Apr 16, 2024  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Earth Science Teaching Licensure

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Dr. Stephen A. Leslie, Department Head

Phone: (540) 568-6130                                                                 
Email: lesliesa@jmu.edu
Location: Memorial Hall, Room 7335                                           

S. Baedke, L. Eaton, L. Fichter, L. Kearns, S. Leslie, E. Pyle, K. St. John, S. Ulanski, S. Whitmeyer

Associate Professors
J. Haynes, E. Johnson

Assistant Professors
Y. Admassu, R. McGary

C. Kearns, S. Whitmeyer


Our mission is to serve two vital needs of the JMU students. First, the majors in geology present high-quality programs of specialized study focusing on Earth materials, internal and external Earth processes, analysis of Earth history and application of geology to environmental and engineering issues. In support of this mission is a commitment to foster the ability to think analytically and to communicate both within the discipline and with non-scientists. Course work and research experiences prepare the student for postgraduate study or professional careers that are subject to rapidly changing societal needs. Second, our department strives to enhance the university’s general education program by offering timely and challenging courses that provide insight into Earth processes and human-environment interactions. These courses promote life-long liberal learning by fostering critical thinking and an awareness of natural science.


Provide a stimulating, intellectual environment for students in geology and environmental science that will generate interest and enthusiasm for learning and will provide a solid foundation for graduate work and careers in geology and environmental science.

Teach science as science is practiced. Since the advancement of scientific knowledge often occurs within a social context – collaboration among scientists, conferences, seminars – the goal is to develop a similar mode of operation for the geology program.

Provide high-quality, relevant general studies courses within the discipline that focus on the fundamental science in the societal context (e.g., environmental change, climate change, hazards). These courses will incorporate critical thinking and an appreciation of human-environment interactions.

Career Opportunities

  • Earth Science Teacher
  • Engineering Geologist
  • Environmental Geologist
  • Environmental Scientist/Specialist
  • Geochemist
  • Government or Industry Geologist
  • Geological Oceanographer
  • Geomorphologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Meteorologist
  • Science Museum Curator
  • Paleoclimatologist/paleoceanographer
  • Paleontologist
  • Petroleum Geologist
  • Soil Scientist

Co-curricular Activities and Organization

The department encourages majors and minors to participate in the student Geology Club, which sponsors field trips, camping excursions, and hosts educational activities for elementary school students. Geology majors are encouraged to apply to be laboratory teaching assistants and research assistants for faculty in the department. Majors and minors are also strongly encouraged to become members of one or more of the following geoscience organizations and to present their research at the affiliated regional or national meetings:

  • Geological Society of America (GSA)
  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)

Teaching Licensure

Students interested in becoming teachers must meet specific curriculum requirements in their major as part of the undergraduate academic degree. The B.A. in Earth science includes state course requirements in astronomy, meteorology and oceanography, to total no less than 32 hours in the Earth sciences (including geology) and a minimum of 16 hours total in physics, chemistry and biology.

In addition to the general education and academic major requirements, Earth science majors desiring secondary teacher licensure must be admitted to the pre-professional program in secondary education at the undergraduate level and complete the graduate level Master of Arts in Teaching degree.

It is critical that students seeking teaching licensure consult regularly with both their education adviser and their major adviser to support their progression through the programs. For a full description of the program in secondary teaching, refer to the Department of Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education , in addition to the College of Education .


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