Master of Science Programs
The Master of Science degree programs in geology and geophysics are intended primarily for those students who plan careers in the petroleum industry, minerals industry, environmental- and hydrogeologic-related businesses, and with state and federal government agencies. Traditionally, this degree level has been favored for professional-level work. The Master of Science degrees in geology and geophysics each are comprised of 26 hours of graduate credits and four hours of thesis credit. The goals of the M.S. degree programs are to prepare students for careers in geology or geophysics by: (1) providing a broad background in the earth sciences and related sciences and engineering fields through course work; and (2) encouraging critical thinking and analysis in the solution of geological and geophysics problems through independent thesis research.
Each candidate for the Master of Science degree in geology is required to complete one course in three of the following core areas: geochemistry, geophysics, igneous/metamorphic petrology, stratigraphy- paleontology, sedimentary petrology/sedimentology, and structural geology. In addition, the student is required to complete one approved course (carrying graduate credit) outside geology in science, mathematics or engineering; approval for this outside course must be given by the student's major professor.
The Master of Science degree in geophysics also requires completion of 26 semester hours of coursework and four hours of thesis. To ensure breadth in the student's program, the graduate program must include at least one graduate course in geology and three courses in geophysics.
An original, independently executed research thesis is required to successfully complete M.S. degrees in both geology and geophysics. Normally, a research topic is selected by the student in consultation with a faculty adviser during the second semester of residence. Although the research topic can include any field of geology or geophysics, most students elect to work closely with a faculty adviser on a problem in the advisor's research specialty. The research projects selected by M.S. students are expected to lead to presentations at regional and national meetings and papers in national and international journals.