Master of Science Degree Program

The Department of Geology offers the MS degree to students who are either seeking to improve their professional qualifications, or seeking preparation for advancement to a PhD program. A key element of the program is independent thesis research, which can be carried out in a number of different fields. Students are encouraged to present their findings at regional, national, or international conferences, and to prepare results for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Students doing research in the river

Requirements for the M.S. Geology Degree

30 units of study • 9 credits graduate core coursework • 15 units graduate electives • at least 6 units of thesis research Course credits remain active for 7 years, after which they will no longer count toward the degree. Elective courses normally consist of 200 level geology courses, although up to 6 units of approved upper division undergraduate course work may be counted toward the degree. Undergraduate courses used to make up a deficiency will not be counted as electives toward the graduate degree. Undergraduate courses used to meet a core undergraduate requirement for students without a geology degree will not be counted as electives toward the graduate degree. Students pursuing a course of study beyond that covered by regular course offerings should inquire with their faculty advisor on the availability of individual study opportunities (Geol 299)

Required Core Courses

  • GEOL 220 Graduate Research Methods (3 units)
  • GEOL 220 Surficial Processes (4 units)

Other Graduate Courses for Core Requirement

  • GEOL 212 Geologic Remote Imaging (4 units)
  • GEOL 227 Advanced Hydrogeology (3 units)
  • GEOL 218 Applied Geophysics (3 units)
  • GEOL 240G Engineering Geology (3 units)

Electives (In addition to above core courses not applied to the core requirement)

  • Geol 202 Aqueous Geochemistry (3 units)
  • Geol 204 Contaminant Hydrogeology (3 units)
  • Geol 208 Groundwater Modeling (3 units)
  • Geol 210 Field Hydrogeology (3 units)
  • Geol 230 Seminar in Geology (3 units)
  • Geol 240 Special Topics (1-3 units)
  • Geol 240A Environmental Modeling
  • Geol 240B Natural Hazards
  • Geol 240C Advanced Volcanology
  • Geol 240D Field Volcanology
  • Geol 240E Applied Structural Geology
  • Geol 240F Special Topics in Hydrogeology
  • Geol 240G Engineering Geology
  • Geol 240H Experimental Topics in Advanced Geology
  • Geol 299 Special Problems in Geology (1-4 units)

Requirements for Admission

  • A degree in Geology, or 24 units of equivalent upper division course work in geology which must have been passed with a grade of “C-” or better and includes: Physical Geology, Physical Geology Laboratory, Mineralogy, Sedimentology/Stratigraphy, Igneous/Metamorphic Petrology, Field Geology, Structural Geology. These core undergraduate courses cannot be used as graduate electives by students who do not hold a degree in Geology or equivalent.
  • A minimum 2.75 GPA in all geology, chemistry, math and physics courses, and a minimum 3.0 GPA in upper division geology courses
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic record and professional capabilities, sent directly to the department
  • A brief statement of interest, faculty sponsorship, area of specialty and long-term goals
  • Two semesters of inorganic chemistry with a lab (CHEM 001A and CHEM 001B);
  • Two semesters of physics with a lab (PHYS 011A and PHYS 011B or PHYS 005A and PHYS 005B)
  • Two semesters of math (MATH 030 and MATH 031)

Students who have deficiencies in Admission Requirements that can be removed by specified additional preparation may be admitted with conditionally classified graduate status. Any deficiencies will be noted in a written response to the admission application. You must be admitted to the degree program before graduate level courses will count toward the degree.