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Photo of student on geology field trip examining compass.

Program Overview

The Earth Science (EART) major provides students with applied and theoretical knowledge of Earth’s physical environment including its geology, weather and climate, hydrology and astronomical relationships and prepares them for geoscience careers. Earth scientists use field, laboratory and computational methods to gather and interpret Earth systems data to improve our quality of life and provide targeted information for environmental problem solving, natural hazard monitoring and protection, and policy-making. By applying logic, reasoning, and knowledge of the forces that shape the earth, Earth scientists can reconstruct the past and anticipate the future.

Our faculty help students gain applied science knowledge through hands-on learning experiences that prepare them for professional careers in natural resource exploration, natural hazard mitigation, geotechnical assessment, environmental consulting, and geological research.

View the Bulletin.

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dr. van grinsven and students in the field

What can you do with an EART degree?

Our program prepares students for employment in many careers, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Atmospheric Scientist
  • Educator
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Geographer
  • Geologist
  • Geomorphologist
  • Geoscientist
  • Hydrologist
  • Natural Hazards Scientist
  • Natural Resources Specialist
  • Researcher
  • Resource Explorer
  • Soil Scientist
  • Surveyor

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Students sampling soil and comparing samples to Munsell charts.

Skills and Competencies

As in most other fields, strong interpersonal communications and organizational skills are a must for any professional. Some other valuable skills and competencies specific to a profession in the Earth Science area are leadership capabilities, critical thinking, mapping, and remote sensing and data analysis.

Our Geographic Information Systems Certificate Program allows students to integrate Earth Science with the latest computer-based mapping technologies. Earn credits for this certificate program while working toward your degree.

View the Bulletin.

Affiliated Faculty

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Dr. Norma Froelich

Norma Froelich

Associate Professor

nfroelic@nmu.edu 906-227-1891
Office Location:

3117 Weston Hall

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dr. adam naito

Adam Naito

Assistant Professor

anaito@nmu.edu 906-227-1174
Office Location:

3007 Weston

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Photo of Dr. Matthew Van Grinsven

Matthew Van Grinsven

Associate Professor

mvangrin@nmu.edu 906-227-1161
Office Location:

3612 The Science Building

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Richard Ziegler

Richard Ziegler

Contingent Senior Instructor

rziegler@nmu.edu 906-227-1364
Office Location:

3608 The Science Building

Major Requirements

Students must complete all courses listed in Core Requirements and Other Required Courses, as well as courses in one of the following four (4) concentrations. Within your concentration, be sure that at least 8 credits of coursework are at the 300-level or higher.

Managing, protecting, and restoring air and water resources are essential for all life. Clean air and water support habitat for fish and wildlife and healthy plant communities, as well as human health and recreation. Students in this concentration will gain relevant field and laboratory experience in monitoring air and water quality, assessing the impacts of pollutants, and better positioning themselves to design and implement solutions with stakeholders. An Earth scientist specializing in Air and Water Resources can work in fields such as, agronomy, air quality monitoring, aquatic science, environmental monitoring, forestry, wastewater treatment, water resource management and conservation, and wetland protection.

Choose 8 credits from the following:

Geology is the study of Earth’s structure and composition, its history, and the processes that shape it. Geologists receive training to investigate mountain formation, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, fossils, natural resources, and water resources. They play a crucial role in identifying problems and solutions relating to energy, geological hazards, mineral resource extraction, and other impacts to land, water, and air. This knowledge helps scientists, policymakers, and business professionals make decisions regarding the stewardship of our environment and natural resources. Graduates can pursue careers at a conservation organization, an environmental consulting or engineering firm, or a mine, or they can engage in geologic research for a university or state or Federal agency.

Complete the two courses not completed as part of Earth Science Core:

Choose 8 credits from the following:

Natural hazards such as wildfires, weather events (thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes), volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, and floods threaten ecosystems and human life. Skills and competencies regarding the analysis and communication of risk of these hazards are now essential for mitigating their threat and impact to communities. Earth scientists specializing in natural hazards have a fundamental background in biological, geological, geomorphological, hydrological, and meteorological principles, as well as sophisticated data analytics tools to investigate natural hazards and their consequences. The information conveyed by Earth scientists is critical for emergency responders and policymakers dedicated to supporting public safety and economic well-being. This degree will prepare its graduates for employment in either governmental (local, state, Federal) or non-governmental organizations.

Choose 12 credits from the following:

Developments in data science, Geographic Information Science, simulation modeling, and visualization have revolutionized the ability of scientists to investigate complex atmospheric, biological, hydrological, and geological processes and interactions in the Earth system. Our students develop a solid foundation in computer science, Earth science, chemistry, Geographic Information Science, and remote sensing to analyze data essential for industrial and governmental organizations tackling environmental issues such as biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, natural resources management, and climate change. Knowledge gained from these analyses supports decision-making by business leaders and policymakers alike. Graduates will have skills and knowledge valuable to consulting firms, energy production companies, and government agencies.

Choose 12 credits from the following:

Where Have Our Students Interned?

The following is a partial listing of organizations and businesses where our have interned.

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Kathleen Henry on a ship.
A photo of Pictured Rocks.
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Photo of Jillian Cain working as part of National Park Service internship

"I felt a great sense of accomplishment knowing my work could assist studies on the unique geology of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I am excited to carry this experience with me through the rest of my studies and into my future endeavors."


JILLIAN CAIN, '23

BS Earth Science, Minor in Art and Design; interned with the National Park Service, Keweenaw National Historical Park

Students measuring water quality at Harlow Lake.

Our Earth Science students examine Earth’s properties and discover their interconnections while gaining skills that benefit our global society.


Declare the EART Major

We strongly encourage you to meet with one of our Senior Success Advisors in EEGS before declaring the major, as they can provide valuable guidance and will work with you to develop a degree plan. Our Success Advisors are:

When you are ready to declare:

  1. You many submit your request to change a major or a minor on the web on the Change or Declare a Major page.
  2. Enter your name, NMU IN, email address, class standing, check the "change my major" box, and input any additional relevant comments. For Earth Science be sure to select a concentration if you are under the Fall 2023 (or more recent) Bulletin.
  3. Submit the declare request.

You may also visit the Student Success Office in 3302 C.B. Hedgcock Building to make the change in person.