Curriculum Requirements

The MGS M.S. degree requires 30 total credits. 1
Course Credits 224
Recommended Courses 3
It is strongly recommended that all 1st year students enroll in at least 2 of the following courses:
Earth Surface Processes
Introductory Geochemistry
Thesis Research 6
Master's Thesis
Additional Requirements
Research Ethics
Comprehensive Examination 4
MGS Seminar (MGS 701) 5
Total Credit Hours30

Minimum of 24 course credits and 6 thesis credits.

  • The 24 course credits may all be from the MGS course curriculum.
  • MGS M.S. students are not required to take a course outside of the program.

The intent of the recommended course requirements is to ensure preparation across the range of subfields within MGS. 

  • The MGS comprehensive examination is normally administered once per year, in May or early June after the conclusion of the spring semester. 
    • Students who enter the program for the fall semester are expected to take the comprehensive exam after the conclusion of the spring semester.
    • Students who enter the program in the spring semester will generally take the comprehensive exam after the following spring semester.
  • The comprehensive exam traditionally consists of two parts, administered on separate days: (1) a day of written questions assembled from all MGS faculty, and (2) a follow-­up oral exam approximately an hour-­long administered by a panel of 3‐4 MGS faculty with a range of expertise.  
  • The written questions span the full range of subfields within the MGS program, and that part of the exam is generally structured to allow some choice among questions within a subfield. The oral exam committee will generally conclude with a judgment as to whether the student has passed the comprehensive exam. 
  • If a student does not follow the above course recommendations and performs poorly on the comprehensive exam, it may trigger a requirement to enroll in the respective course as a condition for further advancement in the MGS program.

All MSG M.S. and Ph.D. students are required to participate regularly in seminars throughout their residency and must register for it one time to graduate.