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Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of

Course Designators: ENS, GEL, MET

For information, please contact the chairperson, 989-774-3179, 314 Brooks Hall;

Environmental Science, Geology, and Meteorology

The Earth is a complex system of interacting physical, chemical, and biological processes. Human activity substantially impacts the Earth System. Scientists analyze observations and develop models to understand how components of the Earth System function and interact. The combination of these three majors in a single department gives students the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the Earth System.

Why Study Environmental Science?

Environmental scientists use their interdisciplinary knowledge to investigate environmental systems and explore their relationship to our everyday lives. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policy makers, or work with industry to reduce waste. Environmental Science majors go on to work as technicians, consultants, chemists, regulators, and scientific advisors, and may pursue graduate degrees in the Environmental and Earth Sciences, Policy, and Management. As our environment becomes increasingly stressed, employment opportunities in environmentally related fields are expanding rapidly.

Environmental Science at CMU

CMU’s location in the heart of the Great Lakes provides the perfect setting to study the environment. The Environmental Science major emphasizes skills in critical thinking, technical writing, field and laboratory analyses, and modeling environmental systems. Students in the program work with state-of-the-art software, field instruments, and laboratory equipment used in industry, government, and academic settings. Majors in the program may complete internships and/or independent study projects, with the opportunity to present research results at national conferences. A minor in Environmental Science is also offered.

Why Study Geology?

Geologists discover, evaluate, and manage energy reserves, mineral deposits, and water supplies needed to sustain human civilization on our planet. They study the movements of continents, formation of mountains, flow of glaciers, and the rise and fall of sea level. Geologists work outdoors, in laboratories, in offices, and in classrooms. Geology graduates often apply their skills to commercial, legal, and governmental enterprises. They also monitor soil and groundwater pollution and evaluate risks from natural hazards such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanos. The Geology major and minor are complementary to many other majors including environmental science, geographic information systems, business, education, and outdoor recreation.

Geology at CMU

CMU Geology classes emphasize discovery and hands-on learning using an exceptional collection of Earth materials and laboratory facilities. Field trips are an essential part of many geology classes and student participation in field-based research projects is common at CMU. The Geology B.S. degree is designed to impart an understanding of Earth history in the context of deep time while developing strong quantitative, computational, and communication skills. We emphasize relationships among Earth Systems (the Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, and Biosphere) and three-dimensional thinking that enable students to address geological problems across a large range of physical and temporal scales.

Why Study Meteorology?

Meteorology is the study of weather and all processes that affect weather. It is a rapidly evolving science with significant relevance to society. From severe storms to long term climate change, meteorologists observe and model atmospheric processes to create forecasts and deepen our understanding of atmospheric processes. Society benefits from more accurate weather information, therefore the ability to communicate complex scientific analysis is of great importance to the meteorologist. Nearly every adult in the United States is a consumer of weather and climate data at some decision-making level. The national benefit of weather information to US households is estimated at $35 billion per year.

Meteorology at CMU

Central Michigan University offers a modern, thorough curriculum to prepare students for a career in meteorology. The faculty have terminal degrees in meteorology and teach small classes with laboratory time for practical learning using state-of-the-art weather analysis software. Our program meets the guidelines specified by the American Meteorological Society, as well as the requirements outlined by the National Weather Service. Our program gives students the expertise necessary to attend graduate school, forecast for the National Weather Service, broadcast weather for television and radio, or work in the commercial weather industry.

The Faculty

Rachael Agardy, John Allen, Martin Baxter, Anthony Chappaz, Laurent Charlet, Maria Mercedes Gonzalez, Zachary Johnson, Jason Keeler, Daria Kluver, Lawrence Lemke, Wendy Robertson, Mona Sirbescu, Natalia Zakharova

The Programs

Environmental Science Major

Geology Major

Meteorology Major

Environmental Analytics Minor

Environmental Science Minor

Geology Minor


Earth Science Minor (Interdisciplinary - Secondary)

Integrated Science Major (Interdisciplinary - Secondary)