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Program Overview

The Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences (EEGS) Cluster Minor affords students the opportunity to design their own minor that includes courses offered by EEGS and other departments at the University and that fits a disciplinary theme. Students can relate their cluster minor to their academic, professional, and personal interests and goals. Students are required to choose at least 20 credits of coursework for the minor, with less than 50% overlap with a preexisting minor at the University. The list of courses must include courses in EEGS and may include complementary courses in other departments.

View the Bulletin.

Minor Requirements

Consult with your academic advisor for ideas for building your customized minor.


Student sampling soil in forest.

Guidelines for declaring an EEGS Cluster Minor

If you want to design an EEGS Cluster Minor, the first thing to make sure is that you have chosen at least 20 credits and that the courses in the proposed cluster minor do not overlap more than 50% with any other existing minor at NMU. Students who complete the EEGS Cluster Minor typically choose courses from other departments to complement the GC courses, so that is one way to ensure that the overlap with other programs is not too much.

The second thing to consider is that the cluster minor is not intended to be a random smattering of courses simply to have a minor on the transcript. Pick a theme that connects the cluster of courses in the minor. Recent examples are as follows:

  • Communicating Integral Theory and Intercultural Sustainability
  • Earth Systems
  • Environmental Communication
  • Environmental Informatics
  • Environmental Justice and Advocacy
  • Environmental Justice and Law
  • Environmental Outreach
  • Environmental Psychology
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Sustainable Forestry
  • Urban Planning

Then, once a suite of courses is chosen that has <50% overlap with another minor, write a draft proposal with:

  1. Your name and NMU IN at the top.
  2. The name of the cluster minor.
  3. The list of courses with the number of credits for each course and the total number of credits.
  4. A statement about how the courses fit together around a theme and how this cluster minor will help round out your academic program and, if possible, how it will help you prepare for the future (whether internship, career, grad school, lifelong learning, or something else). The statement is just a paragraph, but it needs to make a case for how the courses make sense as a program.

Once you have developed a draft plan of the goal of the cluster minor, run the proposal by the EEGS Department Head for help polishing the document.

The next step is to see whether two or more courses come from a department other than EEGS. If so (as in the case of the Environmental Justice and Law EEGS cluster minor), permission must be sought and gained from the Head of the department that offers the two or more courses. Then the EEGS Department Head can submit the proposal, and the approval of another Department Head if appropriate, to the Registrar for review and hopefully approval.

One final note is that the Bulletin description states that the EEGS Cluster Minor must be approved by the end of the student's third semester, but exceptions have been made.

Please contact EEGS Department Head Susy Ziegler if you have questions.