Master of Science in Geology

The Master of Science in Geology program is designed for graduate students who want to study economic geology or mineral exploration and make a contribution to our understanding of ore deposit geology. The degree is awarded to candidates who have passed an integrated course of study comprising course work and research, including the preparation of a thesis. The degree program typically requires two years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree. While the Bachelor of Science represents the entry requirement for positions in the global mineral and exploration industry, a Master of Science in Geology degree is required for most management positions. The Master of Science in Geology degree is a requirement for careers in academia and government.

Program Information


The Master of Science in Geology program requires 36 semester hours of course and research credit hours (a maximum of 9 credit hours may be 400-level course work). Twelve of the 36 credit hours must be research credits. To ensure breadth of background, the course of study for the Master of Science in Geology degree must include at least one graduate course in each of the fields of stratigraphy/ sedimentology, structural geology/tectonics, and petrology. At the discretion of the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee, an appropriate course may be substituted for one (and only one) of the fields above.

All Master of Science in Geology candidates must also complete an appropriate thesis, based upon original research they have conducted. A thesis proposal and course of study must be approved by the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee before the candidate begins substantial work on the thesis research.


The candidate for the degree of Master of Science in Geology must have completed the following or equivalent subjects, for which credit toward an advanced degree will not be granted.

  • General Geology
  • Structural Geology
  • Field Geology (6 weeks)
  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Chemistry (3 semesters, including at least 1 semester of physical or organic)
  • Mathematics (2 semesters of calculus)
  • An additional science course (other than geology) or advanced mathematics
  • Physics (2 semesters)

Please contact the Mines faculty members who are most closely aligned with your research interests.