About Us

The mission of the UMKC Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences is:

To advance and communicate information to students and the community about earth processes
and human interactions with the earth and the environment through teaching, research, and service.

The Earth & Environmental Sciences Department offers coursework in most of the major fields within the Earth & Environmental Sciences, leading to undergraduate degrees in environmental science, environmental studies, geography and geology. The College of Arts & Sciences interdisciplinary program in Urban Studies is also housed in the department.

Our Master of Science Degree in Environmental and Urban Geosciences reflects a distinct departmental focus on application of the Earth & Environmental Sciences to human activities. This unique program prepares students, depending on their area of concentration, for advanced study of different facets of the environment including: environmental issues and geospatial methods, natural hazards, environmental remediation, waste management, air and water pollution, resource evaluation and management, geoarcheology, historical geography and urban land use planning. The department also participates in a visionary interdisciplinary doctoral degree program where the Earth & Environmental Sciences department works with faculty from Engineering, Physics, History, Computer Sciences, Economics, and other disciplines to develop focused degree programs tailored to the needs of the individual student.

Our student body is diverse. Currently half of our graduate students are international – from India, Europe, West Africa, the Far East, and the Middle East. Most graduate students are supported by university-funded assistantships and fellowships and grants to professors, but a significant number of students earn their degrees while employed full-time by consulting firms and other businesses or by governmental agencies.

Our faculty and students conduct research all over the world. Areas currently under investigation by faculty and students include West Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, and North America.


Graduate Admissions

All UMKC admissions applications must be submitted online. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Early application is highly encouraged, but applications will be accepted and reviewed continuously.

All potential graduate students are urged to apply by the following dates:

April 15 (for fall entry)
October 15 (for spring entry)

Applications will be accepted and reviewed continuously.

Application Requirements

Applicants must apply by completing the online application and providing the following:

  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • All undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • GRE score
  • Letters of recommendation
    • For the M.S. program, two academic and/or professional letters of recommendation are required
    • For the IPh.D. program, three academic and/or professional letters of recommendation are required
  • For international applicants, iBT Test of English as a Foreign Language Scores (if applicable)

More information can be found in the UMKC Catalog.

Contact Us

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about our programs.


The College of Arts and Sciences has a dual advising system of general/professional advisors and department advisors designed to help undergraduate students achieve academic success.

Earth & Environmental Sciences faculty advisors help students get the most out of their experience at UMKC by advising them on the specifics needed for their major/minor.

In the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, majors are required to meet with their faculty advisor every semester to discuss degree requirements, devise a plan toward academic success, explore career and post-graduate goals, and discuss questions or concerns they may have.

Advising Appointments

Most Earth & Environmental Sciences faculty advisors see students by appointment only. Some walk-in hours may be available.

Students who have already declared an Earth & Environmental Sciences major or minor should schedule advising appointments through Connect.

Students who are interested in declaring an Earth & Environmental Sciences major or minor should email one of the advisors below to schedule an initial advising appointment.  It is helpful to include days and times that the student is available for ease of scheduling.

To prepare for an advising appointment, students should review their MyPlan Audit and devise a potential course schedule for the upcoming term. Students are also encouraged to bring any scheduling or degree program questions to the advising session.

Geosciences Faculty Advisors

Dr. Caroline Davies, GeosciencesDr. Caroline Davies, Environmental Science & Environmental Studies Advisor
420H Flarsheim Hall
Ph: 816-235-1335
Fx: 816-235-5335




 Dr. Jimmy Adegoke, GeosciencesDr. Jimmy Adegoke, Geography Advisor
428A Flarsheim Hall
Ph: 816-235-2978
Fx: 816-235-5335





 Dr. Tina Niemi, Undergraduate AdvisorDr. Tina Niemi, Geology Advisior
420B Flarsheim Hall
Ph: 816-235-5342
Fx: 816-235-5335


Advising Forms

UMKC’s Major Maps are detailed, undergraduate four-year course outlines that inform students on the classes they should take and when to take them. All Major Maps are updated yearly and are in PDF format.

The department has also put together sample four-year plans that many students find helpful. All sample plans are in PDF format.

CAS Student Services

General UMKC advising and pre-professional program advising is handled by CAS Student Services. Current students should schedule appointments through Connect.

Baja Basins Research

Field and Applied Research on the Gulf of California Rift Margin Basins, Baja California Sur

Applications are now being accepted until October 8, 2019.

Apply by following the link here.

Sedimentology The Baja Basins IRES seeks to provide students with a unique U.S.-Mexican collaborative research opportunity that combines digital field mapping techniques with state-of-the-art laboratory analytical work on the tectonic evolution of the Santa Rosalía basin area in the Gulf of California rift. Few places in the world expose volcanic and marine sedimentary sequences and large uplifted Quaternary terraces that can be used to understand the processes involved in the progressive stages of continental breakup. Because of the rapid tectonic motion in the Gulf of California rift, the Santa Rosalía basin is a site where the stratigraphic history and processes of deformation can be studied in detail with exceptional exposures and accessible outcrops.

We invite applications for a 7-week program divided into a January field trip to México and a July laboratory session held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). During part one, students will do three weeks of fieldwork studying rocks, sediments, and hydrgeology in basins of the Santa Rosalía area mentored by faculty from UMKC, UC-Davis, University of Oregon, Indiana Geological Survey and Mexican collaborators from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur and Universidad de Guanajuato and hosted by the Minera Boleo copper mining company. Fieldwork will be conducted during winter break (intersession) to take advantage of cooler weather and allow time for commercial lab analyses and lab materials to be prepared for the summer component. During part two of the Baja Basins IRES, students will spend four weeks at UMKC compiling and drafting field data, collecting and analyzing lab data, and during the final week, preparing and presenting an abstract and poster.

Minerology Recruiting:

Junior geology majors with a minimum coursework in mineralogy, sedimentology, and field methods. Preference will be given to students from colleges and universities where research possibilities are limited. Spanish speaking students, veterans, women, and students from under-represented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. Students must be enrolled as an undergraduate in Spring and Summer Semester 2020 to be eligible.


Participant award includes:
• Travel to Baja México including room and board at the Minera Boleo Mine;
(January 2 – 22, 2020).
• Travel allowance and housing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City for the
summer session during July 7 – August 1, 2020
• Stipend (for July session at UMKC)


Dr. Tina Niemi  and Dr. Cathy Busby


Apply online

Baja Basins Sponsers

Baja Basins IRES Partners


Old Mine TownOur goal in the Baja Basins IRES is for student participants to increase their scientific inquiry and research skills, to utilize an integrative field and lab research approach, and to learn international cooperation by collaborating side-by-side with Mexican students, professors, and Minera Boleo mining professionals. The common goal is to characterize the tectonic evolution of this economically important rift margin basin in Baja California Sur.

Baja Basins REU Participating organizations:

  1. University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC)—Department of Geosciences (Kansas City, MO)
  2. University of California-Davis (UCD)—Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (Davis, CA)
  3. Minera y Metalúrgica del Boleo (MMB), Santa Rosalía, BCS, México
  4. Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS)—Department of Marine Geology, La Paz, Baja California Sur (BCS), México
  5. Universidad de Guanajuato (UG)—Department of Mines and Geology, Guanajuato, México
  6. San Francisco State University (SFSU)—Department of Earth & Climate Sciences (San Francisco, CA)

Field Site:

Map of BajaThe area of the Santa Rosalía basin, located along the central Gulf of California rift in Baja California Sur Mexico, has not been mapped within the framework of modern tectonic ideas, and thus provides an excellent field location to study the evolution of a rifted continental margin. We propose to study the geologic evolution of this area over the last 22 million years, potentially covering a three-phase transition from intra-arc extension to proto-gulf extension to modern Gulf extension and transtension (e.g. Umhoefer, 2011). The project will develop models for the volcanic, sedimentary and stratigraphic response to rifting, and help to clarify the nature of arc extension and its exploitation by continental rifting. The majority of studies like this have been done in nonmarine basins, probably because the more axial parts of older “successful” continental rifts, where marine fill would be expected, lie deeply buried beneath sag-phase strata. The Miocene-Quaternary Santa Rosalía basin is ideal for this work because it is a young basin whose structural relationship to active spreading centers and transforms has not been modified, and it is very well exposed and accessible. The young age of the Santa Rosalía basin, with its dominantly fossiliferous marine fill, numerous tuffs dateable by the LA-ICPMS U-Pb zircon or 40Ar/39Ar methods, and uplifted terraces dateable by OSL, make it ideal for resolving rates structural development and the resulting depositional systems. This REU site will provide students with an unprecedented opportunity to develop field and laboratory skills in basin analysis and tectonics in a volcanic-sedimentary sequence that is geologically interesting and economically important, within a culturally diverse setting.

Topical Research Groups

(1) Volcanic stratigraphy and volcanology Julie

The structure of the underlying Comondú volcanics in the Santa Rosalía area is not known, nor has the western third of the Santa Rosalía basin been mapped. In fact, there are reports of westward-dipping strata in the western Santa Rosalía basin, and a fault zone along that margin, where there is a prominent topographic escarpment within the Comondú Volcanics forming the west margin of the sedimentary basin. An active volcanic field of the La Reforma-Tres Virgenes lies to the north of the basin. This research group will investigate the volcanic sequences in the basin. Some of the questions that we pose include:

  • What kinds of volcanic deposits and intrusions are present in the region, and what does this tell us about the types of volcanic centers, and their distribution?
  • What was the tempo of construction of volcanic centers, and did faults play any role in their siting?
  • Are the volcanic rocks preserved in fault-bounded basins, volcano-bounded basins, or as constructional edifices? Baja Volcano
  • How could we use volcanic stratigraphy to determine timing and nature of slip on faults?
  • What is the rapidity and nature of lateral variation in volcanic strata, and can we define co-genetic units for correlation?
  • Do regional-scale unconformities exist that could help us divide and correlate volcanic stratigraphy?
  • How rapid was the geochemical transition from arc to rift volcanism, and is this signaled by any changes in volcanic or tectonic style?
  • What do field characteristics and textures in thin section tell us about physical volcanic processes of eruption, transport and emplacement?
  • How does one distinguish primary volcaniclastic rocks from re-sedimented volcaniclastic material, or volcaniclastic material eroded from older rocks, and why is this important?
  • What do the mineral phases, and the relations between them, tell us about the ascent, storage and eruption of magmas?
  • What does the chemistry tell us about mantle and crustal processes in arc and rift magmatic settings?
  • How does one choose minerals and samples suitable for dating by the Ar/Ar or U-Pb zircon method?

(2) Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

The Miocene-Quaternary Santa Rosalía basin is ideal for stratigraphic work because it is a young basin whose structural relationship to active spreading centers and transforms has not been modified, and it is very well exposed and accessible. The basal Boléo Fm with its copper mineralization marks the onset of marine deposition in the Santa Rosalía basin ca. 7-8 Ma during a proto-gulf rifting phase. The overlying Pliocene Gloria Fm (also called the Tirabuzón Fm) and the late ShellPliocene to Pleistocene Infierno and Santa Rosalía formations likely record later phases of gulf extension or transtension. This group will investigate the following questions:

  • What kinds of sedimentary depositional systems are present in the basin?
  • What is their three-dimensional architecture, and how was this controlled by patterns of basin subsidence, sediment supply and relative sea level change?
  • What types of unconformities are present in the basin, and how could they be used for correlating and dating strata?
  • What were the main depositional processes in the basin, and how did they vary in space and time? Possibilities for the origin of Santa Rosalía basin include hanging-wall rift, foot-wall rift, symmetrical rift, transtensional rift, or drift basin; which is suggested by the stratigraphy and structure, and how did the basin change through time (polygenetic basin)?
  • What can petrographic studies tell us about the provenance of sediment in the basin, and how can this be complemented by detrital zircon studies?
  • How can clast-count data be used to reconstruct tectonic or volcanic events?
  • How does one distinguish primary volcanic detritus form detritus derived by erosion of volcanic rock, and why is this important?
  • How do sedmentologists use fossils to date and correlate sedimentary sections?
  • How does a sedimentologist recognize tuffs or lavas suitable for dating a sedimentary section, and distinguish them from later intrusions?
  • How can detrital zircon be used to provide minimum ages on sedimentary sections that lack fossils or dateable volcanic rocks?

(3) Tectonic Geomorphology

Canyon and minesUplifted and folded fluvial and marine terrace are found along the arroyos and shoreline of the Santa Rosalia area. These Quaternary deposits are coeval with volcanic flows and detritus and thus provide a unique opportunity to investigate the sedimentary and deformation history through detailed topographic and geologic mapping and dating. Questions include:

  • When did the mesa form?
  • What does the geomorphology of the mesa surface and stratigraphy of the Santa Rosalía Formation tell us about the paleoenvironment?
  • Are the processes that formed the “mesa” still active, or are other faults and deformation styles active now?
  • What is the distribution and elevation of fluvial and marine terraces? When did the fluvial and marine terraces form?
  • What is the rate and style of the active tectonic deformation recorded in fluvial and marine terraces?
  • How has the rate and style of faulting changed over time?
  • Quaternary deformation appears to be coincident with the onset of the Tres Vírgenes-La Reforma volcanic complex. How is the Quaternary volcanism related to deformation of the basin to the south? What triggered the uplift of the mesa and the coastal marine terraces?

(4) Mineralogy and Mining

Several lines of investigation will be pursued to test previous fluid flow models and ore emplacement, including:

  • What is the trace element variation across the different units of the Comondú Volcanic units?Baja minerals
  • How do the stable isotope concentrations in the volcanics, sediments, and ores vary and what do they tell us about the environment of deposition?
  • Based on fluid inclusion analysis of the mineralized veins, what fluid types were present and what is their source (meteoric, igneous, or sea water)?
  • Are there elemental trends or gradients from west to east that can be related to fluid flow/reaction and localization of fluid outflow zones?
  • What are the depositional processes and controls on distribution and grade of the ore minerals?


Participant award includes:
• Travel to Baja México including room and board at the Minera Boleo Mine;
(January 3 – 24, 2019).
• Travel allowance and housing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City for the
summer session during July 8 – August 2, 2019
• Stipend (for July session at UMKC)


Dr. Tina Niemi  and Dr. Cathy Busby


Apply online at

Baja Basins Sponsers

Become a Student

UMKC Earth & Environmental Sciences students receive academic and career advising tailored to their individual needs.

Most of our courses have a small student to faculty ratio, allowing for more one-on-one interaction between faculty and students and an enhanced learning environment.

Both graduate and undergraduate students have the opportunity to work with faculty that participate in research on the national and international level.

Contact Us

If you have questions about our programs or want to know more
about studying Earth & Environmental Sciences at UMKC, get in touch with us.

Campus Location

The Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences is located on the UMKC Volker Campus in Flarsheim Hall.
Campus maps can be accessed here.

Flarsheim Hall

Office Hours

Flarsheim Hall, Room 420
Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – noon and 1 – 5 pm

Contact Information

Ph: 816-235-1334
Fx: 816-235-5535

Mailing Address

University of Missouri-Kansas City
Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Flarsheim Hall, Room 420
5110 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110

Degree Programs

The Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at UMKC provides a world-class education in the earth and environmental sciences, with both undergraduate and graduate degree options.

Currently, the department offers six undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in the disciplines of Environmental Studies, Geography and Geology,  and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in Environmental Science, Geography and Geology.  A certificate program for undergraduates in Geographic Information Systems is also available.

Students working in the field outsideAdditionally, students can designate an undergraduate minor in Environmental Studies, Sustainability, Geography or Geology.

Learn more about our undergraduate programs.

For students wishing to continue their studies at the graduate level, the department offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental and Urban Geosciences, with three areas of concentration: Environmental Geography and Geographic Information Systems, Environmental Geology, and Urban and Cultural Geography.  The department also offers an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. (IPh.D.) in conjunction with the UMKC School of Graduate Studies.

Learn more about our graduate programs.

Dr. Syed E. Hasan attends MEDGEO 2019

Dr. Hasan SyedDr. Syed E. Hasan, professor emeritus of geology, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, attended the 8th international conference–MEDGEO 2019–held at Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China, August 12-15, 2019. The conference was hosted by the Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the International Medical Geology Association. Dr. Hasan gave a keynote lecture titled “Health impacts of waste management and medical geology”. He also conducted a one-day short course on Medical Geology that was attended by over 50 people representing several countries

Faculty/Staff Directory

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Faculty Research


Geosciences Research Laboratories

Hydrogeology and Environmental Geophysics Laboratory (Room 111)
Professor Jejung Lee
Linux- and Windows-based computers are used for numerical simulation of groundwater and contaminant transport, hydro-geospatial data analysis, and geophysical modeling to characterize groundwater contaminant plumes. Groundwater sampling tools and geophysical exploration equipment such as ground penetrating radar are provided to acquire field data.

Rock Sample Lab (Room 115)
Equipment to prepare cores, thin sections and polished sections of rocks minerals and synthetic materials. The room is also used for research on rocks, minerals, cores, soils and water samples as well as staging for field surveying equipment.

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Lab (Room 401)
Professor James Murowchick
SEM Lab houses a Tescan Vega 3 LMU variable pressure SEM equipped with a Bruker Quantax EDS system and a Tescan color cathodoluminescence detector.  The SEM/EDS system is used for imaging and elemental analysis of a variety of solid sample types, including rocks and minerals, concrete and mortars, electronic and semiconductor materials, synthetic catalysts and pharmaceuticals, and dried biological specimens.  For information on using the instrument, contact Dr. Murowchick at

The lab also houses our Fluid Inc. gas flow fluid inclusion geothermometry stage.  This instrument can heat or cool fluid inclusions in a transparent mineral to determine the minimum temperature at which the fluid was trapped (by heating until the vapor bubble disappears), and to determine the salinity of the fluid (by freezing point depression).  Being mounted on a polarized light microscope, it can also be used to investigate temperature-dependent reactions, melting and crystallization processes.

Geotechnical Testing Laboratory (Room 402)
Professor Jejung Lee
Equipment for graduate student projects on geotechnical testing of materials.

Geoarchaeology, Paleoseismology and Sedimentology (GAPS) Lab (Room 406)
Professor Tina M. Niemi
The GAPS lab houses resources for the study of active earthquake zones and archeologic sites under the supervision of Dr. Tina Niemi, Ph.D. Stanford, author of “The Dead Sea,” Oxford University Press, 1997.  Current projects include research in the Bahamas, the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, Baja California Sur Mexico, and the Himalaya of northern India, among others.

Mineralogy Lab (Room 409)
Professor James Murowchick
The Mineralogy Lab is a teaching/research lab that houses our Rigaku Miniflex automated powder X-ray diffractometer.  The diffractometer is used for routine identification of powdered samples of crystalline materials, singly or in mixtures, such as minerals in rocks, ceramics, concrete and mortar phases, and synthetic crystalline materials.  MDI Jade software is available for processing the XRD data. 
The lab also houses a Nikon Optiphot-pol research petrographic microscope equipped for transmitted and reflected light microscopy, digital photomicrography, and determination of optical properties of crystals using a spindle stage and Excalibr software.  Contact Dr. Murowchick at for requests to use the equipment.

SUN Lab (Room 421)
Professor Fengpeng Sun
This lab houses resources for the study of climate change and climate modeling under the supervision of Dr. Fengpeng Sun. Main research focus is developing climate downscaling techniques and designing high-resolution climate simulations to investigate historical climate and to predict future climate change at regional and local scales. Sun’s lab integrates numerical simulations using Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, statistics and data analysis in research. Current research projects include NSF funded Missouri EPSCoR climate downscaling project, investigation of roles of urbanization in changing urban climate in Kansas City metropolitan area, and climate change impacts and vulnerability/resilience studies. The lab houses two 28-core Linux (CentOS) clusters, 3 workstations and prioritized access to Lewis, a state-of-the-art shared-resource High-Performance Computing (HPC) cluster at University of Missouri.

Molten Experiment Laboratory and Techniques (MELT) (Room 424)
Professor Alison Graettinger
This lab contains a rock melting furnace that reaches 1600 C for experiments with lava. A petrographic microscope with digital camera is set up to gigapixel image mosaics of thin sections. Can be mounted on binocular microscopes as well. This is also the home of sand box experiments and demonstrations for volcanoes and other natural hazards.

Paleoclimatology Laboratory (PAL) (Room 505)
Professor Caroline Davies
PAL features a wide variety of field equipment for the collection of environmental samples. It also has a full range of instrumentation suitable for complete characterization of sediment and biotic specimens in the analysis and reconstruction of past and present environments.


  • Coulter LS200 laser sediment analyzer.
  • UIC coulometer for analysis of TC/TOC/TIC
  • Large drying oven and large muffle furnace
  • Several research grade microscopes with digital imaging
  • Hot plates, magnetic stirrers, analytical balances

Laboratory for Environmental & Atmospheric Processes (LEAP) (Room 506)
Professor Jimmy Adegoke
Research conducted by LEAP principal investigator, research students, postdocs and visiting scholars focuses on understanding drivers of regional climate variability and their interrelationships with diverse indicators of environmental change in mid-latitude and tropical environments. Our work primarily addresses impacts of land use and land use change (LULC) on warm season convective processes in the U.S. Midwest, including ongoing regional climate modeling and climate impact studies in the Missouri River Basin funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). LEAP’s research extends to environmental impact studies on water resources in the Lake Chad Basin and coastal mangrove ecosystems of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Recent work in this area includes modeling studies of changing current and future African climate systems as part of NASA funded research on the linkages between biomass burning and water cycle dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa. Computational and other research resources available in LEAP include advanced climate models, sophisticated observation systems, satellite remote sensing data and a range of quantitative/statistical software tools.

GIS and Remote Sensing Research Lab (Room 507)
Professor Wei “Wayne” Ji
Supports research activities of faculty and graduate students with geographic emphases, studying GIS/remote sensing-based methods for ecological assessment and biogeographic studies, bioinformatics and urban issues. Recent and current projects have been funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The lab also supports international research collaboration.

Financial Support

Pursuing a graduate degree can be a major financial investment. At UMKC, we do our best to offer support and connect students to funding resources.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Many graduate students are supported on Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA). GTAs have various responsibilities for undergraduate students including, but not limited to, teaching laboratory sessions, grading assignments and tutoring.

GTAs receive a tuition wavier and a stipend. To be considered for a GTA position, please submit the UMKC application online no later than February 15.

Applications are considered until all positions are filled. More information can be found on the UMKC Admissions website.

Research Assistantships

Graduate students may be supported on research assistantships, made available by faculty who have financial support through grants or contracts to perform research.

These assistantships allow students to focus solely on research with no teaching responsibilities in the classroom or laboratory.

Fellowship Opportunities

Fellowship opportunities are available for graduate students through UMKC and other institutions. Students are encouraged to apply for fellowships as part of the graduate experience.

Though the list below is not comprehensive, it does give some representative examples of fellowships for which graduate students may consider applying:

Richard L. Sutton, Jr. Geosciences Museum

Geosciences Museum

The Richard L. Sutton, Jr. Geosciences Museum new home is in Miller Nichols Library Room 329.

The museum opened in 1973, when Dr. Richard L. Sutton and UMKC Professor Eldon J. Parizek assembled much of the collection and display units. Sutton, a dermatologist, was an adjunct geology instructor who donated his personal collection of cephalopods (squid-like ocean dwellers) and fluid inclusions (rocks containing liquids) to the museum. An interactive feature allows viewers to tip one such specimen of clear quartz, and watch the trapped primordial water move.

A source of particular pride is the museum’s Crinoid collection. Crinoids, or “starfish on a stick,” were once abundant in downtown Kansas City when the area was ringed by a shallow sea. In 1889, excavators discovered at least 400 crinoid specimens at 10th and Grand. One hundred years later, at the urging of Missouri school kids, then-Governor John Ashcroft made the crinoid the official fossil of Missouri.

Another curiosity is an enormous fulgurite, or “lightening rock.” Lightning generates tremendous heat – as much as 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. When lightning strikes the earth, it fuses the silicon dioxide in its path into tube-shaped glass. The geosciences museum has just such a specimen, found in Clay County, Mo.A large geode in the Geosciences Museum

These and countless other mineral and fossil specimens are available for viewing by the public during the museum’s normal operating hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Group tours can be arranged by appointment.  The museum is located on the Volker Campus in Flarsheim Hall, Room 271, and is curated by Dr. James Murowchick, Professor, and Dr. Richard Gentile, Professor Emeritus.  Much of the museum’s fossil collection was amassed by Dr. Gentile on trips to the Badlands of South Dakota. Through UMKC’s Continuing Education program, Gentile continues to travel with student groups each summer, conducting research and searching for vertebrate fossils.  In his retirement, he has continued showing the museum to visitors and school groups.

For more information, or to schedule a group museum tour, contact us at (816) 235-1334.

Museum is located at

Miller Nichols Library

800 E 51st St, Kansas City, MO 64110

3rd floor

Room 329

Museum hours follow the schedule for Miller Nichols Library. Please refer to the UMKC Libraries Hours link for additional details

Geosciences News

Tina Niemi – Uncovering the past to predict future disasters

To many, boulders scattered on the ground are nothing more than big rocks. But for Tina Niemi, Ph.D., geosciences professor and undergraduate geology adviser at UMKC, boulders often tell a story. It’s an opportunity for her to uncover the underlying geological and environmental history.

“Most large boulders require a high-energy event to move them,” Niemi says. “In the Bahamas, where I teach a field methods class over spring break, we have been monitoring how the coastal environment changes with storms and hurricanes. We’ve discovered that hurricanes can move boulders that weigh tens of tons. Previously, only tsunamis were thought to move this type of megaboulders.”

Read Article at Explore UMKC

Graduate Programs

Choosing where to pursue your graduate degree is one of the most important career decisions you will make. Where you end up will lay the foundation for your future.  The Department of Earth & Environmental Science’s graduate program offers a tailored graduate experience with coursework and research options to accommodate students with varied interests and professional goals.

Our graduate program is an important and integrated part of UMKC, and our students are offered many opportunities to engage with the greater UMKC community through organizations affiliated with the School of Graduate Studies.

The graduate student population of the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences is small, which enables each student to have a personalized, research intensive experience.

Graduate Options

The UMKC Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences currently offers a Master of Science in Environmental and Urban Geosciences  and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in conjunction with the UMKC School of Graduate Studies.

Research Excellence

We are proud of our tradition of excellence in research and many of our former students have gone on to highly successful careers in a myriad of fields.  The department also supports national and international collaborations, as well as partnerships with other programs within the university.

Once you explore our Graduate Admissions requirements, we invite you to visit campus and meet with the department.

Contact Us

Please contact us at if you are interested in learning more about our programs

  • Graduate Advisor and IPh.D. Coordinator: Professor James Murowchick

Graduate GIS Certificate

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related geo-spatial techniques are fast-growing and increasingly applied to almost all sectors of our society. Examples include environmental mapping, urban planning, and public resource management. Officially approved by Missouri Department of Higher Education, this transcripted graduate certificate program offers GIS-related multidisciplinary courses through several academic programs of the College of Arts & Sciences, such as Geosciences, Urban Planning and Design, Sociology, Economics, and Criminal Justice and Criminology. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for a variety of careers in the rapidly growing job market.

Admission Requirement:

This graduate certificate program is open to any students with a bachelor’s or a graduate degree and appropriate academic backgrounds, such as degree-seeking graduate students and non-degree seeking community students.

Learn more about the Graduate GIS Certificate Program

Application (Declaration) Process:

  1. Graduate students who are currently enrolled at UMKC and want to declare a GIS Graduate Certificate may do so at any time prior to completing their graduate degree. The student must complete a Declaration of Major Change form and fill in the “Secondary” section of the form and enter GIS Graduate Certificate in the “Plan field.” Students must get approval from the Geosciences department (see contact below) and return the form to the Registration and Records Office for Processing.
  2. New students who have not been admitted to UMKC and want to pursue the GIS Graduate Certificate are required to fill out the UMKC Graduate Application.

a. Domestic students who apply to this program will be required to provide official transcripts that indicate they have successfully completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.

b. International students who apply to this program will be required to provide the following:

• Official transcripts that indicate they have successfully completed an undergraduate
degree from an accredited institution
• Proof of language ability via TOEFL
• Minimum grade point average of 3.0
• Qualifying financial support via a bank account
• Copy of I94 paperwork
(Before application, the prospective student needs to contact UMKC International Student Affairs for all related matters at

Program Director

Dr. Wei “Wayne” Ji

For admission to the graduate GIS program or our graduate program, contact Dr. Jim Murowchick


Interdisciplinary Doctorate of Philosophy (IPh.D.)

Geosciences is a discipline in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program administered by the School of Graduate Studies.

Note: The discipline-specific requirements listed here are in addition to the requirements listed in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Admissions Procedure and Minimum Criteria for Admission and Minimum Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Academic Regulations and Degree Requirements.

Discipline-Specific Admission Requirements

Specific admission requirements defined by the faculty of the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences follow the guidelines established by the School of Graduate Studies.

Typically, a student would be expected to hold an undergraduate or master’s degree in geology, geography or a closely related field. Opportunities within the department range from the physical sciences to the humanities. Because of the wide range of faculty expertise, and in keeping with the general spirit of the entire interdisciplinary program, the faculty of the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences has deliberately chosen to establish broad guidelines for admission of Interdisciplinary Ph.D. students. All prospective graduate students must attain a GPA of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 grading scale, in all university work prior to admission. Three letters of recommendation from professors as well as a proposal from the prospective student detailing goals and expectations are needed for an evaluation of the application.

 Non-native English-speaking applicants seeking geosciences as a coordinating discipline must demonstrate proficiency in English. This requirement can be satisfied by obtaining English proficiency certification from the UMKC English Department.

Suggested Compatible Co-disciplines

Faculty members in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences conduct research in applied geophysics, atmospheric sciences, climate variability and climate change, cultural and historical geography (Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa), engineering and environmental geology, geochemistry, GIS, historical cartography, geoarcheology, geomorphology, mineral deposits, stratigraphy, and quaternary environments. Suitable co-disciplines for the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program are practically unlimited (see for possibilities). Consultation with the principal graduate advisers for geology and geography would be a good way for the student to explore the possibilities. Previous students have designated co-disciplines of chemistry, civil engineering, computer science, curriculum and instruction, and physics. Other excellent possibilities would include economics, history and sociology.

Core Program Requirements

Specific core program requirements follow the guidelines established by the School of Graduate Studies and are otherwise defined by the student’s supervisory committee in consultation with each individual student.

Other Discipline-Specific Special Requirements

While there is no set minimum number of hours for all students, at least 50 percent of the course credit hours for students who select geosciences as their coordinating unit must be taken in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences. Students who have selected geosciences as a coordinating unit or a co-discipline are expected to take no less than three courses from the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences as determined by their supervisory committee. Other special requirements are defined by the student’s supervisory committee in individual consultation with each student. All geosciences students (coordinating or co-discipline) are expected to successfully complete a qualifying examination in their subject area, devised by departmental faculty, by the end of their first two semesters of residency.

Comprehensive Examination Guidelines

Comprehensive examinations of all Ph.D. students, who select the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences as the coordinating unit, will contain both written and oral components and may include questions from each of the co-disciplines and from related fields as determined by the student’s examining committee. The committee consists of the student’s supervisory committee and others who may be appointed by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

Interdisciplinary Work

The faculty of the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences are committed to an interdisciplinary approach and expect that all Ph.D. students, whether enrolled in the coordinating or the co-disciplinary category, will complete courses and conduct research with this principle in mind.


Principal Graduate Advisor and Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Coordinator: Dr. James Murowchick
Graduate Geography Advisor: Dr. Wei Ji

Meet Our Students

Earth & Environmental Sciences students at UMKC come from all over the world and explore diverse interests. Get to know our students, and you’ll learn what our programs are about.

Joshua Bragg had a job waiting for him as a geologist

Originally from Albuquerque, N.M., Joshua was interviewed in April of 2017, before he graduated from UMKC with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology.

Joshua Bragg in the studio, smiling

Why did you choose UMKC?

I like living in Kansas City – it’s an engineering hub. I enjoy living here for the culture, how active it is and how green it is. There are a lot of districts in Kansas City that offer different things.

I like the smaller class sizes at UMKC. I almost feel like my department, the Department of Geosciences, is like a family. This helped me academically and is helping grow my career.

Speaking of careers, you have a job waiting for you upon graduation. What is it, and how did you accomplish that?

I’ll be a field geologist at Burns & McDonnell.

The key was networking. I spent a lot of time researching local trade groups, attending events and meeting people. Some of those people became mentors, and helped me get this job.

I encourage people to network as much as possible, at least once a month. If something doesn’t happen overnight, it will eventually.

Joshua Bragg in the studio

Why did you choose geology?

I wanted a career in the environmental field and realized the importance of geology in accomplishing this.

The program has some difficult subjects, such as, mineralogy and structural geology. These are the classes that make or break a geology student. But the benefits of the program are obtaining sound, scientific knowledge. There are also lots of educational and fun field trips that allow you to get to know your fellow geologists.

My college program has inspired me to never settle for mediocrity and follow my dreams, no matter how big or small they may be.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I have learned that I have a skill for writing and communication. I also learned that I loved science and rocks.

UMKC helped Aaron Banes discover his passions and path

Aaron is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology.

Aaron Banes in the studio, smiling

Why did you choose your field of study?

I struggled with choosing a field, as many people do. One day I sat down and listed out my interests and considered the related fields. I chose Geology because it has an incredible amount of job diversity. It helped that the geologists that I had met and talked to absolutely loved the field.

Geology’s greatest appeal is also its toughest sell; it requires a very wide scope of knowledge as well as practical skills. There’s a lot to learn to be a geologist, so it’s helpful to have a well-rounded education. The faculty and staff are available and happy to help if there’s any need, of course.

The benefits are that you become good at many things because of its nature as a natural science. Beyond that, previously mundane rocks become exciting! Geology is a good field for people who like to be outdoors and enjoy science. This is thanks to the field work involved with most classes.

Aaron Banes in the studio

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

To apply myself even if my chances are slim. There was an REU (research experience for undergraduates) last semester that had very limited spots and many applicants. I wanted to be a part of it, but I didn’t think I could make it. One of the professors basically told me, “What do you have to lose by submitting an application?”  I went ahead and took the chance and was amazed when I was selected.

What do you admire most at UMKC?

I like that UMKC is accepting of people. The people here are polite and friendly. It makes everything easier when everyone is so pleasant to work with! I’ve found both the student and staff/faculty cultures at UMKC to be great fun as well as professional in every department I’ve had the pleasure to encounter.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental and Urban Geosciences

The Department of Geosciences offers a Master of Science in Environmental and Urban Geosciences, the only such program in North America. This unique program prepares students, depending on their emphasis area, for advanced study of different facets of the environment, including environmental issues and impacts assessment; geospatial methods (GIS and Remote Sensing); natural hazards; environmental remediation; waste management; air and water pollution; resource evaluation and management, climate variability and impacts; geoarchaeology; historical geography; and urban land use and planning. Students are required to complete a core curriculum, a thesis and additional course work in one of the following emphasis areas:

  1. Environmental Geography and Geographic Information Science
  2. Environmental Geology
  3. Urban and Cultural Geography

Admissions Requirements

For full admission to the graduate degree program in environmental and urban geosciences (Code 6, degree-seeking status), the following requirements must be met:

  1. Completion of an undergraduate degree with a major in a geosciences field (such as environmental studies, geography or geology) and a grade-point average of at least
    3.0 (A = 4.0) overall, as well as in the major.
  2. Submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination is not required but highly recommended, although GRE scores may be used to award assistantships.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional referees.

With department approval, students with non-geoscience undergraduate degrees may be admitted on a non-regular degree-seeking basis (Code 6-V). After successfully completing recommended courses for the appropriate undergraduate geoscience degree, including prerequisites, these students may be granted degree-seeking status. Domestic students interested in applying to our Master of Science in Environmental and Urban Geosciences program can apply online by following this link:

International students must fulfill additional requirements and submit their application through the International Students Affairs Office (ISAO). Application instructions can be obtained by following this link:

Graduate Assistantships

Teaching and research assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis to incoming graduate students. Assistantship applications and all supporting materials should be submitted by March 15 for fall enrollment.

Requirements for Retention

  1. For newly admitted graduate students, elimination of all undergraduate deficiencies (if any) in the undergraduate major and its supporting prerequisites is required upon or before the completion of the first 12 hours of coursework for graduate credit. No graduate credit can be given for undergraduate courses taken to remove deficiencies.
  2. All students are required to pass a qualifying examination administered by the department during their first year.
  3. A 3.0 (B) average or better must be maintained in all graduate coursework. In addition, a 3.0 (B) average and a satisfactory balance of grades must be maintained in the approved program of study, or the student will be subject to either probationary status or dismissal from the program. To obtain a copy of the course curriculum including a list of required core and elective courses, please contact the department principal graduate advisor (Dr. James Murowchick at

Requirements for Graduation

  1. Formal acceptance of a planned program of study and research is required by the department and the graduate officer of the College. Such a program must comprise at least 30 graduate credit hours (approved by the supervisory committee), including 3 to 6 hours of thesis credit, and completion of the core curriculum and emphasis area requirements. No more than 40 percent of the program may be 300- to 400-level courses, and at least 18 credit hours must be at the 5000 level or above.
  2. A formal written thesis is required of all students, and its format must be in accordance with guidelines of School of Graduate Studies.
  3. A final examination is required, including oral examination of thesis research and related coursework.
  4. Satisfactory compliance with all applicable requirements of the School of Graduate Studies is required, including continuous enrollment and residency.


Principal Graduate Advisor and Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Coordinator: Dr. James Murowchick
Graduate Geography Advisor: Dr. Wei Ji

Natural & Physical Sciences News

    2017 Winter Commencement Challenges Graduates to Better the World

    UMKC students at graduationApproximately 1,000 University of Missouri-Kansas City graduates, friends and families filled Swinney Auditorium to celebrate the culmination of years of late nights and hard work as graduates claimed their diplomas. The university held three ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 16 and presented two honorary doctorate degrees.


    $300,000 NSF Grant for Climate Research

    Prof. SunAssistant Professor of Geosciences Fengpeng Sun Ph.D. was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. As the principal investigator, Sun will work as an independent researcher on a three-year project, “High-resolution Climate Change Projections in Missouri.”

    Sun’s funded project is part of NSF’s Missouri Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, “Missouri Transect: Plants, Climate and Community”, headed by Prof. John Walker at MU in Columbia. Missouri Transect is a five-year effort to build infrastructure, knowledge and collaborations in research and education across Missouri. As an established climate scientist, Sun brings to the Missouri Transect added expertise in the design of high-resolution regional climate modeling.


    365 students named to College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s List for Spring 2018 Semester

    A total of 365 students in UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences were named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2018 semester. The CAS Dean’s List recognizes excellent academic performance among full-time undergraduate students with a grade point average of 3.85 or higher for the term.


    A Bridge to the Stars

    An innovative pipeline to improve STEM diversity

    Inner-city high school students in Kansas City now have a unique opportunity to learn in a college classroom with a professional astronomer through A Bridge to the Stars Scholarship and Mentoring Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

    The man behind the program is Daniel H. McIntosh, Ph.D., an award-winning professor of physics and astronomy, and a scientist researching the birth and growth of galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope. As a teacher, McIntosh shares his knowledge, and his enthusiasm, to inspire others.


    A Taste of the Real World…in the Baja Basins

    Geology Students displaying posters Undergraduate Research Students Experience Life as Professional Geoscientists

    You’ve heard the stories of eager college graduates applying for their first post-baccalaureate jobs. They have the grades, they have the knowledge, but they don’t have “at least three years of experience” working in their field. Disheartening, right?

    Fortunately, there’s undergraduate research for that. Undergraduate research – along with unique internship opportunities – gives students hands-on experience working in their field of study, and the opportunity to explore potential careers and enhance their professional communication skills.


    Addressing the Cost of Higher Education: Open Educational Resources reduce costs for students, enhance learning

    Male student wearing UMKC shirt with laptopThe cost of higher education is an issue, and one the University of Missouri-Kansas City is addressing.

    As part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, UMKC has had one of the lowest rates of tuition increase in the U.S. during the past decade. And despite this year’s tuition increase of 1 percent, efforts to keep the overall cost of education are continuing, and are working.

    For example, in June 2017, the University of Missouri-Kansas City joined UM System in the Affordable & Open Educational Resources (A&OER) program to save students money on textbooks and other course materials.


    ALMA telescope to unlock mysteries of giant galaxy...

    Phoenix Cluster impression by B. SaxtonTeam used ALMA telescope to unlock mysteries of giant galaxy at the center of Phoenix Cluster

    A team of astronomers including Mark Brodwin, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, have discovered a surprising connection between a supermassive black hole and the galaxy in which it resides.


    Astronomer shares pro tip for finding the best place to watch the eclipse

    From astronomers to outdoor enthusiasts, astrophysicists to laymen — many are giddy about the coming totality of a solar eclipse.

    2017 Solar eclipse path in MissouriBut where to watch it unfold is a question facing eclipse hunters as the Aug. 21 event approaches.

    Daniel McIntosh, a distinguished professor of astronomy and physics at UMKC, has diligently plotted out where he’ll observe the eclipse, and he shared a pro tip that he himself is using to pick out a location: find a hill with a view to the west.

    “So you can see the western horizon,” he said. “You’ll see the shadow as it comes toward you.”


    CAS presents inaugural Royall Professorships

    Normal Royall Distinguished Professor AwardThe UMKC College of Arts and Sciences presented the inaugural Norman Royall Professorships to four faculty members during the College’s 2017 Fall Reception and Awards Ceremony. The Royall Professorship is the highest honor bestowed by the College.

    “As the highest recognition in the College, the Royall Professorship will reward faculty committed to research and/or teaching excellence, creativity and interdisciplinarity,” said Dean Wayne Vaught during the presentation.


    Chemistry Department Celebrates First Phase of Renovated Lab Space

    Beakers and Chemistry equipmentOfficials from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and McCarthy Building Companies recently gathered to commemorate the completion of the first phase of a $21.5 million project to renovate and modernize 75,000 square feet of laboratory space in the Spencer Chemistry and Biological Sciences buildings on the UMKC Volker Campus.

    “Renovating and expanding UMKC’s primary biology and chemistry teaching laboratories enhances our ability to offer outstanding research and academic degree programs in modern sciences at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” said Robert Simmons, UMKC associate vice chancellor of administration. “Modernizing outdated buildings benefits students, faculty and the community, while addressing functionality, enrollment capacity and deferred maintenance needs.”


    Chemistry Graduate competes in Rio!

    UMKC Chemistry graduate Courtney Frerichs (B.A. 2015) follows her dreams and competed in the Olympic games in Rio! See the complete story and how undergraduate advisor Prof. Drew-Gounev helped her make her dreams come true.


    Chemistry professor publishes book on black titanium dioxide

    Xiaobo ChenBlack TiO2 Nanomaterials for Energy Applications. The book, published through World Scientific Publishing, aims to present the recent progress on the research of black TiO2 nanomaterials and how they can be used in a number of clean energy applications.

    The book includes a theoretical analysis of TiO2 research, and provides a comprehensive review of the subject for students, researchers and practitioners in catalytic science, materials science, nanotechnology, green technology and chemistry.


    Colliding Neutron Stars Produce Gold, Silver and Platinum

    A conversation with Mark Brodwin, assistant professor in the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Physics and Astronomy

    Scientists recently witnessed the spectacle of colliding neutron stars. What are they?

    Brodwin: When a very massive star runs out of fuel to burn, it explodes in a huge supernova leaving behind a neutron star or, if the star is very massive, a black hole. A neutron star is a very compact ball of neutrons with the extreme density of an atomic nucleus. A typical neutron star has a mass twice that of our sun, but a size about that of Overland Park. It’s so dense that a teaspoon would weigh about as much as Mount Everest!


    Colorado cartoonist responds to Paris attack

    Colorado Cartoonist Mike Keefe, KUSA-TV 9 news reportDENVER - Longtime cartoonist Mike Keefe is responding to the terrorist attacks against French magazine Charlie Hebdo in the only way he knows how: by drawing.

    After 36 years at The Denver Post, Keefe now draws for the website Colorado Independent, which published his latest cartoon on the attacks.

    "This is exactly what cartoonists do. They see some injustice in the world and they either use humor, irony or drama to make a statement about it," he said.


    Dark? Cold? Here's what to expect with Monday's solar eclipse

    Sky already looks different

    We all know Monday’s eclipse [August 21, 2017] will be a rare sight, and one you should view with safety-approved glasses.

    But if you want to be the smartest person at your eclipse watch party, there’s more you should know.

    Professor Mark Brodwin“It gets dark, and it gets cold, and the wind picks up, and the birds freak out, and you can see stars,” said Mark Brodwin, a UMKC astronomy and astrophysics professor.

    “It’s a very surreal and emotional experience, I’ve read. I can’t wait to experience it myself,” Brodwin said.


    Dr. Syed E. Hasan attends MEDGEO 2019

    Dr. Hasan SyedDr. Syed E. Hasan, professor emeritus of geology, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, attended the 8th international conference–MEDGEO 2019–held at Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China, August 12-15, 2019. The conference was hosted by the Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the International Medical Geology Association. Dr. Hasan gave a keynote lecture titled “Health impacts of waste management and medical geology”. He also conducted a one-day short course on Medical Geology that was attended by over 50 people representing several countries


    Dr. Rebecca Egli (UMKC History BA '08) receives Postdoctoral Fellowship at Linda Hall Library

    Congratulations to Dr. Rebecca (Mowry) Egli on receiving a post-doctoral Residential Fellowship at Linda Hall Library. During her two-month stay, she will conduct research for her current project, "Seeds of Misfortune: Food, Crop Diversity, and the Simplification of American Nature," a history of America’s plant explorers that examines the impact of plant introduction and breeding on agricultural biodiversity and innovation.

    Rebecca Egli FullRebecca grew up in Kansas City and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from UMKC's History Department in 2008. She earned a Master of Arts degree in history from King’s College London in 2010 and a doctorate in history from the University of California, Davis in 2018.

    Exploring intersections between agriculture, science, and the environment, her dissertation, "The World of Our Dreams: Agricultural Explorers and the Promise of American Science," looks at federal scientists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, exploring developments in plant biology and the ecological consequences of importing non-native plants into the United States.

    We are so proud to have Dr. Egli conducting research again in Kansas City!


    Honeywell and UMKC Expand Science and Innovation Collaboration

    Physics Honeywell collaborators Wrobel and LambtonStudents and faculty gain improved access to new technology

    The University of Missouri-Kansas City has signed a master collaboration agreement with Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies (FM&T), creating closer collaboration on research and development of new technology to meet national security needs.

    “UMKC is proud to partner with Honeywell,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “The collaboration will allow us to bring UMKC and Honeywell’s research expertise together, which will not only benefit our students and faculty, but also our national security.”


    UMKC geosciences graduate student researches accuracy of weather forecasts for NASA

    UMKC Geosciences graduate student Forrest Black poses for a photo with a sign welcoming people to NASA's Langley Research Center.Forrest Black isn’t a pilot, but he’s helping to make air travel safer and more efficient.

    Black, a UMKC geosciences graduate student, has been interning as a research assistant at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, since the fall of 2016.

    Black is researching how major weather events impact the National Airspace System (airports, navigation facilities and airspaces of the United States). He wants to develop a tool that will reconstruct the evolution of those events using weather and flight data.


    Infusing Confidence in Undergraduate Researchers

    UMKC PR ClassroomEUReka Math Course Researched Kansas City Water Cutoffs

    Experiences in Undergraduate Research, or EUReka classes, play a critical role in the undergraduate curriculum at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The university takes advantage of its urban location to offer numerous opportunities for students at all levels to gain hands-on research experience that also benefits neighboring communities.


    Kansas City Philanthropist and Children's Health Advocate Receives Honorary Doctorate, Gives Commencement Address

    David Westbrook gives the commencement address during Spring 2018 College of Arts and Sciences Commencement CeremoniesUnhindered by juvenile glaucoma that took his sight at age 17, David Westbrook (B.A. ’71) has proven that vision has nothing to do with one’s ability to see. He founded Corporate Communications Group, a communications and public relations firm he sold before taking his talent and dedication to longtime client Children’s Mercy.

    Westbrook attributes his lifetime of success to his parents and to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His alma mater awarded him with an honorary doctorate at the 2018 College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony, and he gave the address to the graduating class at Swinney Recreation Center on campus.

    “This is not a defining moment, this is a moment of celebration,” said Westbrook, who holds bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology from UMKC. “Defining moments are with your professors and your friends.”


    Kathleen Kilway to Receive STEMMy Award

    Dr. Kathleen Kilway shows students objects in a chemistry lab.Kathleen Kilway, Ph.D., Curator’s teaching professor and chair, UMKC Chemistry Department, will be recognized for her professional and technical excellence by the Kansas City Central Exchange with a STEMMy Award.

    The award will be presented by Central Exchange on Sept. 21 at the 4th Annual Stemmy Awards Luncheon at the Arvest Bank Theatre in downtown Kansas City.


    Leaders in Learning: a celebration of faculty achievement

    University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty who received endowed professorships, promotions, tenure and other awards of distinction were recognized in 2017 with the Leaders in Learning celebration, an evening of dinner and jazz at Pierson Auditorium.

    A video tribute included praise for UMKC faculty from students as well as Kansas City Mayor Sly James.


    UMKC Physics and Astronomy Professor, Mark Brodwin, is a Consultant on the Stars

    KCREP Constellations imageHow can actors become knowledgeable on complex subjects for their plays? They consult with a college professor, of course.

    Mark Brodwin, Ph.D., professor in the UMKC Department of Physics and Astronomy, recently collaborated with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre on their current play, Constellations.


    Over 360 students named to CAS Dean’s List for Fall 2017

    CAS Dean's List Fall 2017A total of 369 students in the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences were named to the Dean’s List for the Fall 2017 semester. The CAS Dean’s List recognizes excellent academic performance among full-time undergraduate students with a grade point average of 3.85 or higher for the term.


    Physics Graduate Student Excels: Kameswara Mantha is a researcher, mentor, scientist extraordinaire

    Kameswara ManthaExceptional is just one word to describe Kameswara Mantha, doctoral student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Physics and Astronomy.

    He is one of five individuals who are vying to be the first physics doctoral graduate at UMKC specializing in astrophysics. He’s making a name for himself through his dedication to physics research, scholarship and mentorship.

    Pure determination and talent brought Mantha to where he is. While physics is Mantha’s passion, the path to a career in the field hasn’t been easy. Owing to the very limited opportunities to pursue physics degrees in his native India, Mantha earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering instead. In order to apply for graduate schools, “I self-taught to take the physics GRE,” Mantha said, and applied to top graduate schools in the United States. However, he was denied admissions by several institutes due to a lack of the right undergraduate degree.

    So, armed with an engineering degree, Mantha joined the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering as a master’s student in August 2014. One day before the scheduled UMKC engineering student orientation, he learned about the UMKC Physics and Astronomy program, which stoked his hopes to pursue astrophysics. In a desperate search for an opportunity, Mantha pondered, “I’m going to try one last time” before approaching Professor Daniel McIntosh in the UMKC Physics and Astronomy Department.


    Syed E. Hasan Receives Fulbright Award

    Syed E. Hasan, Ph.D., UMKC geosciences professor emeritus, has been awarded a Fulbright award to Qatar by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB). Hasan will teach courses in waste management and environmental geology at Qatar University, and offer seminars at other Middle East universities, during the 2016 spring semester

    “Qatar, with its unique marine and desert ecosystems, needs to implement a waste management strategy that is compatible with its natural environment,” Hasan said. “I am looking forward to sharing my expertise in the field of waste management with students and faculty at Qatar University to help them develop a sound waste management plan for their country.”


    UMKC collection offers trip way, way back in time

    KMBC News 9’s Joel Nichols visits the UMKC campus to tell the story of a man’s (Professor Gentile) lifetime love of our areas underground history.


    UMKC Galaxy Evolution Group Assists with Planned Observations with Next Great Space Observatory

    UMKC Galaxy Evolution GroupThe James Webb Space Telescope, the scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is scheduled to launch in the spring of 2020. It is expected to make history as the largest astronomical observatory ever sent into space, and University of Missouri-Kansas City scientists and students will be among those getting the earliest access to it.


    UMKC Geosciences Graduate Student Interns at NASA

    Forrest Black, a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Geosciences, spent this past fall semester interning at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

    As an intern, Black helped develop a tool that can ingest standard weather data and flight trajectory data for analyzing the impact of weather on aviation operations. He will stay in Virginia to work on this project throughout the spring 2017 semester.


    UMKC professor recognized by NASA for work on galaxies

    Mark Brodwin, UMKC Physics and Astronomy Professor A UMKC professor has been recognized for his work studying galaxies.

    Mark Brodwin, associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, won a NASA Group Achievement Award from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

    Brodwin was one of six recognized for groundbreaking research as part of the Massive and Distant Clusters of WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) Survey team, called MaDCoWS, for short.


    UMKC research team receives award for device that may help prevent a nuclear attack


    KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A new tool may soon help the U.S. military stop a nuclear attack, and it was made in Kansas City.

    For the past 8 years, UMKC physics professor, Anthony Caruso, has led a research team of students and professors from UMKC, K-State and University of Missouri – Columbia to develop a new way to find radiation.

    “There’s just not that many options available because there are so many containers and it’s so easy to hide special nuclear material on one of these container ships,” said Caruso.


    UMKC to Present Honorary Doctorates to Outstanding Kansas City-Based Authors

    Dean Wayne Vaught speaks to a faculty member at UMKC commencement in 2016Celebrated Kansas City-based non-fiction authors David Von Drehle and Candice Millard will be honored with honorary doctorates at mid-year commencement ceremonies Dec. 16 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


    VFW puts more “ease” into UMKC’s At Ease Zone

    Lynn Roth, III, Nick Lopez and Ethan Alexander pose for a photo on the new couch in the UMKC At Ease ZoneThe National Headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has put a little more “ease” into the UMKC At Ease Zone. The VFW recently presented student veterans with a much-desired couch for the space, along with a new coffee maker and a networked printer.

    The UMKC At Ease Zone, located on the second floor of Cherry Hall on UMKC’s Volker Campus, supports UMKC student veterans as they transition into community and campus life. The At Ease Zone is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Social Work and the UMKC Dean of Students.



As an Earth & Environmental Sciences student, there are a number of opportunities for involvement outside the classroom. Students interested in pursuing research can engage in independent projects or collaborative projects with faculty. For more information on these research opportunities, please see Research

Want to meet other Earth & Environmental Sciences students? Our Earth & Environmental Sciences Student Groups host events throughout the year to encourage student and faculty interaction.

We are also connected with several Professional Associations that send out information and opportunities throughout the year.

Professional Associations



Our research programs cover the full extent of the geosciences from microbiology to seismology.

We focus on deep scientific problems and timely issues that are associated with the well-being of our society and our planet. These include climate change, energy and water resources, natural hazards, land surface processes, environmental remediation and planetary habitability.

Check out our research program pages and email our faculty for more information.

Student Clubs

AEG LogoGeology Club LogoSEC

Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG)

The Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) contributes to its members’ professional success and the public welfare by providing leadership, advocacy, and applied research in environmental and engineering geology. The UMKC chapter of AEG strives to encourage students to get involved in the national AEG organization by learning about new developments in the environmental and engineering geology field and by meeting professionals currently working in this field.

Networking with professionals, former alumni, and professors has given us the opportunity to host speaker series on various topics related to geology, environmental science, engineering, and more.

Students may apply to join AEG during a designated timeframe each semester. Application materials and deadlines will be provided at the beginning of each semester. For more information about the requirements to join a, please see the national headquarters’ website or contact our chapter faculty advisor, Dr. Jejung Lee at

Geology Club of UMKC

The Geology Club of UMKC welcomes students of all majors to join. You don’t have to be a science major to enjoy hanging out with rocks and fossils! The Geology Club offers fun events that everyone can enjoy! The Geology Club is a group put together for enthusiasts of geology and the geosciences. We offer field trips and activities for experiential learning on geologic topics, as well as volunteer in environmental service projects in the Kansas City area.

In the past, members of our club have participated in river cleanups, day trips, hiking, “Science Nights” at the Kansas City Zoo, and bringing geology to K-12 students in local schools. Sharing our enthusiasm for the geosciences with the greater community is an important aspect of Geology Club!

For more information about the Geology Club, as well as meeting dates and times, please contact the faculty advisor, Dr. Alison Graettinger at

The Student Environmental Coalition of UMKC

The Student Environmental Coalition of UMKC is an all inclusive student group open to all UMKC students with an interest in environmental issues and sustainability.  Activities range from river clean ups to hosting professional speakers in related fields to nature/earth science field trips to social events.  We engage with the university campus directly and work cooperatively with groups/clubs with crossover interest.  Our events based boots on the ground schedule puts leaders and members in direct contact with nature, the community and professionals giving an on the job training experience.

Upcoming events and general information can be found on Facebook

For more information about the Student Environmental Coalition as well as meeting dates and times, please contact the faculty advisor, Dr. Caroline Davies at

Undergraduate Programs

Climate, biogeochemical cycles, and planetary tectonics are the three basic processes that shape the environment. Geoscientists face a unique challenge in seeking to understand the complexity of the Earth’s physical and biogeochemical systems. The surface environment of the Earth is controlled by interactions between the deep Earth, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere. These interactions occur on timescales ranging from picoseconds for chemical reactions on mineral surfaces to the billions of years over which plate tectonic processes and biological evolution operate. UMKC’s Department of Geosciences is at the forefront of scientific discovery in the solid earth, the environmental geosciences and oceanography/climate science. Our faculty and students address critical societal issues, such as climate change and geologic hazards, through research and education.

Undergraduate Options

At UMKC, you will receive cutting-edge undergraduate research opportunities with world-renowned faculty; exposure to theory, experiment/observation and simulation; and have access to numerous connections to career opportunities.

Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts: Geology

The Geology program of the Department of Geosciences includes both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Among the geology faculty are world class scholars and scientists in a wide range of specialty areas in the geosciences and all are fully engaged in mentoring undergraduate students through teaching and research. Geology students receive a broad-based education that leads to a practical basis for professional careers, with excellent post-graduation career prospects.

Specific requirements and tools for planning a degree can be found in the UMKC Course Catalog.

Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts: Geography

Geography encompasses studies in the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.  Pursuing a Geography degree at UMKC equips students to understand our world and the complex interactions of human beings with their natural surroundings.  The Geography program of the Department of Geosciences includes both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.

Specific requirements and tools for planning a degree can be found in the UMKC Course Catalog.

Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Program provides students the highest quality environmental education with a special focus on urban environments and sustainability. In an era of global urbanization the program prepares students to address vital urban environmental issues through a foundation in Earth systems science and a broad multidisciplinary curriculum. The Environmental Studies Program of the Department of Geosciences includes a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science.

Specific requirements and tools for planning a degree can be found in the UMKC Course Catalog.

Geosciences Minors

The Department of Geosciences has several minors.

A minor in Geology, Geography or Environmental Studies allows students outside of the department to obtain a strong background in the discipline. The minor is open to all UMKC students and is particularly beneficial to any student whose career aspirations require a basic understanding of the molecular sciences.

Learn more about the Geosciences Minors in the UMKC Course Catalog.

Academic Advising

As an undergraduate geosciences student at UMKC you will receive specialized academic and career advising tailored to meet your individual needs. It is important to complete a Declaration of Majors Form to officially declare the certificate in order for it to appear in students graduation audits.

Learn more about undergraduate advising for Geosciences students.

Undergraduate GIS Certificate

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related geo-spatial techniques are fast-growing and increasingly applied to almost all sectors of our society. Examples include environmental mapping, urban planning, and public resource management. Officially approved by Missouri Department of Higher Education, this transcripted undergraduate certificate program offers GIS-related multidisciplinary courses through several academic programs of the College of Arts & Sciences, such as Geosciences, Urban Planning and Design, Sociology, Economics, and Criminal Justice and Criminology. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for a variety of careers in the rapidly growing job market.

Admission Requirement:

This undergraduate certificate program is open to any degree-seeking undergraduate students at UMKC with appropriate academic backgrounds. Undergraduate students who want to declare a GIS Undergraduate Certificate are required to be enrolled in a bachelor degree program at UMKC.

Learn more about the Undergraduate GIS Certificate Program

Declaration (Enrollment) Process:

To enroll in the program, student must complete a Declaration of Major Change form and fill in the “Secondary” section of the form and enter GIS Undergraduate Certificate in the “Plan field”. Students must get approval from the Geosciences department (see contacts below) and return the form to the Registration and Records Office for processing.

Program Director

Dr. Wei “Wayne” Ji
Department of Geosciences
College of Arts & Sciences
Flarsheim Hall, Room 420
5110 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64110

Tel: 816.235.1334
Fax: 816.235.5535


Undergraduate Research

Why Undergraduate Research?

Identified as a “high impact” educational practice by researcher George Kuh in his work for the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), undergraduate research is often mentioned by graduates as one of the most significant learning experiences of their college years.

Undergraduate Research has four key characteristics:

  • Faculty and undergraduate researchers/artists/scholars are engaged in mentoring relationships, rather than traditional teacher-student relationships;
  • Undergraduates use research/artistic/scholarly methods that are widely accepted in their fields of study;
  • Undergraduate researchers/artists/scholars make contributions, however modest, to knowledge;
  • Undergraduates disseminate the results of their research and creative activity beyond the classroom.
  • Understanding and applying research methods and ethics while creating new knowledge

The benefits of undergraduate research are innumerable and far reaching.  But what are the immediate benefits for you?

  • One-on-one faculty interaction
  • Hands-on experience in a field of your choice
  • A safe place for intellectual risk-taking
  • Learning to think creatively and developing problem solving skills
  • Understanding and applying research methods and ethics while creating new knowledge
  • Enhancing professional communication skills
  • Exploring potential careers
  • Presenting your work in a public forum with the opportunity for professional feedback and recognition for achievement

Not only will Undergraduate Research help you develop critical-thinking, artistic, experimental design and presentation skills, it will open a world of possibilities. Undergraduate Research participants can do research in a foreign country, apply for Undergraduate Research and national fellowships, and earn academic credit for individual research and creative projects.

The Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences is active and committed in ensuring our student participate and apply for Undergraduate Research programs throughout their UMKC experience. For more information on the types of research programs, please see Undergraduate Research @ UMKC.

Why Earth & Environmental Sciences?

Explore the world. Make a living. Make a difference.

Earth & Environmental Scientists work in the field, the lab, and with computers to seek a greater understanding of Earth. Earth & Environmental Scientists help protect the planet by studying it, learning from it, and predicting what the future will bring. They perform environmental assessments and study global environmental systems. They locate water, mineral, and energy resources. They predict geological disasters. And they offer advice on major development projects. As a geoscientist, you can make a huge impact on the world around you.

Where do Geocientists work? Geocientists find career opportunities in many different fields, including:

  • Climate and global process modeling
  • Environmental remediation and engineering
  • Petroleum and mining exploration and extraction
  • Energy Policy
  • Natural hazards assessment
  • Land use planning
  • Ocean sciences
  • Planetary sciences
  • Paleontology
  • Education (K-12 and university)

Equally diverse are the employers. Successful geocientists graduates from UMKC work for nonprofit organizations, multinational companies, government agencies, high schools, research institutes, and universities.