Geological Sciences M.S. Admissions
Choose Between the Thesis and Non-Thesis Options
The Geological Sciences Department offers the Master of Science (M.S.) degree with both thesis and non-thesis options. Incoming graduate students should indicate on their application form and cover letter which option they intend to pursue graduate studies.
- M.S. in Geological Sciences (Thesis) Program Code: MS3321
- M.S. in Geological Sciences (Non-Thesis) Program Code: MS3324
To receive full consideration for funding decisions, all application materials must be submitted by Feb. 1. Review of applications begins Feb. 1. Applications received after that date will be reviewed but may not receive the highest priority in funding and acceptance decisions. Note: Students who do not complete their application by Feb. 1 should definitely complete the application process.
Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact potential advisers for advice and guidance about applying. It is acceptable to contact multiple professors to ask about their research program and to seeking guidance. Emails are always welcome. See Graduate Research Opportunities and Faculty Research Areas.
To receive full consideration, all application materials must be submitted by April 1 for Fall or by Sep. 1 for Spring entry.
Applicants are responsible for reading and understanding the admission policies and procedures in the Graduate Catalog.
- Bachelor's Degree: Applicants are expected to have a bachelor's degree in geology, environmental geology, earth sciences, or closely related degree from an accredited institution or equivalent. The department does consider applicants from other sciences if their background and research interests are aligned with a professor or the program. For instance, Drs. Dan Hembree and Alycia Stigall have advised students possessing undergraduate biology degrees. As graduate students within the program, these students took additional courses to give them an adequate geological foundation to earn an M.S. in Geology.
- Recommended Coursework
- Applicants generally are expected to have completed the equivalent of a year of chemistry and physics prior to enrolling.
- Applicants generally are expected to have successfully completed an integral calculus course.
- Applicants should have completed coursework in mineralogy, petrology, sedimentology-stratigraphy, structural geology, geomorphology, paleontology, and field methods/camp. However, the requirements differ for students seeking a geology versus an environmental geology degree with hydrology and geochemistry courses substituting for one or more of the listed courses.
- Students can clear geology deficiencies, such as not having taken petrology, by taking the course(s) as a graduate student in the program. The minimum acceptable grade for making up deficiencies is "B." In general, deficiency courses do not count toward the six graduate-level courses needed for an M.S. degree, although one course can be counted if certain conditions apply. Prospective students are encouraged to talk to the Undergraduate Chair or their prospective adviser about clearing deficiencies.
- GPA: Applicants must have a 3.0 (B) or higher GPA to be eligible for financial support. It is possible to be accepted with a sub-3.0 GPA as an unsupported, probationary graduate student if the applicant has shown potential in other ways. The graduate chair can answer questions about this possibility.
- GRE: Not required.
- Personal References: Three personal references are needed. They can be former employers, instructors, advisers, or persons otherwise having had a professional or academic experience with you.
- Letter of Intent: Applicants are required to write one- to three-page letter giving a brief summary of their background and why they are interested in geology and a master's thesis. (Err on the longer side.) Ideally, the letter writer will tell faculty what areas of geology the applicant finds most interesting. But the letter must specify one or more professors with whom the applicant would work and what the applicant finds interesting about the professor's research.
- Campus Visit: No, a campus visit is not required, but the faculty encourage and assist with visits.
- English Language Testing: TOEFL 80 (iBT) or IELTS 6.5 minimum across all bands