The field of geochemistry involves the study of the composition of the earth using methods and principles of chemistry. Students interested in this field of study may want to enroll in a graduate program in geochemistry, which is generally offered as a Master of Science degree. After achieving this degree, students will have an advanced understanding of the principles of geochemistry and could either choose to begin their careers or continue studying in a doctoral program.
General Information About Geochemistry Master's Degrees
The Master of Science degree in geochemistry can generally be completed in two years. Some programs require that students complete a thesis as part of their degree program, while others give their students the option of a thesis or non-thesis track. There are a number of core courses that are common to the curriculum of many master's degree programs in geochemistry, as well as electives that students may want to enroll in depending on their specific interests. We will look as some of the most common courses below.
Environmental Organic Chemistry
This course will build on students' previous knowledge in chemistry and organic chemistry. It focuses on how organic chemical compounds interact in different environments. The course will also provide insight into chemical transformations and the possibility of contamination in various environments.
This course focuses on groundwater and how it can be accessed, stored, and transported. Students will learn about different analytical modeling methods and then use computer programs to visualize and create different groundwater models. In the course, students are typically required to use their knowledge to try to solve a number of different groundwater problems using computer modeling software.
Geological Data Analysis
In a geological data analysis course, students will learn different methods of data analysis and how they can best apply them to the field of geology and geochemistry. Students will learn methods that they can use in their own research in order to produce scientifically sound reports and papers. Some topics covered may include multivariate data, map analysis and statistical parameters.
Master's Degree Thesis in Geochemistry
Depending on whether you enroll in a thesis or non-thesis track, you may be required to write a thesis on a topic related to geochemistry to achieve credit for your degree. Generally, students are able to pick their own topic if it is approved by their faculty adviser or committee, who they are responsible for updating throughout their thesis progress. Students will need to defend their thesis to this committee in order to receive their degree.
Geochemistry Master's Degree Program Admission Requirements
Admission to a master's degree program in geochemistry requires a bachelor's degree, usually in a field related to geochemistry, like a natural science or engineering. Depending on the program, there may also be prerequisite coursework that you must have already completed before beginning the graduate curriculum.
Programs typically have a minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, though more competitive programs may have a higher minimum. GRE scores are usually required and some schools may provide a suggested score range from their previously admitted students. In addition, students likely will need to submit letters of recommendation as well as a personal statement. For students on a thesis-track, they may be required to submit a statement regarding their prospective topic of research. Some programs schedule interviews with all prospective candidates before offering them admission into their program.
Earning a master's degree in the field of geochemistry may be a fitting choice for students who have a background in a related scientific or engineering field and are hoping to increase their skillset and knowledge before launching their careers.