The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third-largest in the world. The spring is 370 feet in diameter, 160 feet deep, and 160 °F in the center. The bright, rainbow colors are the result of microbial mats living around the edges of the mineral-rich water. Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash.
What is 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.
Earth Science/General Science — Secondary, BAE
Do you like to know why and how things work? Do you enjoy the outdoors? Are you concerned about the environment? Want to teach Earth science and other sciences to middle or high school students? This degree leads to recommendations for teaching endorsements in Earth & Space Science and Science.
Earth Science — Elementary, BAE
Geology is the science that provides the key to finding new sources of useful Earth materials and to understanding Earth processes that affect our lives. This degree satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in elementary education. It does not lead to an endorsement in Earth & Space Science.
Earth Science — Secondary, BAE
Earth Science, or geoscience, is a diverse discipline, incorporating aspects of physics, chemistry, biology, and natural history in the attempt to solve earth-related problems. Want to teach Earth science and geoscience to middle or high school students? This degree leads to teaching endorsement in Earth & Space Science.
Into geology but also want the flexibility of a liberal arts education? This degree is designed for students who are not intending to work as professional geologists. An accompanying minor in one of the sciences or in mathematics is recommended.
This degree is for students who want to become professional geologists and plan to enroll in a graduate program or enter industry. The BS is designed to provide students with a broad background in geology.
Geology at Western
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.
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 NewmanStudent
GEOL 195 – Mt Baker Geology and Volcanic Hazards
GEOL 252 – The Earth and Its Weather
GEOL 303 – Dinosaurs and Their Environment
GEOL 409 – Field Methods and Theory
GEOL 485 – Geothermal Energy
Organizations and Clubs
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.
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 PueringerStudent
What can you do with Geology?
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.
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Department of Natural Resources
- Oil and Mining companies
- U.S. Forest Service
- U.S Army Corps of Engineers
- Explorations Geologist
- Museum Curator
- Climate Change Scientist
- Earthquake or Volcano Monitor
- Engineering Geologist
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 HousenFaculty