Missouri Western’s Geosciences program provides students with an introduction to geography, geology and environmental science as well as hands-on technical experience with GIS (geographic information systems), GPS (global positioning systems) and other research tools. Options include courses in geography, geology and meteorology. There are two minors in the program, one in geography and another in earth and environmental science. These minors are available to students majoring in any discipline. They also may be included as part of a Bachelor’s of General Studies degree.
Students in both minors can take advantage of a wealth of applied learning opportunities provided in the Biology Department. These include hands-on lab and field experiences, research opportunities with Gold Fridays and summer PORTAL (hyperlink to this section of the BIO page), geography internships, study away courses, and opportunities to attend and present at conferences. Students have held internships with the city of St. Joseph and Mo-Kan Regional Council and worked on research projects to assist Mosaic Life-Care and St. Joseph Public Libraries. Recent graduates presented at venues including the Missouri Academy of Science and regional meetings of the American Association of Geographers. Study away trips took students to the US Southwest and Portland, Oregon. Additionally, MWSU provides cutting edge geospatial and geoscience training with industry standard software and hardware to prepare graduates for a variety of job settings.
Students in both minors are encouraged to take advantage of the service learning opportunities offered by MWSU’s Center for Service (hyperlink) and to pair those with the knowledge and skills developed in either minor. Service learning and professional development can be further enhanced through participation in the various student organizations in the Biology Department, including MWSU Geography Club, Wildlife Society, Beta Beta Beta Honor Society, or Gamma Theta Upsilon Honor Society (hyperlinks to these pages, although the geography organization pages still indeed to be built). Whatever a student’s area of focus in these minors, there are opportunities to expand a resume and advance career and educational goals while serving a variety of communities.
The earth and environmental science minor provides a solid foundation in basic earth and environmental science for any student who wishes to supplement or focus on a more environmental- or sustainability-focused aspect of their career. It is a rapidly expanding field that is constantly seeking qualified employees to study weather and climate, pollution, and natural hazards. Students will focus not just on the natural environment, but how humans interact and shape it with their actions. The earth and environmental science minor complements many other programs at the university, including biology, business administration, nursing, engineering, law, and criminal justice.
The minor in geography helps students understand the spatial organization of society to answer crucial questions like why some places are different than others, how places are related and how they can be improved. Geographers tackle some of the largest problems that the world faces today, including climate change, disease transmission, and immigration. They study the interconnections of place and space that impact both humans and the environment. A geography minor complements many other programs at the university, including biology, business administration, criminal justice, population health, education, and cybersecurity.
While your major will mainly determine your career, the knowledge and skills you learn in your geoscience minor will greatly expand your job possibilities, including environmental scientist, environmental consultant, epidemiologist, geotechnical engineer, transportation manager, market researcher, business development, logistics analyst, real estate appraiser, environmental economist, tour guide, sustainability manager, urban and regional planner, geointelligence specialist and more. Recent graduates of the program have gone on to graduate studies in the geosciences, as well as careers with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the City of Leavenworth, Kansas, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.