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Masters of Science in Geology

This degree is for those who have an undergraduate degree in the sciences, 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.

Classes required for the B.S. in Geology at ISU that have not been previously taken, will also be required.

If you are interested in a Graduate Assistantship or Research Assistantship please submit your application by January 15th.  For more information regarding assistantships please visit the graduate school.

Please contact Geosciences Graduate Program Director Glenn Thackray for more information
Department of Geosciences Graduate Student Handbook
Geosciences Graduate Catalog 


To be considered for graduate school a bachelor degree or higher must have been earned 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, please submit your application, transcript and test scores by February 15th (Fall Entry) or November 1st (Spring Entry).

Application Requirements

  • 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, including a statement of goals (motivation for graduate school and your long term career goals)

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation

*Note that GRE scores are not required for fall 2022 applications

Credit Requirements 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, biology, etc.) or opt to take the foreign language challenge exam at the elementary level.

 *Geology 6649 credits are not included 

The following courses are required and usually taken during the first and second semesters of graduate study.

  • GEOL 5591 Seminar 1 credit

  • GEOL 6601 Advanced Physical Geology 2 credits

  • GEOL 6603 Geologic Writing Seminar 2 credit

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.

For more information on this programs course requirements, go to Geosciences Graduate Catalog and scroll down to Masters of Science in Geology.