College of Mines and Earth Sciences


Geology and Geophysics

M.S. in Geology

Program Purpose

The M.S. program in Geology prepares students for a professional career in the Earth Sciences, particularly in exploration and exploitation of mineral, energy, and groundwater resources; and recognition, characterization, and remediation of geologic hazards and of environmental contamination. The M.S. degree is the standard preparation for most private sector geologic careers that involve practical application of earth science knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

  • Mastery of the geosciences sufficient for success as a professional scientist in industry or public service.
  • Completed a significant body of original research, the results of which are actually or potentially publishable in peer-reviewed professional venues.
  • Proficiency in accessing and utilizing the professional scientific literature.
  • Proficiency in oral and written communication of scientific results.
  • Thorough understanding of the origin and composition of the materials that make up the Earth.
  • Thorough understanding of the processes that operate in the Earth’s interior and on its surface.
  • Thorough understanding of geologic time, in both relative and absolute terms, and how geologic time is measured.
  • Thorough understanding of the geologic evolution of the Earth and of life on Earth.
  • Ability to apply principles of mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics to geologic problems.
  • Proficiency in solving field-based problems in Earth science.
  • Ability to engage in lifelong learning and understanding of the need to do so.
  • Understanding of the role of the Earth sciences in helping to solve societal problems related to natural resources, natural hazards, energy, environment and global climate.
  • Understanding of the place of the Earth sciences in the larger picture of intellectual inquiry, including connections between science and history, philosophy, ethics and the formulation of public policy.