There are many areas of coursework a student who wishes to study geology at the graduate level can specialize in if he or she possesses a bachelor's degree in geology. Below the coursework and possible admissions criteria are discussed, including specific subject matter in which applicants will be expected to understand.
Typical Coursework for a Graduate Certificate in Geology
Graduate certificates in geology are available in around 14-18 credit hours of post-baccalaureate work. In order to take the Professional Geologists' exam, however, students must go above and beyond this certificate to accomplish 30 credit hours of coursework before the administration of the examination.
Courses in this subject matter will study a specific environment such as national parks while others might explore coastal areas. Other courses may specialize in surface or subterranean materials, fluvial areas or dried seabed makeup. Paleoecology courses might be included in this study area, as well as ore or petroleum deposit studies.
These courses go over geographic information systems and how to use them. Subjects covered might include electromagnetism, geological remote sensing, and radiation. Students learn how to read schematics and the limits of geospatial sensing equipment.
Hydrogeology courses study how water affects geology and the environment around it. Some courses study the material suspended in water and how it relates to the environment at hand. Other courses study the flow of underground water systems either individually or in the environmental system as a whole. Some courses might specialize in chemical and/or microbial hydrogeology, or geochemical microbiology.
Covering topics such as sedimentology and geomorphology, earth materials courses are the nuts and bolts of geology. Students will learn about the solid materials of earth science whereas in hydrogeology they will study liquids. Students may also study magnetism, or possibly geophysics in an earth materials subject course, as well as seismology and tectonic plate study, and soil sample analysis. Petrology is another topic that may be covered in this subject area that deals specifically with carbon-based compounds.
These courses involve taking samples, whether it be water or soil in a fieldwork environment. Students learn how to transport samples and chemicals safely from test sites to laboratories. Courses may also go over hydraulic testing and how to set up a test site for this specifically.
Program Admittance Requirements for a Graduate Certificate in Geology
Where students do not hold a bachelor's degree specifically in geology, there may be some prerequisite courses in natural sciences that they will need to complete that would bring their knowledge in line with bachelor level study. Transcripts will be required with applications to prove the applicant has the prerequisite knowledge to be successful in the field of study at the graduate level. Applicants may also be asked to write a statement of interest as to his or her goals in obtaining a certificate in geology and his or her professional and academic interest in the program. Letters of recommendation may also be requested to assess the applicant's ability to undertake a graduate course of study in geology.
Graduate certificates in geology are readily available from around 14 to 18 credit hours of coursework and can include coursework in petroleum studies, sedimentology, and hands-on experience in the field. Courses aim to provide students with a complex understanding of geological systems, and land and water cycles.