Geosciences Major


Do you care about the environment? Global warming? Contamination? Water pollution? Freshwater resources? Learn about the physical aspects as well as the past, present and future  of the Earth. As a geosciences major, you have opportunity, pursuing your education at a unique time in history with a faster than average  job outlook of 14%*. UW-Parkside offers you a unique location near the shores of Lake Michigan and the subcontinental divide in our back yard, to give you high impact research opportunities.


Of the top environmental issues facing our world, freshwater research and availability is one of the hottest topics. As a geoscience major, you will find out how southeastern Wisconsin positions itself as a significant hub for freshwater research, the Parkside campus is right in the middle of all the action.

Working with the Milwaukee Water Council and other organizations, geosciences professors help provide research opportunities for Parkside students. Quality education and engagement in scholarly learning and real-world research are the keys for students' success.

Geosciences Professor Dr. John Skalbeck sees water is an exciting area of study. "We have a perfect little experiment over the next couple of decades," Skalbeck said. "We can do it the right way or the wrong way. Water issues will be paramount and UW-Parkside, and students in geosciences will have a significant role." 

*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016-26 employment predictions.


The Geosciences Department has established an articulation agreement with the School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee for a 3+2 program to earn a B.S. from UW-Parkside and an M.S. or M.A. from School of Freshwater Sciences, UW-Milwaukee.

Great Lakes Water Resources | 106

Physical and geologic history and description of the Great Lakes region. Emphasis on hydrologic cycle, economic resources of the Great Lakes, pollution and other environmental issues. 

Minerals and Rocks | 200

Internal order of crystals; physical, chemical, and optical properties of minerals; mineral identification; mineral associations and the classification of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks; ore deposits. Field trips.

Paleontology | 309

Applies principles, practices, and procedures applied to important fossil invertebrate groups; generalized discussion of plants and vertebrates; elements of biostratigraphy; paleoenvironmental interpretations. Field trips.

Environmental Geology | 330
Application of basic geologic concepts to environmental problems; emphasis on geologic hazards, waste disposal, urban planning, resource policy issues, and environmental trends and programs. Field trips.

Environmental Sampling, Monitoring, and Assessment | 445
Explains EPA-referenced field and laboratory methods for evaluating contaminant levels in terrestrial and ground water systems. Students learn and practice sampling and monitoring techniques and gain experience with chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques.



The Geosciences Department also provides many opportunities for hands-on learning with a network of groundwater monitoring wells on campus. Geosciences majors gain experience through the involvement with local and regional environmental issues, while working alongside real environmental professionals. Learn more about Student Organizations.



The earth science concentration is extraordinarily flexible, as 15 credits of support courses are built into the major. These courses will be selected by the student and his/her adviser in order to develop a focal point related to their geosciences curriculum. The 15 credits are part of the major; therefore, a student electing to complete a minor cannot use these credits for that minor. Typical uses for the support courses include preparation for teacher licensure, law school, M.B.A. or M.P.A. Programs.

The environmental geosciences concentration will prepare you for employment in private sector and various governmental agencies. Upon completion of this concentration, you will have appropriate course work to be eligible for the certification exam as a professional geologist and as a professional hydrogeologist in Wisconsin.

Laura Schulz ('11) took advantage of every opportunity available in the Geosciences Department, including performing atmospheric readings of ozone over the Kenosha harbor; serving as president of the Geosciences Club; and using spring break to do research activities along the Mississippi River, and at Mt. Ranier and Mt. St. Helens. At the conclusion of her undergraduate studies, Schulz received an Outstanding Graduate Award. 

Caren Ackley ('11) received the 2011 Undergraduate Excellence Award from the American Water Resources Association – Wisconsin Section for her work on "Removal of Arsenic and Chromium from Water Using Fe-Exchanged Zeolite." Ackley also won the award in 2010.

UW-Parkside is a member of the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin, a partnership that provides students with opportunities for water-related coursework, hands-on experiences, internships and research opportunities at campuses throughout the UW- System. Learn more at


Dr. John Skalbeck  | 262-595-2490 |

University of Wisconsin System Member
The Higher Learning Commission
Carnegie Foundation Elective Community Engagement Classification
UW Vets - Veterans Education & Transition to Success
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