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Program: M.S., Geophysics

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, Geophysics Option program:

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

  1. B.S. in geology, geophysics, physics, or its equivalent. Students who do not have the appropriate course work will be conditionally admitted to the program, but will be required to complete any deficient course work without graduate credit during the 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, Geophysics Option 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. Each student will be advised by a Graduate Advisory Committee consisting of three or more faculty members.  The Graduate Advisory Committee will guide the student in the proper selection of courses related to the student’s main field of interest to assure that an integrated body of knowledge is obtained. The student must obtain initial approval from the Graduate Advisory Committee for the thesis topic selected.

Required Courses (7 units)

  • GEOL 694 Graduate Thesis Research Design (1)
  • GEOL 696 Directed Graduate Research (3)
  • GEOL 698 Graduate Thesis (3)

Electives (21 units)
Electives should be selected with approval of the graduate student Primary Advisor and Graduate Coordinator from 400, 500, and 600 level courses in Geology, Physics, Math, Engineering 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. A list of possible choices (although not exhaustive) is presented here. 
(Note: In some cases service as a teaching assistant in the Department may be advised as part of the student’s educational experience.)

  • GEOL 464/L Applied Geophysics
  • GEOL 595-R Current Research 
  • MATH 481A Numerical Analysis
  • ME 490 Fluid Dynamics         
  • PHYS 420 Modern Optics
  • PHYS 431 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 465 Experimental Physics III