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Program: M.S., Geology

Program Description

The master of science program has two options: Geology and Geophysics. These programs are designed to: (1) train individuals with the competence required by the geological profession for employment in industry and government agencies; (2) enable promising students to attain a level of knowledge and research ability necessary for admission to and success in Ph.D. programs; and (3) provide depth and breadth of knowledge, laboratory teaching experience and fundamental research skills essential to students planning to teach geology at the community-college level. Students with strong backgrounds in math and physics and whose research interests and career plans are related to geophysics should choose the Geophysics option. All others should choose the Geology option.

Program Requirements

A. For admission to the M.S. in Geology program:

Please note– we no longer require the GRE for admission.

  1. B.S. degree in Geology or its equivalent.  B.S. degree must contain at least 4 units of field geology courses, to include a significant field mapping experience and a substantial written report.  Students who do not have appropriate course work may be conditionally admitted to the program, but will be required to complete any deficient course work without graduate credit during their first year of residence.
  2. Satisfied the university requirements for admission.
  3. Undergraduate Geology GPA at or above 3.0, or strong written support of a faculty sponsor in the department.
  4. Transcripts from your post-secondary education.

B. For the M.S. in Geology degree:

Completion, with a B average (3.0) or higher, of 30 units of approved graduate study, including a minimum of 21 units of 500 and 600-level courses. Your degree is also based on successful proposal development and completion and successful oral defense of a thesis.

Required core courses (8 units)

  • GEOL 590 Literature Seminar (1)
  • GEOL 694 Graduate Thesis Research Design (1)
  • GEOL 696 Directed Graduate Research (3)
  • GEOL 698 Thesis or Graduate Project (3)

Electives (22 units)
Electives should be selected with approval of the graduate student’s Primary Advisor and Graduate Coordinator from 400, 500, and 600 level courses in Geology or other fields relevant to thesis work. One 400 or 500 level course must include a lab or field component. A maximum of 9 units of 400 level courses may be applied toward the 30 units required for the degree. The choice of electives will vary with thesis topic. (Note: In some cases service as a teaching assistant in the Department may be advised as part of the student’s educational experience.)


contact Dr. Richard Heermance (Graduate Advisor)