Requirements for Graduate Admission

The information on these pages is abstracted from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences Graduate Student Handbook (Fall, 2019 revision). All new graduate students receive a copy of this handbook upon arrival in the Department. It is revised annually.

  1. A Bachelor's Degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences or related science (materials science, chemistry, meteorology, biology, physics, anthropology, engineering) is required for admission into the Master's program. Generally a Master's Degree is required for admission into the Ph.D. program, but exceptions may be made (see Ph.D. requirements and procedures).
  2. Admission is granted only to students with a strong prior academic record, as indicated by Grade Point Average, performance on the general Graduate Record Exam, breadth of background in geosciences and/or relevant fields, and letters of recommendation. Performance and background in courses outside of geosciences (supporting sciences, mathematics) are also considered in determining whether a student will be admitted to the graduate program.
  3. A student who is initially not accepted into the graduate program may enroll as a nondegree student, and take undergraduate and graduate courses. The student may apply for admission to the graduate program again for a subsequent semester, and, if accepted, may transfer up to 12 nondegree credits to graduate credit. Transfer of approved nondegree undergraduate (300-400 level) courses to graduate credit can only be done by petition, and a form, available at the Graduate School, must be submitted early in the semester for each course that may later be considered for graduate credit. This procedure is not necessary for 500 level graduate courses taken under nondegree status. Graduate credit for approved 300, 400, and 500 level courses is automatic for regular graduate students. See the Graduate Bulletin for more information.

Prerequisites For Graduate Study In EPS/Geoscience:

Entering graduate students are expected to have completed the equivalent of Math 162 and 163, Chemistry 121L and 122L, and Physics 160 and 161 (calculus I and II, general chemistry I and II, and calculus-based physics that includes mechanics, electricity, heat, and magnetism). Additional coursework in math, chemistry, physics, statistics, or biology is encouraged. Geo courses as agreed upon by thesis committee. 

Because the E&PS Department offers graduate training in many aspects of the earth sciences, there is no single list of courses that must have been completed prior to graduate study. Necessary background courses must instead be mutually agreed upon by the student, thesis advisor, and thesis committee, and must be approved by the Graduate Committee. It is expected that some students will need to take one or more 300- level EPS courses in order to prepare them adequately for their graduate programs; such courses must be taken as early in those students’ programs as possible. No graduate credit can be earned for 300-level classes in E&PS.