Environmental Science and Geology

Office: 0224 Old Main; (313) 577-2506
Chairperson: Mark Baskaran
Academic Advisor: Dawn Niedermiller
Academic Services Officer: John Niedermiller

Geology is the scientific study of planet Earth and involves the observation and interpretation of processes that form and change our world. Some of these processes, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, proceed rapidly, often with catastrophic consequences. Others, such as erosion or mountain building can progress so slowly that their results are scarcely noticeable over a human lifetime. Each of these processes, however, can exert a profound influence on human activities and can, in turn, be influenced intentionally or unintentionally by human activities.

The courses offered by this department are designed to serve the needs of five groups of students:

  1. Those who desire a general knowledge of geology as part of a liberal education;
  2. Those who need geological information as a cognate subject in other professions;
  3. Those who wish to major in geology as part of a broad liberal arts education;
  4. Those who wish to major in environmental science;
  5. Those who plan to become professional geologists.

Introductory courses are primarily general, but they also provide a foundation in geology for the student who desires to continue an intensive program of study. Students with an interest in environmental problems will find a number of relevant courses among those offered by the Department of Geology. In addition, a variety of courses in various phases of geology is available to the general student. Intermediate and advanced courses are designed to develop the principles of geology beyond the elementary level and to give a firm technical foundation for advanced study.

Environmental Science investigates the many interconnected systems and processes that formed our world, continuously change it, and, ultimately, sustain life on it. The Environmental Science Program at Wayne State offers an interdisciplinary approach combining a strong foundation from both geological and biological perspectives, and a broad choice of electives. This program focuses on the urban environment and urban impacts on the natural environment. It will prepare students for graduate study, or for careers in various areas of environmental science including environmental impact assessment, air and water quality monitoring, regulatory compliance, and environmental remediation.