Online Geology Graduate Certificates

Jan 16, 2019

Students interested in studying geology at the graduate level without having to complete a full degree program can find several different kinds of online graduate certificate programs in the field. Learn about the format, course topics and admission standards for these programs.

Due to the broad nature of the field, there are not many online graduate certificate programs specifically in geology, but a wide range of graduate certificate programs are available online in various areas of the field that should encompass students' different interests/career goals. Many of these programs only require about 12 to 15 credits, and can usually be completed 100% online. Explore some of the different graduate certificate options in various areas of geology.

Types of Online Graduate Certificates in Geology

Graduate Certificates in Environmental Geology

Students interested in the environmental side of geology may pursue an online graduate certificate in environmental geology, which may be paired with additional topics, such as hydrogeology. These certificate programs usually require around 15 credit hours and may be available to degree and non-degree seeking students. Although coursework is primarily online, some of these certificate programs may require limited (such as one weekend a semester) on-site meetings for hands-on training in field techniques. Students in these certificate programs may take courses in topics like geochemical processes, environmental geology, hydrogeology, quantitative analysis, environmental policy and site assessment.

Graduate Certificates in Mining and Geological Engineering

Another popular concentration area within geology is mining and geological engineering. Students can earn graduate certificates specifically in mining engineering or various areas within geological engineering online. For example, online graduate certificate programs are available in geomechanics/rock mechanics, mineral processing/extractive metallurgy, mine production and information technology and mining occupational safety/health. Some of these programs may be completed in about 1 year, may range from about 12 to 15 credits and could include an optional independent study project. Course topics vary by specific certificate program, but students may take courses that discuss rock mechanics, environmental aspects of mining, mining methods, geomechanics and rock excavation.

Graduate Certificates in Earth Science Education

Students interested in possibly teaching geology and earth science may pursue online graduate certificate programs in earth science education. These programs are usually designed for current teachers and require around 12 credit hours. Some programs may also provide more focused study for secondary teachers, while other certificate programs allow students to pick and choose from a range of courses for varying education levels. As stated, curriculum for these programs differ greatly, but programs for secondary teachers may include course topics in plate tectonics, oceanography, earth surface processes and issues in earth science, while broader programs may provide course topics in areas like historical geology, landforms for elementary teachers, earth system science (K-14) and geology of the moon.

Common Entrance Requirements

Admission requirements for online graduate certificate programs in geology vary by program and may differ based on a student's current enrollment at the institution. However, most of these programs require applicants to hold at least a bachelor's degree and generally do not require the GRE. Depending on the program, applicants may need to include transcripts, letters of interest, letters of recommendation/endorsement and/or a resume or CV. Some programs may also like to see professional employment related to the field. Students may also need to ensure that they meet the technical requirements for the online delivery format of the program, such as having the appropriate operating system, software and audio equipment.

Online graduate certificate programs are available in environmental geology, geological and mining engineering and earth science education. Although the course topics in these programs vary greatly, most of these programs only require 12 to 15 credits and are usually designed for working professionals.

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