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Degree Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy — Geology
The Doctor of Philosophy in Geology requires original research in a specific area of geology, and demonstration of broad knowledge in the field of geology. It is preferred that students enter the program with an MS already completed. Requirements include: 1) completing 42 credits beyond your MS; 2) passing a set of comprehensive examinations showing depth and breadth of knowledge in geology and the student’s area(s) of emphasis; 3) completing a Dissertation research proposal; and 4) completing and defending a written Dissertation, which may consist of papers for publication. Students should plan on taking three to four years to complete the Geology PhD program. Graduate stipends and tuition support are based upon a three to four year PhD program.

Master of Science — Geology
The Geology MS involves advanced study, and has a focus on original research. The program prerequisite is the completion of a BS or BA in geology or other geosciences-related or engineering program. 30 credits of graduate work are required for the MS degree. The recommended distribution is 20 credits of coursework and 10 credits of thesis. Students should plan on taking two years to complete the MS Geology program. Graduate stipends and tuition support are based upon a two year MS program.

Master of Science — Applied Environmental Geoscience (non-Thesis)
The Applied Environmental Geoscience MS degree is a terminal degree program, requiring a combination of advanced courses selected from Geology offerings, as well as additional courses relating broadly to the Geosciences. The AEG-MS degree is also offered both through USU’s Statewide Campuses program. Distance offerings for the AEG-MS program are limited to broadcast (IVC) courses. A total of 32 credit hours is required for the AEG-MS. The recommended distribution is 29 credits of coursework and 3 credits of thesis. Approximately one-half of course credits should be from outside of Geology (e.g. Biology, Chemistry or Natural Resources). Program Prerequisite: Bachelor’s degree in Geology, Earth Science, or related science discipline. Acceptance into the program is contingent upon a faculty advisor agreeing to mentor the AEG-MS applicant.

Climate Adaptation Science

USU Geo offers a graduate Specialization in Climate Adaptation Science, as a partner in USU's CAS program

Although not strictly an admission requirement, individual students may need to complete specific undergraduate coursework to prepare them for their graduate program. The seven preparatory core courses generally expected by the Department of Geology are:

1. Introductory or Physical Geology with laboratory
2. Minerals and Rocks (Earth Materials)
3. Historical Geology
4. Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
5. Geomorphology
6. Structural Geology
7. Field Methods or experience

Decisions about any exceptions to these core prerequisites in a student’s graduate program are made by a student's Advisory Committee in their first meeting. All graduate students are expected to have taken a minimum of four of the seven core courses, including a field course.