Academic Transformation FAQs
FAQ answers for current undergraduate students in Geology, Geography, and Environmental Geoscience.
Is my major going away?
- Your major is NOT going away if you are currently enrolled in Environmental Geoscience, Geography, and Geology.
What are these new majors we’ve heard about?
- The Department of Geology and Geography has started two new degrees as part of the first round of Academic Transformation in 2021.
Do I have to change my major?
- NO! You can STAY in your current major or you can choose to move into one of these new degrees (no action is necessary unless you want to change your major).
- There are a few exceptions to this:
If you ever need to apply for readmission to WVU you will be put into the current catalog year and will not be able to move back to your old degree.
If you want to add any new curriculum to your current major (a second degree, a new minor, etc.) you might need to update your catalog year. Please have this discussion with your advisor, Tara Robbins, before making a decision.
What do I do if I want more information or would like to change my major?
- For more information or if you’d like to explore your options, please visit Tara Robbins at 330 Brooks Hall or email Tara.Robbins@mail.wvu.edu.
I want to be able to certify as a professional geologist. What AoE should I consider and what courses do I need to take?
- In order to qualify for the ASBOG Fundamentals of Geology exam, students should pick the Earth Science BS option. Its curriculum is designed to fulfill the core academic courses required by most state’s certification boards. WV does not require a professional license to be a Geologist, but 32 other states do including Pennsylvania and Virginia.
I am interested in continuing on to a graduate program in the Geology. How can I best prepare myself for graduate school as I pursue my undergraduate degree?
- Depending on your interests, any of our three BS majors will prepare you for graduate school because they include a rigorous set of physical science and mathematics courses. Most graduate schools accept applicants coming from a broad set of natural science programs. For example, the graduate program at Penn State expects applicants to have “completed standard introductory courses in geosciences, chemistry, physics, and mathematics through integral calculus, plus an equivalent of 15 credits of intermediate-level work in one or a combination of these subjects”. Notice that our BS programs offer you a choice of which Math path to complete. If you intend to go to graduate school in Geology (or similar), it is best to take the path that leads to Math 156.
I am interested in GIS but see that there are AoEs relating to this in both the Earth and Environmental Science BS and Sustainability BA. How can I choose between the BS and BA?
- The choice of BA or BS depends on your long-term career goal. The BS will best prepare you to work in technical research or industry jobs that involve Geospatial Science. The BA is more appropriate if you want to pursue a career in the policy, advocacy, NGO, or government fields where you will use GIS as a tool.
I am considering pursuing a dual degree or a double major. What majors best complement the Earth and Environmental Science BS or the Sustainability Studies BA?
- You can take two very different paths when you choose a minor or a double major.
- You can look for fields that are allied to your major in order to increase the depth of your training. These include Chemistry, Biology, Forestry, Resource Management, Soil Sciences, Environmental Protection, Environmental and Civil Engineering, or Political Science, History, English, International Studies, etc.
- You can pursue courses in fields that are different from your major-specific courses and thus broaden your background in ways that make you stand out to employers. These include Political Science, History, Mathematics, Computer Science, Business and Economics, Arts, English, etc.
Help Support our Geology Field Camp
We need your help to lessen the financial burden of attending field camp for five geology students. Field camp provides an incredible opportunity for our students and creates meaningful hands-on experiences that will last a lifetime.
Dan and Pat Billman have launched a challenge to support Geology field camp:
“As geologists we know, the best geologists see the most rocks. Future WVU geologists need our support now. Please join us in championing WVU Geology’s field camp and courses.” - Dan Billman (1989 MS Geology) and Pam Billman (1988 MS Geology)
Department Research Spotlight
Mapping West Virginia
New research from
West Virginia University is transforming understanding of the Mountain
State’s famous landscape – and identifying ways to preserve it.
As WVU’s latest NSF CAREER Award winner, Assistant Professor of Geography
Aaron Maxwell will use big data to map what the surface of West Virginia
looked like over the last 60 years. The funding includes $636,785 over five years.
Mapping a Legacy: New Geography Endowment
He and wife Jeanne (MM Music Performance, 1999) have established a planned gift, the Dr. Gregory and Mrs. Jeanne Elmes Geography Endowment, to support undergraduate geography students in their research endeavors.
WVU Geology Faculty Develops Virtual Lab
When the coronavirus began to spread around the world in early 2020,
West Virginia University Department of Geology and Geography's Graham Andrews
knew he needed to act fast. He already had 3D photography software and a drone
on hand for a volcanology research project. But with some quick thinking and the
help of five students, an idea was born -- a virtual geology lab.
The Listening Project
West Virginia University
geography students, in collaboration with community leaders, are responding.
The Listening Project is a partnership between WVU’s Center for Resilient Communities
and West Virginia organizers, Amy Jo Hutchison and Jennifer Wells, that gathers
stories of strength and struggle as West Virginians seek to find solidarity in
The Culture of Cooperation
Dina Hornbaker a farm manager for New Roots Community Farm in Fayetteville,
West Virginia talks about the life changing impact of geography. "I majored in
multidisciplinary studies in geography, Spanish and communication studies. I have
always enjoyed studying the relationships among areas, natural systems, cultural
activities and the interdependence of all of these throughout the Earth."
Turning a Corner on Food Insecurity
Turnrow Appalachian Farm Collective is a food hub that aggregates, sells and distributes locally grown and produced products across West Virginia. It is an initiative in WVU’s Center for Resilient Communities, which conducts community-based action research addressing Appalachia’s most pressing challenges.
As a graduate research assistant with Turnrow and online farms market manager for Sprouting Farms, geography master’s student Valerie Slone is putting her research into action.
We offer several student organizations to help you make the most of of your education.
Summer Undergraduate Research Experience
Selected students are awarded a $3,500 stipend for eight weeks of mentored research. An additional $2,000 is available for travel to a professional conference or for supplies.