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.

The application for Fall 2024 is now open 

Deadline is January 15, 2024

All complete applications (including letters and transcripts) submitted before this date will receive full consideration. Those received after will be held until initial decisions are made.

Application Process

Before starting, please read our Application Instructions linked below.

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

  • Statement of research interest
  • 3-Letters of recommendation
  • Official or Unofficial transcripts with a recommended minimum GPA of 3.3
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Identify potential faculty advisor
  • Writing sample (optional but encouraged)
  • GRE is not required
  • International students – Proof of English proficiency is required. Some countries are exempt from this requirement (such as Nigeria). Please see the list of exempt countries to see if yours is exempt.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fall Semester Applications:

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. Applications received in full before the deadline will get full consideration. Applications received after the deadline date will be held until after the first round of decisions are made before being reviewed.

Spring Semester Applications:

We do not accept application for new grad students for spring or summer semester unless it is requested by a faculty member.  Please do not apply for a spring semester unless you have contact and agreement with a faculty member the you should do so.

Advisor requirement:

In order to be accepted into our program or obtain graduate assistance funding, you must have a Geosciences faculty member agree to be your advisor. Please see Application Instructions for more detail.

Fee Waivers:

Fee waivers are only given if requested by the faculty member who agrees to be your advisor. Applications can be submitted without the fee for international students, however, it must be paid or waived before admittance to the program.


We have a limited number of financial assistantships (GTA and GRA) available for new students. These are assigned by the department upon the recommendation of an advisor. For departmental teaching assistantships, a faculty member or potential advisor must put your name forward and it is voted on by the entire faculty. It is key that you have a faculty member who is willing to be your advisor to be considered for a teaching assistantship. In addition, many of our faculty have research assistantship funding from grant resources. Research assistantships are given at the discretion of the faculty members with such funding.

International Students:

Additional information for international students can be found at the International Students and Scholars page.

Need help with the application?

Visit our Graduate Application Assistance Program (GAAP) Information Page

GAAP is a free mentorship program, created and operated by current CSU Geoscience graduate students. By participating in this program, you can get advice on a wide range of topics including how to connect with professors before applying, write a personal statement, or how to ask for letters of recommendation. Additionally, volunteer mentors can offer guidance on the technicalities of the application process.  

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.
  • GRE scores are NOT required or accepted as part of the application.
  • We highly encourage the submission of a writing sample as part of your application. Examples of representative writing samples include a senior class project report, an undergraduate or graduate thesis, a research paper/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.
  • Additional assistance for completing an application is available through our Graduate Application Assistance Program (GAAP).
  • Please contact Graduate Coordinator ( for further clarification or questions.

Application and Resources

Graduate Coordinator

Patti Uman Photo

Patti Uman

Office: 322 Michael Smith Natural Resources Building

Phone: 970-491-7826