The Department of Earth & Space Science offers four different minors for students to choose from. Students wishing to pursue a minor are required to complete the following courses:

ASTRONOMY MINOR (18 credits)

  1. ESS 111 Other Worlds, Other Stars; ESS 112 Galaxies and Cosmology; or ESS 311 Intro to Astronomy (up to two of these courses may count towards the minor)
  2. SCB 210 Origins of Life and the Universe
  3. ESS 307 Geology of the Solar System
  4. ESS 355 Intermediate Astronomy
  5. ESS 362 History of Astronomy
  6. ESS 491 Independent Study

Students are required to complete 3 credits of independent study with a faculty member. The exact nature of the research will be determined by the student and faculty member. A wide variety of projects are available. Past projects have included working with observational data from astronomical satellites such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory, performing individual observations using the WCU Observatory, and working on public education and outreach projects in the WCU Planetarium.


  1. ESS 101 Intro to Geology
  2. ESS 111 Other Worlds, Other Stars
  3. ESS 330 Intro to Oceanography
  4. ESS 370 Intro to Meteorology
  5. Two additional ESS courses

GEOLOGY MINOR (18 credits)

  1. ESS 101 Intro to Geology
  2. Five additional ESS courses*

*A faculty advisor will suggest the most appropriate courses based on the students interest and goals.


Completion of 12-credit generalist area consisting of the following courses:

  1. SCI 101 The Carbon Cycle or SCI 102 Electricity with Physical and Biological Applications
  2. BIO 100 Basic Biological Science; or BIO 110 General Biology
  3. CHE/CRL 103 General Chemistry I or CHE 107 General Chemistry Health Sciences
  4. ESS 101 Intro to Geology
  5. PHY 130 General Physics 1
  6. BIO 102 or ESS 102 Humans and the Environment; or SCB 210

Additional 18 credits of advanced course work in the following areas:

  1. BIO 204 Introductory Microbiology; BIO 214 General Microbiology; BIO 215 General Botany; or BIO 217 General Zoology
  2. CHE/CRL 104 General Chemistry II or CHE 230 Organic Chemistry
  3. ESS 201 Field Geology; ESS 204 Historical Geology; ESS 301 Environmental Geochemistry, ESS 307 Geology of the Solar System; ESS 330 Intro to Oceanography; ESS 331 Intro to Paleontology; or ESS 370 Intro to Meteorology
  4. PHY 140 General Physics II