Graduate Program and M.S. Requirements

General Information

The full M.S. program description can be found in the graduate catalog. Our department currently (2012-13) has nine full-time graduate faculty members and 16 full-time graduate students. We encourage students to select an area of interest, will guide you through 24 (or more) credit hours of course work to develop essential skills in that area (including study in supporting sciences where appropriate), and supervise the completion of 6 credit hours of research that will culminate in a written thesis.

We offer two tracks toward this degree. Most common is the thesis option, where a student will research and report an extensive project, earning 6 credit hours toward the 30 required. In rare cases a student will complete a report option, involving a shorter, 2-credit-hour project but additional course work. Students in residence holding assistantships are required to follow the thesis option, while students commuting from full-time professional employment may use the report option. Students in residence and fully supported by their employers or foreign governments may select either option, although the thesis option is highly recommended.


An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements and if taken, submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores to the Department of Geology. Applicants may be admitted with specific-defined course deficiencies, provided that they are made up in addition to the 30 hours required for the M.S. degree.

Download a PDF summarizing the required application materials here.

Financial Aid and Funding

Financial aid is often available in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) and Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs). Both types of assistantships require approximately 20 hours of work each week during the period of the assistantship. Generally, students on assistantships will finish their M.S. degree in two years, and normally such students will receive support for only two years. Students with outside support (not on assistantships) can often complete their studies in a shorter time (sometimes two summers and two semesters).

If you want to be considered for a GTA, please submit along with the other required application materials, a brief statement describing any prior teaching experience and also mention that you would like to be considered for a GTA. For international students, a demonstration of proficiency in spoken English is also required (see graduate school website) to receive a GTA. GTAs carry a full waiver of tuition (but not fees, which can be over $300 a semester depending on credit hours enrolled) and are typically for nine months. Occasional summer teaching opportunities also exist.

If you want to be considered for a GRA, please communicate with the faculty member whose research interests fits yours to determine whether such funding might be available. GRAs do not include a tuition waiver, but tuition is charged at in-state rates. Supervising faculty members will often pay the tuition from research funds, however you should ask about this.

Students applying for GTAs will be automatically considered for department scholarships to supplement the assistantships. For the second year, students on GTAs should apply for continued scholarship support, both from the department and other sources.

Other funding available to current and potential graduate students include NSF GK-12 Fellowships through the EIDRoP program and scholarships through the K-State TEACH program.

Research specific funding that graduate students are eligible to receive include that from the department as well as various professional societies (e.g. the Geological Society of America, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Sigma Xi, and the Kansas Geological Foundation). Research funding should be applied for during the first year of residence.

Contact Information

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Dr. Saugata Datta (international applicants) or Dr. Matt Brueseke (domestic applicants).

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