Mar 21, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog

Master of Science - Geoscience

Plan Description

The Master of Science – Geoscience degree is designed to prepare students for a broad range of challenging careers in government service, private consulting, and industry. This thesis-based degree program also serves as a stepping-stone for those students who wish to pursue further graduate studies at the Doctoral level. Working closely with their advisor, students focus on original research in one of several areas of specialization, including: petrology, volcanology, economic geology, structural geology, sedimentary geology, geochemistry, hydrology, soil science, climate change, petroleum geology, and paleontology. Students are expected to develop original research suitable for submission to a refereed scientific journal. Students are expected to have strong content knowledge in their area of emphasis, which is tested during the culminating defense of their thesis research.

For more information about your program including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes please visit the Degree Directory.

Plan Admission Requirements

Application deadlines

Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.

All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements. 

Admission Requirements Include:

  1. A Bachelor’s degree in Geoscience or an appropriate related field.
  2. A successful applicant should have overall grade point average (GPA) higher than 3.0, unless other evidence indicates that the applicant will be successful in the graduate program.
  3. For international applicants whose native language is not English, a proof of English proficiency is required.
  4. In order to be admitted without conditions the applicant should have completed an introductory geology class and six of the following eight classes (or their equivalents): mineralogy, geochemistry, geomorphology, structural geology, igneous and metamorphic petrology, paleontology, field geology, and sedimentology/stratigraphy.

Files need to be loaded to the UNLV online application system (Rebel Gateway) include:

  1. Three letters of recommendation from individuals competent to comment on the applicant’s promise as a graduate student.
  2. A Statement of Purpose: an essay (1–2 pages) describing the applicant’s reasons for considering graduate study, goals after completion of the graduate degree, and specific area(s)/potential advisor(s) of interest.
  3. A brief, one-page (maximum two-page) CV containing the applicant’s address and contact information.
  4. The official transcripts from all college and universities the applicant has attended (please note: conditional acceptance can be given with unofficial transcripts being submitted during application, however, those will need to be replaced for official documents if admitted).

Details of the admission procedure for the M.S. Program can be found on the Department’s website.

All application materials are submitted through the UNLV Graduate College Graduate Rebel Gateway. Applicants do not need to send a separate application to the Geoscience Department or College of Sciences.

Plan Requirements: Geoscience

 Total Credits Required: 30

Course Requirements

Elective Courses – Credits: 20

Complete 20 credits of 600- or 700-level GEOL courses, or other advisor-approved courses.

Thesis – Credits: 6

Plan Degree Requirements

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. At least 12 credits (excluding thesis) must be in 700-level courses.
  3. GEOL 701 and GEOL 795 must be taken during the first year of enrollment.
  4. Credits taken at other institutions will be considered for transfer; however, at least 16 of the 24 course credits required for the degree (not including thesis credits) must be taken at UNLV.
  5. Students must confer with their appointed advisor prior to enrollment in their first semester. Using Degree Audit as a guide, a degree program must be approved by the advisory committee. A thesis prospectus must be filed with the Graduate College, and a thesis committee must be appointed by the end of the second semester after admission to the college. This responsibility rests with the student. Students will be dropped from the program and separated from the Graduate College if they fail to fulfill this requirement.
  6. In consultation with their advisor, a student will organize a thesis committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
  7. Satisfactory progress toward meeting the degree requirements is required of all students. Satisfactory progress includes maintaining at least a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate-level courses. Two grades of B- are permitted in the degree program as long as the GPA remains at or above 3.00. One grade of C+ or lower results in academic probation even if the overall GPA is above 3.0. Two grades of C+ or lower will result in automatic suspension from the program.

    Consult the Geoscience Graduate Student Guidelines for full details.

Plan Graduation Requirements

The student must submit and successfully defend their thesis by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.

After the thesis defense, the student must electronically submit a properly formatted pdf copy of their thesis to the Graduate College for format check. Once the thesis format has been approved by the Graduate College, the student will submit the approved electronic version to ProQuest. Deadlines for thesis defenses, format check submissions, and the final ProQuest submission can be found here

Students may apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing their degree requirements. All required forms must be submitted to the graduate college via the Grad Rebel Gateway.