Graduate Students

Modern geoscience careers are highly technical; an advanced degree is the key to building a rewarding and challenging future. Graduate study involves independent work on a research project you develop with a faculty advisor. Potential employers are looking for people that excel at this type of work and are broadly trained in the sciences. The exact topic of your research is not critical; our M.S. and Ph.D. recipients in all research areas compete well for a range of jobs.

Some of our graduate students go on to academic careers: Our recent alumni hold faculty positions at many institutions including Caltech, University of Oregon, University of Miami, Miami University of Ohio, University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, University of Science and Technology of China, Tennessee Tech, and Illinois State University.

Others choose careers in industry after earning either an M.S. or a Ph.D. The oil and gas industry has been recruiting aggressively at Illinois and many of our recent graduates are finding rewarding work in exploration and research. Environmental consulting firms also hire our graduates, and others work forgovernment agencies such as the Illinois State Geological Survey.

An independent research project, developed under the mentorship of a faculty member, becomes the centerpiece of each student's work. For more about the structure of the program, see the Graduate Handbook.

Student filling a gas tank. 

Students diving

St. Clair River morphology.

Illinois Geology Graduate Program

Being part of one of the nation's top ten public research universities, we have extensive resources, enabling graduate students to conduct research at the cutting edge. Our department combines with other departments on campus to offer exceptional opportunities. Our program covers a wide range of areas, from sedimentology to studies of the earth's inner core. Visit the Research Areas page to find information about areas that interest you.

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs both involve coursework, especially in the initial phases, to bring students to the state of the art in their chosen speciality. There are also opportunities to broaden one's background and take field courses.