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Washington State University

M.S. Geology

Program Description

The primary goal of the Geology M.S. program at WSU is to prepare students for professional employment in a broad range of geoscience careers (environmental consulting, minerals/petroleum industry, local/state/federal resource-based or management agencies, teaching), or for serving as a foundation for continuing to graduate studies at the Ph.D. level. WSU offers specialization in multiple subdisciplines, including structure/tectonics, petrology, geochemistry, geophysics/geodynamics, and sedimentology/stratigraphy.

The goal of the M.S. program is to produce broadly trained, professional geoscientists with the ability to conduct original scientific research. In addition to course work, the primary requirement for the M.S. degree is preparation of a thesis that should represent a publishable contribution to the geoscience community. Each program is designed in consultation with a faculty advisor to meet the needs of the student

Program Requirements (Thesis Option)

Geology M.S. candidates must take 15 hours of 500-level graded major course work. The thesis program must consist of not less than 30 hours of approved graduate credit including a minimum of 21 hours of graded course work and 4 hours of SOE 700, Master’s Research.

  • Of these 21 hours of course work, up to 6 credits maximum of non-graduate graded credit (300- or 400-level) may be used.
  • The program may not include courses graded Pass/Fail, courses not approved for graduate credit, or courses that are audited.
  • Courses taken to remove undergraduate deficiencies cannot be taken for a Pass/Fail grade.
  • Any course included in the advanced degree program in which a grade of “C-” or below is earned must be repeated but not on a Pass/Fail basis.

Geology M.S. candidates must enroll in SOE 598 (Seminar) a minimum of 2 semesters. Students must also take at least one hour of SOE 501 (Seminar) during their first year.  A final oral exam is required to test the candidate’s knowledge of geology with emphasis on the work presented in the thesis.



[Photo credits: Banner photo – Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Source: Wikipedia. Author: Lennart Sikkema. License: CC BY-SA 3.0]

Dr. Sean Long's SOE 542 (Extensional Tectonics) graduate course trip to eastern Nevada in 2019. Courtesy of Dr. Long

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Charles Knaack & Students In The GeoAnalytical Lab

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