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College of Arts & Sciences

About the M.S. in Geological Sciences


Audrey Blakeman studies with Dr. Elizabeth Gierlowski-Kordesch.

Collecting, Assembling and Interpreting Research Data

Program Overview

The M.S. Degree in Geological Sciences requires that students with the appropriate undergraduate degree take six 4-unit graduate geology courses and complete a thesis. This degree provides considerably more depth in geological sciences than an undergraduate degree. The M.S. degree also provides experience in collecting, assembling, and interpreting research data and presenting those results in the form of a written thesis.

The M.S. Degree in Geological Sciences is the degree-level most often sought by employers in Geological Sciences. Excellent opportunities are can be found in both energy and environmental fields as well as government and teaching positions.

Graduate Studies at Ohio University

Ohio University is a state‐assisted, research extensive institution with an enrollment of more than 20,000 students at the Athens Campus, including about 4,500 graduate students. The Department of Geological Sciences has twelve faculty and currently enrolls approximately 100 undergraduate majors and 20 MS degree graduate students. Athens has a non‐student population of around 25,000 and is centrally located between Columbus, Pittsburg and Cincinnati, situated in the rolling unglaciated hills of southeastern Ohio, on the western edge of the Appalachian Plateau.

Graduate school is a challenging but potentially rewarding period of any scientist's life. Earning an MS degree should be an intellectually stimulating and demanding experience. As faculty and advisers (listed in Appendix I), it is our role to make the graduate school experience as worthwhile as possible.

Students are encouraged to develop into independent scientists while earning the skills necessary to pursue their career aspirations. This document presents the process by which a student will attain a graduate degree in Geological Sciences at Ohio University. It outlines the steps the student will take to complete our program and our expectations of a student. The purpose of this document is to state clearly expectations, to expedite progress through the program, to elaborate on important policies, and to document a graduate program that provides students the resources to become capable, proud, and employable scientists.

It is imperative that this document is used in conjunction with the University Graduate Catalogue which is available from the Graduate College at The graduate school handbook sets official Ohio University policy; this departmental handbook lays out policies of the Department of Geological Sciences. Although this document may be revised annually, the requirements for degree completion will be those stated in the version of this document in effect when a student enters the degree program. Exceptions to guidelines presented in this handbook may be requested by petitioning the department faculty.

For general information relating to graduate studies and Ohio University graduate school policies, contact: Graduate College, 220 RTEC, Ohio University, Athens, OH, 45701‐2979, USA;; 740‐593‐2800.

Scope of the Program

The Department of Geological Sciences at Ohio University offers the Master of Science (M.S.) degree. Incoming graduate students who hold bachelor's degrees from other colleges will have already indicated on their application form or cover letter which area of Geological Sciences they intend to pursue graduate studies. Students may change their area of concentration by petitioning the Department for approval.

Objectives of the Program

Students in the M.S. program will:

  1. Pursue advanced study and original research in one or more areas of geology.
  2. Eliminate deficiencies in their geological education.
  3. Prepare for employment in the geological sciences or enrollment in a doctoral program.

Although M.S. students work toward a high level of proficiency in a chosen field of specialization, they should also acquire a broad understanding of the fundamentals of geology. All M.S. students enter the program with an identified adviser and work with their adviser to select a thesis topic by the end of their first semester of coursework. Incoming graduate students may find it helpful to sample a variety of graduate courses and to seek the advice of several faculty members during their first term as they select a thesis topic, address deficiencies in their geologic preparation, and refine their thesis proposal.

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