Prospective Students – Geosciences

Graduate Degree in Geosciences

Graduate Program

The Department of Geosciences offers a Masters of Science degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Completion of a graduate degree is excellent preparation for a career in governmental agencies, private industry, teaching, or research. The strong placement record and extensive alumni network attest to the high quality of our graduate program.

Each graduate student follows a custom-tailored program of coursework and research developed with their advisor and graduate committee. Strengths of the department include diverse field-driven scientific specializations; an interdisciplinary approach to addressing earth resource education and professional preparation; global research interests; cutting edge analytical, field, and computational facilities; and close student/faculty working relationships.

Areas of Study

The CSU Geosciences Program is internationally recognized for its strong emphasis on field-oriented studies in non-renewable resources and surficial processes. Faculty and students in the Department of Geosciences have been involved in research projects on all seven continents. Areas of specialization include:

  • Applied Geophysics
  • Economic Geology
  • Environmental Geology & Aqueous Geochemistry
  • Geochemistry
  • Geochronology
  • Petroleum Geology
  • Geodynamics
  • Geomorphology
  • Glaciology
  • Hydrogeology, Hydrogeophysics
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology & Geochemistry
  • Sedimentology
  • Tectonics
  • Sedimentary Petrology and Geochemistry
  • Seismology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Structural Geology

For detailed course descriptions, please see Geosciences Graduate Curriculum.

Master Of Science

The normal duration of the M.S. program in Geosciences is two academic years, and a minimum of 30 semester credits must be completed. A thesis describing the results of an original research project is required for the Plan A Master’s degree. The thesis is defended in an oral presentation and examination.

Doctor Of Philosophy

The Department of Geosciences offers a Ph.D. program in Geosciences (GEOS-PHD). Prospective Ph.D. students should visit the Geosciences website to identify likely advisors and contact them directly for further information about Ph.D. opportunities.

The Ph.D. program ordinarily takes three or more years beyond the M.S. degree. Candidates must complete a total of 72 semester credits beyond the B.S. degree. A master’s degree from an accredited college or university may be accepted for a maximum of 30 credits. Candidates are typically expected to assist in at least one semester of teaching. Written and oral qualifying exams are normally taken by the end of the second year, with successful completion advancing the student to Ph.D. candidacy. An original research project must be presented as a dissertation and defended in an oral exam.

Please Note: The Department of Geosciences offers a Ph.D. program in Geosciences.  A Ph.D in Watershed Science is now offered solely through the Department of Ecosystem Science & Sustainability. Please see their the Department of Ecosystem Science & Sustainability Graduate Program in Watershed sciences for more details.

Application Deadline for Fall 2022 – January 2022

Recommended For Competitive Applications

Applicants are evaluated on the strength of their entire application, however the following are recommendations for competitive applications.

Application Deadlines:

This deadline is well before the Graduate School’s suggested deadline. Applications may be submitted at a later date but it’s important to consider that graduate assistantship selections will begin by the end of January.

Spring Semester applications must be submitted by the Graduate School deadline of September 1. It is not the general practice for this department to enroll new grad students for spring semester but there are occasional exceptions. It is suggested that applicants contact faculty regarding placement availability prior to submitting a spring application. Spring applicants who meet eligibility requirements have the option to change their term applied for to the following fall semester, free of charge, by submitting a request form GS1C to the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the start of spring semester.

A few things to note before you apply:

  • As stated above, make sure you have carefully gone over graduate program and faculty information on the Department website including faculty research areas and contact information. Also helpful is our Department Publications page.
  • Note that you will be asked to provide your specific area of research interest when you apply online.
  • We strongly advise that you make direct contact with faculty before submitting your application for fall, as well as spring, to discuss your pending application.
  • In your Personal Statement (Statement of Research Interest), be sure to identify faculty you have either contacted or would like to work with as your advisor (you may list more than one, if applicable). Also describe your experiences/specific interests within your preferred research area and how this relates to your academic and professional objectives.
  • Please carefully review the Graduate School For Future Students and Apply webpages before starting a new application.

Application and Resources

Graduate Coordinator

Patti Uman Photo

Patti Uman

Office: 322 Michael Smith Natural Resources Building

Phone: 970-491-7826