Academic expertise. Research prowess. Student success.

There’s a whole world of discovery in the ground beneath your feet. From the shifting of tectonic plates to the eruption of volcanoes, learn about the Earth and all of the natural processes that have shaped it over time.

Department faculty, researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate students pursue field, laboratory, experimental, and modeling studies of geological and environmental problems around the world. The department's excellent facilities and technical personnel support a range of methods and the department's ideal location also provides ready access to the many natural laboratories of Nevada, California and the western United States. Research specialties include Earth and planetary surface processes, geodynamics, volcanology, geochemistry, petrology, earthquakes and seismology, mineral and energy resources, hydrology and hydrogeology.

Why choose our programs?

Wendy Calvin instructs two students on how to use a research instrument.

Dedicated faculty

Our leading research-active faculty receive funding from national and international agencies, providing graduate students with a thriving work environment, valuable hands-on experience, and financial support to pursue their own research.

Lake Tahoe sunset.

Rich outdoor environment

Our campus is less than an hour away from some of the most beautiful and geologically interesting landscapes in the country, like Lake Tahoe and the Black Rock desert. We learn in an environment that encourages exploration and recreation.

A group watches on as a man flies a drone with a mountain backdrop.

Facilities & instruments

Our graduate students enjoy a full complement of modern facilities, instrumentation, laboratories and technical support personnel, all paired with the many natural laboratories of Nevada, California and the western United States.

Department news

Astronaut and flag in the foreground with Earth in the background far away.

Apollo 17 astronaut, scientist and moonwalker Harrison Schmitt visits University March 31

The Discover Science Lecture Series continues with a visit from Apollo 17 astronaut and scientist Harrison Schmitt who stepped off the Moon's surface on December 19 during the last lunar visit.

Nick Zentner (left panel) wears headphones in front of a chalkboard. Stacia Gordon is sitting in the right panel.

YouTube becomes SciComm avenue for geological sciences professor

Stacia Gordon has been featured in several videos on CWU Professor Nick Zentner's YouTube channel.

Brown (left) and Vahidi are wearing goggles and are in focus in the background, with lab equipment out of focus in the foreground.

Mission Support and Test Services supports undergraduate research

Student researchers studied security in a variety of fields.