Masters of Geology Degree Program - University of Houston
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Masters of Geology Degree Program

The Department of Geosciences offers a wide range of courses leading to the Degree of Master of Science in both Geology and Geophysics. Applicants to the Master's of Science Program must have earned a Bachelor's Degree or its equivalent. Applicants to graduate school will be evaluated based upon their Grade Point Average (GPA), Graduate Record Exams (GRE) scores, and letters of recommendation. A GPA of 3.0 or better in the last 60 hours and commensurate scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections of the GRE is generally considered acceptable for admission. Individuals with a lower GPA but elevated GRE's may also be admitted. Letters of recommendation are also given considerable weight in the evaluation process. All non-native English-speaking students must take the TOEFL examination and receive a score of 550 or better for the paper exam, 213 or better for the computer exam, and 79 or better for the internet-based exam.

Submit all online graduate applications to Please ensure that you have asked ETS to submit your GRE and TOEFL scores to UH using code 6870. Also, for reference letter purposes, ensure that you have included 3 names and emails on your application.


All students: Complete applications for Fall semester admissions must be submitted for review no later than January 1st. All of the required forms (letters, scores and original transcripts) must be received by the Graduate School by the deadlines stated above.

Please do not send any material to the office of admissions.

Background Requirements

Candidates for an M.S. degree in Geology are required to have successfully completed course work equivalent to the University of Houston's undergraduate B.S. in Geology program. These courses include:

  • Physical Geology
  • Mineralogy
  • Paleobiology
  • Petrography
  • Geologic Field Methods
  • Stratigraphy
  • Igneous/Metamorphic Petrogenesis
  • Structural Geology
  • Sedimentary Petrogenesis
  • Introduction to Geophysics
  • Field Camp

Allied courses include:

3 semesters of Calculus
2 semesters of Calculus-based Physics
2 semesters of Chemistry.

Substitution of courses equivalent to those listed above as well as waivers of requirements will be considered on an individual basis. Applicants with a few deficiencies can satisfy those requirements while also taking graduate courses at the University of Houston. It is normally recommended that a student with 6 or more deficiency courses—e.g., those whose undergraduate degree was in another discipline—work toward a second undergraduate degree in Geology prior to graduate work.


A minimum of 30 credit hours is required for the M.S. degree in Geology, 6 of which are thesis hours. All students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with all rules, regulations, etc., of the University, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Department of Geosciences and for meeting all requirements. Applicants are encouraged to review the detailed requirements for the M.S. degree.

Part-Time M.S. Students: Non-Thesis Option

All part-time (6 hours per semester or less) M.S. students admitted into the graudate program in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) will be admitted as non-thesis option starting Fall 2011. Present students are grandfathered in the old system.

Non-thesis M.S. students must complete 39 credit hours for the degree. All courses, except the research capstone, must be formal courses (for example, research hours do not count toward this degree) in the geosciences program.

All students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with all of the rules, regulations, etc. of the University, Collage of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) and for meeting all requirements. Additionally, all international students must familiarize themselves with all regulations, etc. relevant to their status (e.g., International Student Services). Students are reminded that the University requires them to complete their degree requirements within five (5) consecutive years after their initial enrollment in graduate course work at the University of Houston. Additionally, graduate credit is not given for any University of Houston course work completed prior to admission into the graduate program, e.g., courses taken as a post-baccalaureate student (PB) and non-degree option do not count.

All students must meet each semester with the Geology Graduate Advisor the week prior to registration. These meetings are to review their progress toward the degree and to advise you on course work.

Non-thesis M.S. students must complete 39 credit hours for the degree. All courses, except the research capstone, must be formal courses (for example, research hours do not count toward this degree) in the geosciences program. Twenty-one (21) hours must consist of 6000 level EAS courses, and the remaining 9 hours can be selected 4000 level (or above) courses or approved 3000 level (or above) course work in other departments. No more than six (6) undergraduate hours may be in EAS. A maximum of 6 semester hours of graduate level course work can be transferred from other institutions, provided they were taken as part of a graduate degree program, that the grades are B or higher, and that the courses were taken within the last 5 years. In order to insure breadth, each student is required to take at least one course from 3 of the 4 Graduate Core Course Work Categories. These categoreis are: 1. Igneous/Geochemistry (and Metamorphic Petrology), 2. Softrock (Sedimentary Geology), 3. Stucture/Tectonics, and 4. Applied/Analytical (a list of courses in each category is on the web site). An average of B must be maintained in courses taken for graduate credit. A grade of C+ or lower in four courses (12 hours) renders the student ineligible for any advanced degree at the University of Houston.

After completion of 18 hours, students with a GPA of 3.4 and above and demonstrated abilities to conduct research may petition to switch to a thesis based degree. In order to do this, the student must have an advisor and committee members willing to supervise them. The thesis research advisor, Geology Graduate Advisor, and Department Chair must sign a petition indicating approval of the change to a thesis based M.S. degree option and it must be filed with the Advising Assistant (Ms. Marshall). The student must successfully defend their thesis proposal (as outlined in the requirements for the thesis based degree option) after they have completed their core course requirements and prior to completion of 27 hours of course credit.

Part-time students granted permission to conduct an M.S. thesis option must complete their thesis within 48 credit hours or 5 years of the start of their program, whichever occurs first. They must also abide by all relevant requirements for the thesis option.