Earth Science — Secondary

Earth Science — Secondary


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. Geoscientists provide basic information to society for solving problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety, and welfare.

Geoscientists are curious about Earth: How was it formed? How is it changing?

Geoscientists are concerned about the Earth: Is there a global warming trend? How and where should we dispose industrial waste?

By applying knowledge of forces that shape the Earth, geoscientists seek to reconstruct the past and anticipate the future.

The Earth Science—Secondary major must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in Secondary Education offered through Woodring College of Education. Western’s Geology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

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.

"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 geologist. There are many exciting opportunities for new students in our program, and the future demand for geoscientist will be significant." –Bernie Housen, Professor and Chair, Geology Department

Beyond the Classroom

The Geology Department is home to active professional-society student chapters that offer professional development and networking opportunities outside the classroom. These include the Association of Engineering and Environmental Geologists and the Society of Economic Geologists—Student Chapter.

"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

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 in Washington State than any other college or university in the state, and our student’s success rate on the national geology fundamentals exam (required for geologists licensing) is 20% higher than the national average. 


Sample Jobs

  • Secondary Education Teacher (Grades 5-12)

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.