Master of Science Degree Programs

The Master of Science Degrees are designed to give students a solid background in geology, skills that can be applied in geology-related industry or teaching, experience in research and, in most cases, experience in teaching. The department offers three options for the M.S. degree.

The Standard Option awards the degree of M.S. in Geology. This option requires the completion of a thesis. It is the most commonly used option, and is designed for students who will pursue geological careers in research or industry, or who plan to continue graduate study toward a Ph.D. Most oil companies, for example, prefer to hire students who have completed a thesis, because of the valuable experience that students gain by doing thesis research. This option is designed to be completed in about two years, though students who enter the program with a sparse background in geology may need additional time.

The Applied Geology option also awards the degree of M.S. in Geology. It is designed for students who plan to enter an area of applied geoscience (e.g., engineering geology, hydrogeology, applied geophysics, environmental geology). This option can be completed in about 1.5 years by students who enter the department with no deficiencies, but generally will take 2 years. Students pursuing this degree option do not write traditional theses. As many employers expect M.S. recipients to have completed a thesis, this option is not commonly used.

The Teaching of Earth Sciences Option is a separate degree program designed for students who will teach at the secondary school level, and requires education classes and other sciences in addition to geology. It awards an M.S. Degree in the Teaching of Earth Science.

See the Graduate Handbook for detailed information.