The Marine Geosciences (MGS) graduate program is focused on studying the geology, geophysics, and geochemistry of the Earth system. The MGS M.S. degree is at the forefront of understanding carbonate depositional systems, modern and ancient reefs, and deep-sea sediments to learn more about past environmental change. Students work closely with faculty at the forefront of research on sedimentary systems, earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, and past and present climate.

Admission Requirements

The undergraduate student wishing to prepare for graduate work in the marine geosciences must be well trained in the basic sciences. The GRE score is not required for admission. You may optionally submit your GRE score, but not all faculty will consider this information. Individual faculty members may consider GRE scores as part of a holistic evaluation of the candidates. Applicants and whose first language is not English must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 550. According to the special interests of the individual, the undergraduate major and minor should be in geology, physics, chemistry, and/or mathematics. All application requirements are available here.

Curriculum Requirements

The MGS M.S. degree requires 30 total credits. 1
Course Requirements 26
All MGS students must complete two of the following courses:
Earth Surface Processes
Introductory Geochemistry
Thesis Research 6
Master's Thesis
Additional Requirements
Research Ethics
Comprehensive Examination 3
MGS Seminar 4
Seminar in Marine Geosciences
THE GEOTOPICS Lecture Series 5
Total Credit Hours30

Sample Plan of Study

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
MGS 611 Earth Surface Processes 3
MGS 614 or 723 Geophysics
or Geodynamics
Approved Elective 3
RSM 700 Research Ethics 0
 Credit Hours9
MGS 613 or 771 Introductory Geochemistry
or Diagenesis of Carbonate Sediments
MGS 701 Seminar in Marine Geosciences 1
Approved Elective 3
 Credit Hours7
Approved Elective 2
 Credit Hours2
Year Two
Approved Elective 3
Approved Elective 3
 Credit Hours6
MGS 810 Master's Thesis 3
 Credit Hours3
MGS 810 Master's Thesis 3
 Credit Hours3
 Total Credit Hours30


The mission of the MGS M.S. program is to prepare our students for either further academic education in a Ph.D. program or professional employment in geology and geophysics, environmental sciences, and petroleum geology. The program is based on two main elements: well-rounded coursework plus conduct of original research that leads to preparation of a publicly defended M.S. thesis.


To educate and train students to become the next generation of scientists conducting research and education in the areas of marine geology and geophysics, geochemistry, and environmental geosciences. The goal is to equip our students with the tools to apply their knowledge in either professional or academic careers, emphasizing on the former.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students completing the MGS M.S. degree will demonstrate a broad comprehension of marine and Earth sciences. Students will understand the geological, geochemical, and geophysical processes that affect the Earth and its environment.
  • Each student will prepare an original M.S. Thesis that demonstrates his/her ability to critically evaluate scientific literature, comprehend previous knowledge on a topic, formulate testable hypotheses, and skillfully use available data and tools to advance the knowledge in that topic.
  • Students will demonstrate good oral communication skills and be able to effectively communicate and defend their scientific findings to a peer audience.