Graduate Program and M.S. Requirements

General Information

We offer a Geology M.S. degree for students who want to learn more about a specific area of geology. A graduate degree is an opportunity for students to advance their scientific research skills beyond their undergraduate experience. It can also promote their career options and earning potential.


Our department has ten full-time graduate faculty members and 32 graduate students. We offer two tracks toward obtaining a M.S. degree. Most common is the thesis option, where a student will research and report an extensive project, earning 6 credit hours for research toward the total of 30 credit hours required for the degree. 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.

A detailed description of the policies and procedures of our graduate program is available in the Geology Graduate Program Handbook.

You may also obtain a summary of our program via the Graduate School Catalog. Descriptions of geology courses can be obtained by visiting this link or searching the course catalog. To see what courses are actually being offered each semester, however, you will need to search the course schedules.



An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements. Currently, we no longer require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. 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.

You can find a summary of the application requirements here.

When you are ready to apply, get started with your application process 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. Those funds can be used for some of the thesis research costs. In addition, research specific funding that graduate students are eligible to receive include various professional societies (e.g. the Geological Society of America, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Sigma Xi, and the Kansas Geological Foundation). We encourage students to apply for research funding during the first year of residence.

Contact Information

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Dr. Matt Brueseke, Director of Graduate Studies for Geology.