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 will be in mid-January 2022

The GRE is optional for the Fall 2022 application.

Application Process

Before starting, please review our Application Instructions below.

In the application, you will be asked to provide the following:

  • Statement of research interest
  • 3-Letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts with a recommended minimum GPA of 3.3
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Identify potential faculty advisor
  • Writing sample (optional but encouraged)
  • Proof of English proficiency (international students only)

Application Deadlines:

Our deadline is well before the Graduate School’s suggested deadline. Applications may be submitted at a later date but be advised that student funding such as graduate assistantship will begin at 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. Please contact your faculty of interest 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:

  • Please review the Application Instructions linked above.
  • Contact potential faculty advisors prior or during the application process.
  • Please provide your specific area of research interest.\The GRE is optional for prospective students applying to start in Fall 2022. GRE scores are NOT considered in awarding department funding (e.g., graduate teaching assistantships). GRE scores will not be accepted by the department for applications to enroll in Fall 2023 and beyond.
  • Although optional, we highly encourage submitting a writing sample . Examples of representative writing samples include a senior class project report, an undergraduate or graduate thesis, a research paper or poster, or other evidence of previous academic writing.
  • Please carefully review the Graduate School For Future Students and Apply webpages before starting a new application.
  • Contact Graduate Coordinator for clarification or additional questions.

Application and Resources

Graduate Coordinator

Patti Uman Photo

Patti Uman

Office: 322 Michael Smith Natural Resources Building

Phone: 970-491-7826