Students who complete the M.S. degree program in geosciences will:
- Develop advanced content knowledge and technical skills in geosciences;
- Possess the ability to develop, recognize and test hypotheses in specific areas of earth sciences;
- Develop skills for effective communication of research; and
- Develop testable research goals and implement experimental tests.
Requirements for admission to the Graduate School, including English proficiency, may be found in the Admission section of this Bulletin.
In addition, applicants to graduate program in geosciences must also be approved by the graduate advisor and satisfy the following requirements:
- A bachelor’s degree in natural science, physical science, mathematics, or engineering.
- An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0. Students who do not satisfy this requirement but have at least a 3.0 G.P.A. in their major field may be admitted on probation at the discretion of the graduate advisor. Probationary status is removed by completing nine credit hours of approved graduate study with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher in one semester for a full-time student and within three terms for a part-time student.
- Letters of recommendation from at least three professors or former supervisors who are familiar with the applicant’s work performance and academic potential.
- An acceptable score on the Graduate Record Examination.
If an applicant’s undergraduate major is not in one of the geological sciences, the student may be required to take appropriate undergraduate geosciences courses, as determined by the graduate advisor, before reevaluation for admission. These deficiencies may, under certain circumstances and with the approval of the graduate advisor, be made up after admission to the Graduate School.
Exceptional applicants with English proficiency scores below published minimums may be admitted conditionally and required to take deficiency courses in English or retake the English proficiency examination.
A 3.0 grade point average is the minimum required to remain enrolled in the program.
No graduate credit is allowed for a course in which a grade lower than C has been received. Thesis/master’s report grades are recorded on a pass-fail basis and are not computed in grade point averages, although a grade of S (Satisfactory) in all thesis/master’s report credit hours is required.
Initial advisement of master’s program students is by the departmental graduate advisor. Students are expected to select a general research area and to make arrangements with a research advisor during their first year. The research advisor approves the remainder of the course of study and supervises the student’s research.
Courses taken for graduate credit in this program shall be selected from those offered by the Graduate School and are subject to the approval of the student’s advisor, the thesis committee, and the graduate advisor. Students with a concentration in environmental geoscience may take up to six hours of courses offered by the College of Law. These courses must be taken pass/fail and must be counted as courses outside the major discipline.
|Minimum credit hours outside major discipline
|Required credit hours of thesis
|Minimum credit hours of at least 7000 level, excluding thesis
|Minimum credit hours in major discipline, excluding thesis
|Maximum credit hours of independent study
|Maximum credit hours of 6000-level coursework
|Minimum total credit hours
Students may be required to complete prerequisite undergraduate courses and remove deficiencies without graduate credit, resulting in a program of more than 30 credit hours.
Supporting Courses for Graduate Geosciences Curricula
The inclusion of courses from this list into graduate Geoscience program requirements requires the permission of the student’s research advisor and the professor of record. Enrollment in courses outside of the student’s home department is not guaranteed and additional pre-requisite coursework may be required before the courses listed below could be added to a student’s schedule.
Under the guidance of the research advisor, the student will prepare a thesis research proposal acceptable to prospective committee members. This must occur by the end of the second semester in the master’s program. The student will also present his or her research proposal orally to the thesis committee.
The thesis committee consists of the research advisor, acting as chair of the committee, and a minimum of two other graduate faculty members. At least one member of the committee must be from outside the specific area of research; one member may be a recognized expert in the research area from outside the University. The thesis committee is recommended by the advisor, after consultation with the student, to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval.
On completion of the research, the student will write a thesis that conforms to the Graduate School’s guidelines. With the advisor’s approval, a draft of the thesis will be forwarded to the other members of the thesis committee for examination and review. After the thesis has been reviewed and judged ready for defense by the advisor and all members of the thesis committee, the student must pass an oral defense of thesis. The oral defense will cover the research work and content of the thesis. A reading copy of the thesis that has been judged ready for oral defense by the advisor must be delivered to all members of the committee at least 14 calendar days before the date of the oral examination. The oral defense should be scheduled for a date at least one week prior to the start of final examinations in any given semester, but a student planning to participate in commencement at the end of the spring semester must complete the oral defense and deposit the final, typed version of the thesis in the library by April 15.
Published Manuscript Option
A student enrolled in the thesis option master’s program may, with the approval of the thesis committee, submit a manuscript that has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal as a substitute for a formal thesis. The manuscript must be approved by the committee, and the student is required to document acceptance of the manuscript for publication. Although not required, it is expected that the thesis committee will be involved in the review and revision of the manuscript prior to publication. The committee may require that the student include appendices in the final document in order to preserve data and techniques that are not described in the manuscript. The final document must include the manuscript, in journal format, or a copy of the published paper, plus any required appendices. After the manuscript has been reviewed, and judged ready for defense by the advisor and all members of the thesis committee, the student must pass an oral defense.
The oral defense will cover the research work and content of the manuscript. A copy of the manuscript, and the appropriate appendices, must be delivered to all members of the committee at least 14 calendar days before the date of the oral examination. The oral defense should be scheduled for a date at least one week prior to the start of final examinations in any given semester, but a student planning to participate in commencement at the end of the spring semester must complete the oral defense and deposit the approved manuscript and appendices in the library by April 15.