Skip to main content Skip to navigation
School of the Environment

M.S. Geology

Program Description

The M.S. degree program in Geology focuses on fundamental questions in Earth Sciences ranging from how the Earth formed, how it has evolved through time, and how it operates and is changing today.  Geologists at WSU study regions of the Earth from its deep interior to its highest mountains, they study Earth materials from the building blocks of the planets to the magmas that erupt from volcanoes to the sands on the seashores, and they study the Earth and its hydro-geochemical cycles on timescales from its very beginnings to the present day.

The M.S. thesis is expected to be a publishable contribution to the science of Geology. The choice of course options in the program will be based on the student’s research interest and needs. Undergraduate pre-requisites must be satisfied for all courses within the selected program, and will not count for graduate credit. It is expected that the M.S. degree requirements be completed in two years (full-time enrollment, with assistantship).  Most students conclude their MS studies with a thesis, where the goal is a publishable contribution.  The specific requirements are given below and are subject to completion after entering the masters program.

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 Geol 700, Master’s Research. Of these 21 hours of course work, up to 6 credits 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 Geol 598 (Seminar) a minimum of 2 semesters.  A final oral exam is required to test the candidate’s knowledge of geology with emphasis on the work presented in the thesis.

Program Requirements (Non-Thesis Option)

Geology non-thesis M.S. candidates must take 17 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 26 hours of graded course work and 4 hours of Geol 702, Master’s Special Problems. Of these 26 hours of course work, up to 9 credits 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.

All Geology M.S. candidates must enroll in Geol 598 (Seminar) a minimum of 2 semesters.