geology

Geology is a diverse discipline, incorporating aspects of physics, chemistry, biology and natural history in the attempt to solve earth-related problems. Geoscientists provide basic information to society for solving problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety, and welfare. 

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Geology is designed to provide students with a broad background in geology with advanced preparation in earth materials, structural geology, and tectonics. Completion of this program prepares students for a variety of careers in geology or graduate work in geology. The BS is recommended for students who are preparing to become professional geologists and intend to enter industry or enroll in a graduate program upon completion of the degree. 

The Geology Department has: 

  • Engaging award winning teachers who inspire students and instill modern active-learning pedagogies in their courses. 
  • Active scholars in diverse specialties that involve students in their research projects. 
  • Helpful staff that support the educational mission of the department and create a positive atmosphere for students. 
  • Excellent role models for women in science — 30% of faculty and 50% of undergraduate and MS graduate students are women that are actively engaged in teaching, research, and service. 
  • A reputable high-quality program that integrates unique field experiences and modern technology throughout the curriculum.

Western’s Geology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

“Our students graduate with many valuable skills and experiences, and leave Western for graduate school or for jobs in a variety of geoscience fields as professional geologists. There are many exciting opportunities for new students in our program, and the future demand for geoscientist will be significant.” –Bernie Housen, Faculty

 

“The geology program provided me with a really well-rounded education with great one-on-one teacher-student collaborations, a nice variety of subjects to study, and a strong friendship with fellow students.” –Margaret Pueringer, Student

Beyond the Classroom

The department is home to two active professional-society student chapters — the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) that offer professional development and networking opportunities outside the classroom.

“My professors and classmates have shown dedication to excellence in academics, which is something that I cannot appreciate more. I started a senior research project involving active tectonics in the Yakima/Ellensburg area. In the project we are measuring stream channels from LIDAR (light detection and ranging), to try and interpret the way in which Cleman Mountain (a mountain in the area) grew above the surrounding landscape.” –Tabor Reedy

Careers and Graduate Studies

Geology graduates are in high demand for jobs and graduate programs in Washington and across North America. Western’s Geology Department has the highest percentage of licensed geologists in Washington State than any other college or university in the state, and our students' success rate on the national geology fundamentals exam (required for geologists licensing) is 20% higher than the national average.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Natural Resources 
  • Oil Exploration 
  • Mining Geologist 
  • NASA 
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • Engineering Geologist

Geology

Geology is a diverse discipline, incorporating aspects of physics, chemistry, biology and natural history in the attempt to solve earth-related problems. Geoscientists provide basic information to society for solving problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety, and welfare. By applying knowledge of forces that shape the Earth, Geoscientists seek to reconstruct the past and anticipate the future.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Geology is designed for students who want to study geology, but who are not intending to work as professional geologists. This degree is appropriate for someone interested in pursuing a liberal arts education with a less rigorous course of study in Geology and supporting sciences than students in the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Thus, students are allowed more flexibility for additional courses that complement their goals. An accompanying minor in one of the sciences or in mathematics is recommended. 

The Geology Department has: 

  • Engaging award winning teachers who inspire students and instill modern active-learning pedagogies in their courses. 
  • Active scholars in diverse specialties that involve students in their research projects. 
  • Helpful staff that support the educational mission of the department and create a positive atmosphere for students. 
  • Excellent role models for women in science — 30% of faculty and 50% of undergraduate and graduate students are women that are actively engaged in teaching, research, and service. 
  • A reputable high-quality program that integrates unique field experiences and modern technology throughout the curriculum.

Western’s Geology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

“I am a Geology undergraduate [major] because I have a passion for science, the outdoors, and having a productive role in society. Geology is a diverse discipline that attempts to solve earth-related problems, and I love the variety of career options, high employment rates, and societal relevance in keeping communities safe, healthy, clean, and functional.” –Kaelin Newman, Student

Beyond the Classroom

The department is home to two active professional-society student chapters - the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) that offer professional development and networking opportunities outside the classroom.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Geology graduates are in high demand for jobs and graduate programs in Washington and across North America. Western’s Geology Department has a higher percentage of licensed geologists than any other college or university in Washington State, and our students' success rate on the national geology fundamentals exam (required for geologists licensing) is 20% higher than the national average.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Natural Resources 
  • Oil and Mining companies 
  • NASA 
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • U.S Army Corps of Engineers 
  • Explorations Geologist 
  • Museum Curator 
  • Climate Change Scientist 
  • Earthquake or Volcano Monitor 
  • Engineering Geologist

French—Elementary

The study of French includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students of French studies acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate French societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The French studies program is designed to help students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows students to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness and imparts skills to future foreign language teachers so that they may similarly enable elementary school students to begin the acquisition of foreign languages.

The French-Elementary degree satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in elementary education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in elementary education. See Elementary Education for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.

The Modern and Classical Language Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

Students can participate as facilitators in the WELP (Western Employee Language Program) program, which gives students first-hand experience teaching French to speakers of other languages, or get involved with the “On Parle” program, which helps high school students develop their French conversational skills. 

Many students apply to the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France), which offers students the opportunity to work in France for seven months teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year three to eight students succeed in obtaining the assistantship and are sent to schools in various French cities. 

The French Club puts on the Table Française, a weekly table at the local pizzeria for students to converse in French. The students meet once a week for discussions, social gatherings, and cultural activities.

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Elementary Teacher

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

French/Spanish

Students of both French and Spanish studies acquire the skills required to not only speak the languages, but also to learn about and appreciate French and Spanish societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The guiding principle of the curriculum is that one of the best ways to understand a culture is directly through its language.

Students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows them to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness through culture, film, and literature courses. The department emphasizes the diversity and multicultural aspects of the Spanish and Francophone (French speaking) worlds through civilization, culture, literature and sociolinguistic courses. 

Western’s Modern and Classical Languages Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

With both resources and events from both the French and Spanish programs, French/Spanish students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities:

  • WELP (Western Employee Language Program) 
  • “On Parle” 
  • Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) 
  • French Club 
  • Table Française 
  • Sigma Delta Pi, The National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society 
  • Spanish Program Volunteer Opportunities
  • La Mesa del Español
  • Cultural Ambassadors Program in Spain: North American Language and Cultural Assistants in Spain

 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Students in the French/Spanish program graduate with career and continued education plans from locally to all over the world.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Interpreter 
  • Foreign Correspondent 
  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • FBI Agent 
  • Educator 
  • Linguist 
  • Travel Writer 
  • Communications Consultant

 

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

French

The study of French includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students of French studies acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate French societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The guiding principle of the curriculum is that one of the best ways to understand a culture is directly through its language.

The French studies program is designed to help students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows students to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness. The department emphasizes the diversity and multicultural aspects of the Francophone (French speaking) world through civilization, culture, literature and sociolinguistic courses. Training includes both language structure and literary analysis. Language structure is taught both holistically and analytically — with multimedia technology, study abroad, language skills courses, and linguistics courses. Literary analysis is an essential component to the curriculum, and the department provides instruction in history and culture, as well as literary theory. 

The Modern and Classical Language Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

 

Beyond the Classroom

Students can participate as facilitators in the WELP (Western Employees Language Program) program, which gives students first-hand experience teaching French to speakers of other languages, or get involved with the “On Parle” program, which helps high school students develop their French conversational skills. 

Many students apply to the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France), which offers students the opportunity to work in France for seven months teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year three to eight students succeed in obtaining the assistantship and are sent to schools in various French cities.

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Interpreter 
  • Foreign Correspondent 
  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • FBI Agent 
  • Educator 
  • Linguist 
  • Travel Writer 
  • Communication Consultant

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

French with a Teaching Endorsement

The study of French includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate French societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The French studies program is designed to help students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows students to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness. The department emphasizes the diversity and multicultural aspects of the Francophone (French speaking) world through civilization, culture, literature and sociolinguistic courses. 

The BA in French leads to a BA degree without teacher certification. In order to receive a recommendation for state of Washington certification, students must complete the professional teacher certification program. Please see the Department of Secondary Education for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.

The Modern and Classical Languages Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

Students can participate as facilitators in the WELP (Western Employees Language Program) program, which gives students first-hand experience teaching French to speakers of other languages, or get involved with the “On Parle” program, which helps high school students develop their French conversational skills. 

Many students apply to the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France), which offers students the opportunity to work in France for seven months teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year three to eight students succeed in obtaining the assistantship and are sent to schools in various French cities. 

The French Club puts on the Table Française, a weekly table at the local pizzeria for students to converse in French. The students meet once a week for discussions, social gatherings, and cultural activities.

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Interpreter 
  • Foreign Correspondent 
  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • FBI Agent

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Financial Economics

The study of Financial Economics is a combination of economic analysis and tools from accounting and finance that can be used to guide financial decisions. Financial Economics provides an understanding of core economic concepts and how the economy and financial markets function. 

The Economics Department and the Department of Finance and Marketing jointly offer this major to provide a program which gives students rigorous training in theory and applications of accounting, economics, and finance.  An emphasis is placed on developing critical thinking skills to apply economic and financial analysis in problem solving. This major is designed for students interested in both economics and finance, and is aimed particularly at those who wish to pursue careers in corporate finance, financial analysis, insurance and real estate, and government agencies where special emphasis is placed on financial economic knowledge.

Western’s Economics Department and the Department of Finance and Marketing are part of the College of Business and Economics.

Beyond the Classroom

The WWU Student Economics Association (SEA) is a student-led club that promotes the development of skills to lead members’ transition into the job sector. The club coordinates events to help guide and inspire innovative thinking for economics students and business students alike.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Western graduates have gained employment as: 

  • Payroll Compliance Auditor: Lindquist LLP
  • Outbound Group Leader: Target
  • Fiscal Coordinator: First Choice in Home Care 
  • Dealer Services Management Associate: KeyBank
  • Broker: The Rants Group 
  • Replenishment Analyst: Smith Gardens 
  • Revenue Auditor: WA State Department of Revenue 

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Actuary 
  • Financial Planner/Analyst 
  • Government 
  • Investment Banker 
  • Budget Analyst 
  • Banking/Securities 
  • Financial Economist 
  • Business Forecaster

College of Business and Economics

Environmental Studies

Students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Environmental Studies approach environmental understanding and problem solving through diverse programs that examine the interaction of social and natural systems to promote positive change in the environment. Western’s interdisciplinary Environmental Studies curriculum is designed to help students make intellectual connections and gain the practical skills necessary for building socially and environmentally sustainable futures. The Department’s undergraduate programs include a variety of major specializations. A range of minors, including Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Geographic Information Science (GIS), and Sustainable Design, are also available.

Western’s Environmental Studies Department is part of Huxley College of the Environment.

 

Beyond the Classroom

Student work is received and recognized from national and statewide organizations for exceptional problem-solving solutions that use geographic information systems and computer-aided design. Some students are published in The Planet, a student-run publication that combines the environmental focus of Huxley College with the writing and reporting skills of journalism to produce an award winning environmental magazine.

Huxley hosts the Huxley College Speaker Series, which brings guest lecturers to Western’s campus to address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and beyond. The speaker series is intended to bring together environmentally-minded members of the Western and Bellingham communities. Students and Bellingham community members also volunteer for LEAD (Learning Environment Action Discovery), a program designed to help restore native environments and increase biodiversity.

Bringing together even broader communities, Huxley College students have the opportunity to take environmental studies classes in Europe and other parts of the world through a number of faculty-led study abroad summer programs.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Environmental Studies directs students to specific environmental career paths or provides an excellent background for advanced study in education, law, natural resource management, public administration, urban and environmental planning, and other fields.
 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Urban Planner
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • County Planner
  • Environmental Public Relations
  • Director of Non-Profit Organizations

Department of Environmental Studies

Environmental Policy

Western’s interdisciplinary Environmental Policy program prepares students to enter professional fields concerned with the sustainability of the human and natural environment. Studies in Environmental Policy concentrate on public policy development, governance, law, and the methods and processes of planning and decision making. By solving problems and implementing shared visions in both natural settings and urban communities, Environmental Policy promotes positive change in the environment. 

The program consists of core studies and specialization electives. The core incorporates the interdisciplinary foundation of Huxley College’s approach to the study of the environment. The specialization elective component of the program is flexible, and allowing students to develop an area of special interest, concentrate on a minor in an academic discipline, or to select from a number of thematically oriented clusters of courses.

Western’s Environmental Studies Department is part of Huxley College of the Environment.

 

Beyond the Classroom

Some students are published in The Planet, a student-run publication that combines the environmental focus of Huxley College with the writing and reporting skills of journalism to produce an award winning environmental magazine.

Huxley hosts the Huxley College Speaker Series, which brings guest lecturers to Western’s campus to address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and beyond. The speaker series is intended to bring together environmentally-minded members of the Western and Bellingham communities. Students and Bellingham community members also volunteer for LEAD (Learning Environment Action Discovery), a program designed to help restore native environments and increase biodiversity.

Bringing together even broader communities, Huxley College students have the opportunity to take environmental studies classes in Europe and other parts of the world through a number of faculty-led study abroad summer programs.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Urban Planner
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • County Planner
  • Environmental Public Relations
  • Director of Non-Profit Organizations
  • Municipal Government

Department of Environmental Studies

English—Literature Emphasis

The English-Literature Emphasis major focuses on the study of literatures in historical and cultural contexts, and also includes course work in linguistics, literary theory, and writing. The program offers a diverse spectrum of classes ranging from antiquity to the twenty-first century and covering a wide variety of topics in literature, media, composition, and language studies. Courses encompass and explore multiple cultural traditions, allowing graduates to cultivate skills in critical thinking, creative expression, close reading, persuasive writing, and effective speaking. This is an ideal major for anyone seeking a well-rounded Liberal Arts education with a wide range of future employment options.

The English Department provides small, student-centered classes, innovative educational methods, and close faculty-student interaction. Majors in the Literature Emphasis may also opt to add state teaching endorsements to their program of study. Western’s English Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

 

 

“Western has a fabulous reputation that continues to grow every year; a strong literature department with caring faculty who helped introduce me to the field that I want to pursue professionally…I hope to go to grad school in the UK and study Library Information Science so that I may one day be a middle school librarian.” –Maddie Erickson

Beyond the Classroom

English graduates go on to work in many fields — they become teachers, lawyers, doctors, community, organizers, curators, editors, publishers, agents, art program directors, screenwriters, film directors, game designers, reviewers, essayists, novelists, scholars, poets, environmentalists, publicists, historians, musicians, and mountain climbers (among many other things). Every year many of our alumni return to campus to generously offer us their wisdom and experience.

The English department also encourages students to explore internship possibilities. Some internships are organized through and by English department classes. Students have recently completed internships at The Neighborhood Playhouse, LAW Advocates, Bellingham Alive, Sean Humphrey House, Growing Veterans, and the Lummi CEDAR Project.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Students in the English program have amassed an enviable record of placement in graduate programs, including recent admission to doctoral programs at Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Davis, University of Iowa, University of Illinois, University of Pittsburgh, University of Edinburgh, and Boston College. Students have also been admitted to masters programs in literary studies, education, business administration, and library science.

The study of literature, writing, linguistics, critical theory, and visual media also prepare English graduates to pursue a variety of careers in law, business, government, professional writing, publishing, and education.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • American Museum of Natural History, New York: Editorial Manager
  • Center for Independence: Project Manager and Fund Developer
  • Chop Suey: Marketing and Promotions
  • Cranbook Kingswood School: Instructor
  • The Crocodile: Talent Buyer
  • Everett Community College: Writing Assistant/Peer Tutor
  • Explorations Academy: Outreach and Admissions Coordinator
  • Fortive: Human Resources Generalist
  • Funko: Marketing Coordinator
  • Gearbox Software: Lead Writer
  • GEPIK: English Teacher
  • Logos Bible Software: Marketing Copywriter
  • Lummi Indian Business Council: Writer/Administrator
  • Microsoft: Content Developer
  • Oni Press: Managing Editor
  • Salesforce.com: Customer Relationship Manager
  • The Stamp and Coin Place: Social Media Coordinator
  • Starbucks: Site Content Manager
  • Surferseen.com: Videographer/Editor
  • Ticketmaster: Content Specialist Copywriter
  • Vicinity Web: Senior Writer
  • WWU Foundation: Program Assistant
  • Zharmae Publishing Press LLC: Managing Editor

 

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Videogame Plotting/Design
  • Web Content Creator
  • Editor
  • Journalist
  • Screenwriter
  • Copywriter
  • Research Analyst
  • Technical Writer
  • Advertising Copy Writer Public Relations Specialist
  • User Experience Expert (UX)
  • Usability Tester
  • Book Buyer/Seller
  • Web Content Developer/Writer
  • Human Resource Manager
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Special Events Coordinator/Speech Writer
  • Lobbyist
  • Grant Writer
  • Fundraising Coordinator
  • Legislative Assistant
  • Archivist

 

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