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Master of Science Geology

Field Work in Alaska

The Masters of Science Degree in Geology is for those who have an undergraduate degree in geology and have demonstrated the potential for research. To be admitted to the program you must consult with an advisor in the department.

To remain enrolled in the program you must maintain a 3.0 grade point average and be making satisfactory progress toward the completion of the degree.

For more information about degrees and funding please contact the graduate advisor, David Pearson. Classes required for the B.S. in Geology at ISU that have not been previously taken will also be required. For more information, please download the ISU Geosciences Department Graduate Student Handbook.

How to Apply

A baccalaureate degree or higher from a college or university regionally accredited in the United States or its equivalent from a school in another country. To be considered for Scholarships, students must submit their application, transcript and test scores by February 15th (Fall Entry) or Nov 1 (Spring Entry).

A Graduate School Application submitted online requires the following.

  • Online Application Form (you will be required to create an account)
  • Fee to apply ($60 non-refundable)
  • GRE scores (Minimum of 50th percentile is required in both verbal and quantitative categories)
  • Your Transcripts
  • A Letter of intent
  • Statement of goals (Motivation for graduate school and your long term career goals)
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation


If you are interested in a Teaching or Research Assistantship please submit by January 15th. Applications submitted after January 15, but before published Graduate School deadlines (see below) will be considered.
  • Fall semester enrollment application deadline is April 1st.
  • Spring semester enrollment application deadline is November 1st.
  • Summer session enrollment application deadline is April 1st.

Students on seminar trip fall of 2013

30 credits of course work are required to complete an M.S. in Geology.
  • 17 credits must be at the 6600 level in Geology (including 6 "Thesis" credits)*
  • 13 credits completed at the 5500 or 6600 level, 8 of which can be in a related discipline*
  • In addition to the 30 credits, take 2 approved courses from outside the Geosciences Department (e.g., technical writing, anthropology, etc.) or opt to take the foreign language challenge exam at the elementary level.
The following required courses are usually taken during the first and second semesters of graduate study.
  • GEOL 5591 Seminar 1 cr
  • GEOL 6601 Advanced Physical Geology 2 cr
  • GEOL 6603 Geologic Writing Seminar 1 cr

Graduate students may not sign up for GEOL 6650 (thesis credits) until their thesis prospectus has been submitted and approved by the Thesis Committee. All graduate students are required to present at least one geology colloquium dealing with their thesis topic prior to taking their oral examination.

*Geol 6649 credits are not included

Please download the latest and greatest version of the "ISU Department of Geosciences Graduate Handbook" for more in-depth descriptions of class and graduation requirements.

Graduate Handbook Geosciences 



September 1, 2017       ---Graduation Application Due for December (Fall)
November 6, 2017        ---Class level registration begins for Spring 2018
November 17, 2017      ---Last Day for Thesis or Dissertation defense/Oral Examination for December (Fall) Graduation
November 20-24, 2017 ---Thanksgiving Break (no classes)
December 11-15, 2017 ---Finals Week
December 15, 2017      ---Final Program of Study/Admission to Candidacy for May (Spring) Graduation

January 8, 2018           ---Spring Classes begin
January 15, 2018         ---Martin Luther King Holiday (no classes) 
January 19, 2018         ---Graduation Application due for May (Spring) Graduation
February 19, 2018        --- President's Day (No Class)
March 19-23, 2018       ---Spring Break (No Class)
April 1, 2018                ---Graduation Applications Due for August - for those walking in May ceremony
April 13, 2018              ---Last Day for Thesis or Dissertation Defense/Oral Examination for May (Spring) Graduation
April 30-May 4, 2018    ---Finals Week
May 4, 2018                 ---Final Program of Study/Admission to Candidacy for August (Summer) Graduation

Graduate Program Inquiry

If you are interested and would like more information about the program please fill out this form.


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