Jul 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Geosciences, Non-Thesis Option, M.S.

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Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the M.S. degree program in geosciences will:

  • Evaluate and critique Earth system models displaying a graduate-level of understanding (evaluate in essay exams for courses and research proposal).
  • Develop and defend a research subject and a research plan (research proposal).
  • Execute the research plan to completion with defendable results (thesis progress report).
  • Produce a body of written work demonstrating proficiency in analysis of Earth-system data and research design (thesis and report).
  • Develop geosciences professional profile and skillset.

Program Goals

  • 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 GRE.

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.

General Requirements

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.

Curriculum Requirements

Minimum credit hours outside major discipline 6    
Required credit hours of Practical Experience (internship, faculty-directed research, etc.) 6  
Minimum credit hours of at least 7000-level, excluding Practical Experience 12  
Minimum credit hours in major discipline, excluding Practical Experience 9  
Maximum credit hours in independent study, not including Practical Experience 3  
Maximum credit hours of 6000-level course work 12  
Minimum total credit hours 30  

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.

Graduate Seminar Requirement

Students must also enroll in GEOL 7950  every semester, in addition to any other courses chosen with the graduate program advisor.

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.

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