Geology Master's Degree Program Information

Oct 16, 2019

Students in a master's degree in geology study the Earth to understand its evolution, natural resources and natural disaster management. They also learn to how to develop and maintain natural resources and reduce the impact of natural hazards.

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Essential Information

Master of Science in Geology degree programs prepare students to become professional geologists or to continue their education - and research - in an doctoral program. They can be completed in 2-3 years, and applicants are required to have already earned a bachelor's degree; some schools may require that degree to be in geology or a related field. Both thesis and non-thesis programs are available, though the non-thesis programs may instead require a research project. Some programs may offer concentration or emphasis options in areas like environmental geology, petroleum geology, stream restoration, natural resource management or tectonics, among other things. Geology master's degree programs are not commonly available online.

Master's Degree in Geology

Those pursuing a master's degree in geology complete a curriculum that can prepare them for multiple careers, including geological researcher, or to continue on to a doctoral program. Candidates often can tailor their programs to meet their research interests. Examples of specific research options include stream restoration, natural resource management or tectonics. After completing any necessary coursework, students likely have to write and defend a thesis or complete a project to graduate. Common courses in a master's program might include:

  • Petrology
  • Stratigraphy and sedimentation
  • Geochemistry
  • Remote sensing
  • Petroleum geology
  • Structure and tectonics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of master's degree programs in geology can pursue a number of employment opportunities in the corporate, nonprofit or government sectors. Following are some popular career options:

  • Soil scientist
  • Seismologist
  • Geologist
  • Petrologist

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Geoscientists, which includes professionals in the field of geology such as mineralogists, crystallographers, paleontologists, stratigraphers and geodesists, were projected to see a 6% increase in employment opportunities from 2018-2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, the median annual wage for a geoscientist was $91,130 in May 2018, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

Graduates of a master's degree program can further define their field of interest by pursuing a doctorate in geology. Doctoral programs can enhance career prospects, provide opportunities for university teaching positions and further focus research efforts. Students typically select a specialized area of focus, such as geobiology, paleontology, geohydrology or geophysics.

A Master of Science in Geology entails a thorough education in the natural world, with a multitude of different focus areas offered in areas like environmental geology or tectonics. Graduates will be prepared for specialized career roles such as geologists or soil scientists and can expect good growth in the field.

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