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.  Students can pursue either a thesis (GEOL 500) or non-thesis option (GEOL 596).  Students wishing to pursue the GEOL 500 option must obtain Advisor approval to apply for the thesis option and have that application accepted by the Graduate Committee.  Students who pursue the GEOL 500 options are encouraged to present their findings at regional, national, or international conferences, and to prepare results for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  Students not applying for thesis option will automatically pursue the GEOL 596 Comprehensive Examination option.

Students doing research in the river

Requirements for the M.S. Geology Degree

Thesis option – 30 units of study • 9 credits graduate core coursework • 15 units graduate electives • at least 6 units of thesis research (G-500)
Non-thesis option – 30 units of study • 9 credits graduate core coursework • 21 units graduate electives • culminating comprehensive exam (G-596)

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 (9 units)       

   (Courses in parentheses are prerequisites)                                                                             

Required of all students:

  • (3) GEOL 200 Graduate Research Methods Seminar
  • (3) GEOL 275 Quantitative and Numerical Research Methods
  • (3) GEOL 290 Regional Geology of the Western United States (GEOL 120 or equivalent)

Graduate electives (15-21 units)

   (Courses in parentheses are prerequisites)

  • (3) GEOL 204 Contaminant Hydrogeology (CHEM 1B and CHEM 6B or CHEM 20)
  • (3) GEOL 208 Groundwater Modeling (GEOL 127, MATH 45)
  • (3) GEOL 210 Field Characterization of Aquifer Systems (GEOL 127 and CHEM 1B or instructor permission)
  • (4) GEOL 212 Geologic Remote Imaging (PHYS 5B or PHYS 11B or equivalent; GEOL 102, GEOL 110A or equivalent; and proficiency using a personal computer)
  • (3) GEOL 218 Applied Geophysics (PHYS 5B or PHYS 11C and GEOL 112)
  • (3) GEOL 220 Surficial Processes (GEOL 120 or equivalent)
  • (3) GEOL 227 Advanced Hydrogeology (GEOL 127, graduate level status in Geology)
  • (1-3) GEOL 240 Special Topics (Varies with each special topic course)
  • (3) GEOL 293 Engineering Geology (GEOL 193C or equivalent)
  • (1-4) GEOL 299 Special Problems in Geology (Graduate-level status in geology, approval of project by a faculty sponsor and Department Chair; instructor permission)

Culminating Requirements (0-6 units)

Choose one of the following culminating requirements:

Plan A: (6) GEOL 500 Master’s Thesis.  Students wishing to pursue the GEOL 500 option must obtain Advisor approval to apply for the thesis option and have that application accepted by the Graduate Committee.  Students not applying for thesis option will automatically pursue the GEOL 596 Comprehensive Examination option.

or

Plan B: (0) GEOL 596 Comprehensive Examination.        


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.