Geology Department

MS - Geology

The MS program provides graduates with advanced training in Geology, culminating in the completion of an independent research thesis project. The academic curriculum and extensive faculty expertise provide the opportunity for study in many areas of Geology, with a particular emphasis on applied geology and tectonics. Graduates are employed as geologists, engineering geologists, hydrogeologists, hydrologists, geophysicists, environmental managers in engineering, geological, geophysical, and environmental consulting firms, and as geologists in the mining and petroleum industries.

The Geology Department welcomes students with undergraduate degrees in other disciplines.

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Admission Requirements

Candidates must meet all university admissions requirements. Students can be admitted in either classified or conditionally classified standing. If an applicant's preparation for advanced graduate work is considered inadequate to meet the course prerequisites or other departmental requirements (typically because the student does not have a BS in Geology or related field), the conditions will include taking the core Geology BS courses to meet their requirements.

The GRE is not required.

Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on the Graduate Program Test Requirements webpage at GAPE.

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Candidacy

University Candidacy Requirements

A student is eligible for admission to candidacy for the MS degree in Geology after the student has fulfilled the general all-university requirements for advancement to candidacy as outlined in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog and the department requirements. Candidacy includes successful completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For graduate courses that meet the GWAR, refer to the GWAR Course List on the Graduate Studies website. In addition, the student's admission must be approved by the departmental graduate advisor.

Department Candidacy Requirements

The student will prepare a written thesis proposal in consultation with her/his thesis adviser. The student will defend her/his proposal in an oral examination with her/his thesis advisor and a minimum of two other thesis committee members

Requirements for Graduation

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures.

Geology Department Requirements

An approved program for each candidate may be designed in consultation with the advisor on the basis of each individual's objectives. The program shall include at least 30 semester units earned beyond the bachelor's degree in 200-level and 100-level courses approved for graduate credit. This total includes 4 semester units of thesis research. At least 12 units must consist of 200-level courses. All students are required to take a 2-unit seminar (GEOL 285). All candidates are required to submit a master's thesis.

An oral presentation of thesis research is to be made before an open meeting of the Geology Department. The thesis must be approved by the student's thesis committee and submitted in final form, as defined in the San José State University Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines, to the Graduate Division of the university in accordance with published deadlines.

Course Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For information on the GWAR, please see
Requirements of the Masters30
GEOL 285. Seminar2
Complete twelve units from:
GEOL 213. Advanced Igneous and Metamorphic PetrologyGWAR4
GEOL 214. Sedimentary Petrology and Petrography4
GEOL 222. Advanced Sedimentary Geology4
GEOL 231. Advanced Structural GeologyGWAR4
GEOL 234. Advanced GeomorphologyGWAR4
GEOL 237. Advanced GIS/GPS Mapping4
GEOL 238. Advanced HydrogeologyGWAR4
GEOL 242. Advanced Paleontology4
GEOL 255. Advanced Geology4
Other 100-level or 200-level courses, selected with advisor approval. GEOL 285 may be taken a second time.
Culminating Experience4
Plan A (Thesis)
GEOL 299. Master's Thesis1-4
1 unit of GEOL 299 in each of four semesters is recommended
Thesis Defense (oral presentation)

Total Units:30

Elective courses must be planned in consultation with the Geology Department Graduate Advisor.

The maximum number of upper-division undergraduate units that can be applied toward the master's degree is 15.

Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.