The Department of Earth and Space Sciences prepares students for rewarding careers
in geoscience and education. We offer a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geoscience in two concentrations (Geology and Earth Systems) as well as a teaching certification
program in both General Science and a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) in Earth and Space Sciences, which is housed in the Department of Secondary Education. We also offer a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Geoscience that is tailored for the professional development of geologists and pre-college teachers.
Check out our multiple minors as well!
What's Currently Going On in the Department?
The meeting, originally scheduled to be held in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, will now be fully online. The theme of this year’s meeting is Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, Anthroposphere, which reflects interrelated components of planet Earth. In particular, over the past several decades we have become more aware of the impact of humans on the planet. We intend for this meeting to be a venue to communicate not only our recent advances in understanding our planet but also the role of humans in transforming it.
Dr. Heather Wholey and Dr. Daria Nikitina present results of their research project sponsored by the National Geographic Explorer Grant
Dr. Daria Nikitina was awarded the John C. Frye Environmental Geology Award, given to the best paper on environmental geology published by either GSA or by a state geological survey during the past three years. The award was presented to her during the Presidential Address at the Opening of Geological Society of America (GSA) Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, in September 2019. This distinguished award recognized Dr. Nikitina's work as a sea-level scientist by GSA and the Association of State Geologists for her contribution to Delaware Sea Level Rise Report. The report was commissioned by the Governor of Delaware, and prepared by a group of experts (including Dr. Nikitina) and the Delaware Geological Survey using federal funds from NOAA and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- Many different types of
equipment and facilities for students to use
There are many facilities in the Department of Earth & Space Sciences available to students. These range in nature from student study areas to extensive sample collections to high-tech research equipment. On the second floor of the Merion Science Center is a student computer lab. The computer lab hosts 16 desktop computers, a printer and scanner. We also have over 100 laptop computers for students in classes. Our computers have University multi-site licenses for software including the Adobe Creative Suite, ArcGIS, MATLAB, SAS, and more. The student lounge functions as a library and a place for students to gather and work on projects.
The Department has three (3) research UAVs used for a range of geological and meteorological research projects as well as our ESS 480 "Drones" course, where students acquire hands-on experience in manuevering five (5) small Hubsan 107L drones. Several department faculty and students have earned FAA UAS licensure. Our drones are capable of performing high-resolution aerial mapping, 3-dimensional photogrammetry and DEM generation, thermal and multispectral imaging, and carrying a wide-variety of scientific payloads including magnetometers, meteorological instrumentation, sub-aqueous sonar, gamma ray detectors, multi-gas meters, and pressure transducers. Our drone equipment includes: DJI Matrice 600 Pro sUAS, DJI Mavic Pro Platinum sUAS, DJI Inspire 1 sUAS, Zenmuse XT2 Thermal Imaging Camera, Zenmuse X5 EO Camera, Zenmuse X3 EO Camera, MicaSense Rededge M Multispectral Camera
- Courses that build career skills: problem-solving, teamwork, field work, data analysis, written/oral communication, and cutting-edge training on scientific instruments
- Flexible curriculum with opportunities for independent study research and internships for credit
- A solid foundation for a career in the environmental industry, geology, or teaching in secondary schools
- A faculty of nationally-known scholars who involve students in a variety of research projects
- A large alumni network of professional geologists and teachers in the Philadelphia Region
- An Earth and Space Science Club, Sigma Gamma Epsilon (The Geology Honors Society), plus participation in WCU's Women in Science and Astronomy Clubs.
- Graduate assistantships (GAs), scholarships, travel and research grants available each semester
- A friendly, nurturing, and exciting place that prides itself on personalized attention to our students!
- In fact, Collegefactual.com ranks our geoscience program highest in the PA State System.
Career opportunities in Geoscience are EXCELLENT!
- Demand for geoscientists expected to increase 5% -- FASTER AS AVERAGE -- through 2028 (source: BLS.gov).
- The median salary for geoscientists is over $92,040 / year (source: BLS.gov).
- Check out the distribution of geoscience-related occupations and salaries HERE (source: AGI).
- And click the link to the right for facts about Geoscience here in Pennsylvania! Geoscience Statistics in PA
Name: Beatrice O’Hara
WCU Degree: M.S Geoscience, GIS Graduate Certification, 2017
Current Location: Exton, PA
Occupation: Wetland Specialist
West Chester University has been a part of the fabric of my life since childhood and holds a special place in my heart. When I was ready to launch a second career, I did not hesitate to return to WCU. I admit that I was a bit apprehensive at first about entering their Geoscience Master’s program as a non-traditional student, but those apprehensions dissolved. The entire faculty was welcoming and encouraging and the students were friendly and supportive.
The program, while providing a broad-based curriculum, also allowed for customization towards specific research interests. While at the university, I became deeply involved in research focused on environmental impacts on the coastal system of the Delaware Bay and spent a great deal of time in the field and in the lab. While researching different aspects of the resiliency of the carbon cycle of coastal salt marshes, and presenting results at various professional meetings, I had the opportunity to network with professionals, members of grass-root groups, environmental enthusiasts and concern citizens with whom I share the same interests and commitment to improving the current state of our coast, wetlands and estuaries. In addition to presenting at conferences, I gained experience writing reports, research papers, and grant proposals.
The skills, experiences, and opportunities gained through my time in WCU’s Earth and Space Sciences Geoscience Master’s Program, and the Geography Department’s GIS Graduate Certification Program, equipped me to land my dream job and to continue research, presentation and outreach on the Delaware Estuary’s Wetlands. I am forever grateful to their faculty, especially Dr. Daria Nikitina.
Name: Daniel Bochiocchio, Class of 2017
WCU Degree: M.S. Geoscience
Current Location: West Chester, PA
Occupation: Geoscientist-In-Training, Drone Pilot
The initiative to purchase drones allowed me to pursue a new skill that has advanced my career progress three-fold. Given the resources from West Chester University Earth and Space Sciences I was given the opportunity to learn the steps of acquiring new data collection tools, learn to apply them to my field of interest, and continue to capitalize on that value by starting my own business using the skills I had learned. If not for this experience at WCU I would not have learned a new skill set, started a successful business, and moved myself to a higher position within a new company that would have required three-times the amount of time spent in a traditional career track to reach my current level.
Name: Malcolm Morris
WCU Degree: B.S Geoscience: Geology Concentration 2016
Current Location: Upper Darby, PA
Occupation: Field Technician, Groundwater & Environmental Services (GES).
The faculty at WCU helped me to attain my degree in a field I am passionate about. More than that, they have instilled in me life lessons and experiences which I will cherish years after my graduation. I must stress the importance of a college education, not only for facilitating your potential career, but for the advancement of your mind. With that said I wholeheartedly recommend any prospective students to consider an education with West Chester University.
Come join our community and plan a rewarding career to make the world a more sustainable place for the future! For more information, contact the Department Chairperson, Dr. Hal Bosbyshell (email@example.com), or Joan Kaiser (firstname.lastname@example.org), Administrative Assistant, at 610-436-2727.