The Masters of Science in Geology is a rigorous research thesis program with grounding in related coursework. Research programs include environmental geology, geomorphology, water resources, geochemistry, mineralogy, sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic environments, geochronology, and structural evolution of orogenic belts.

Examples of specific faculty interests include geologic history and recent sedimentation in the Lake Champlain Basin, processes and chronology of glaciation, stable and cosmogenic isotopic studies, water quality and pollutant transport, crystal chemistry and crystallography, microbial ecology and geochemical cycling, tectonic evolution of deformed continental margins and interiors, petrofabric and structural analysis of deformed rocks, partial melting processes, mineral structure analysis, stratigraphy and sedimentary environments of lower Paleozoic sandstones and carbonates.

The geology graduate experience is enhanced with our facilities and specialized research equipment, and skills embedded throughout the Geology curriculum.

Available funding

Most of the departmental funding is awarded in the form of Graduate Teaching Fellowships (GTFs). Learn more about GTFs, basic awards, and fellowship maintenance.


Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Master of Science

  1. Bachelor's degree in Geology or related field from an accredited institution with year-long courses in chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics preferred. The M.S. program is also open to undergraduate majors in physics, chemistry, biology, engineering or mathematics who have accumulated 12 semester hours of coursework in geology. Required remedial course-work in geology, if any, will be established by the student and the faculty during the admission process and during advising at the beginning of the first semester.
  2. Strong undergraduate record, and letters of recommendation.
  3. In addition to the required application, applicants may wish to submit evidence that will demonstrate their interest in and preparation for graduate study in the Department of Geology at the University of Vermont; that optional material can be uploaded in the application through the “Miscellaneous Documents” section. The following list includes examples of additional materials applicants might consider submitting as part of their application:
    • Journal publications, abstracts, posters or conference presentations
    • Writing samples from course work
    • Senior thesis or research report
    • GRE scores
    • Examples of web design
    • Field camp or other course deliverables (e.g. maps, projects, reports)
    • Overviews of lab and field experiences 
    • Group project with description of applicant’s contributions 
    • Description of outreach work
    • Special skills (e.g., experience with GIS or vector graphics software)
    • Description of relevant life experiences
  4. Applicants should identify a potential faculty advisor (or advisors) and include research interests in the application statement.
  5. Application to the program is a competitive process and admission is dependent upon available Teaching and/or Research Fellowships.

Requirement for Advancement to candidacy for the Degree of Master of Science

Advancement to candidacy requires satisfactory completion of a comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination includes both a written and oral

  1. research thesis proposal and
  2.  progress report during the second and third semesters of enrollment, respectively.

Minimum Degree Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

  1. Successful writing, oral presentation and defense of a research thesis are required.
  2. Satisfactory completion will be determined by the candidate’s thesis committee. Advanced courses in geology must total at least 30 semester hours, including at least one 300-level course and six to nine credit hours for thesis research.
  3. A minimum of 15 graded credits used in compilation of the graduate GPA must be taken in residence at UVM.
  4. Advanced courses in related sciences are encouraged and may be substituted for some selected geology courses on approval by the departmental advisor. With the prior approval of their department and the Graduate College, students may apply one 100/200 level, three-credit undergraduate course towards their graduate program. A student's advisor must petition the Graduate College for approval before the student enrolls in the course. Consult individual programs for further limitations. Under no circumstances will a course numbered below 100 be applicable to a master's program.

Graduate Student Resources

  1. Geology Graduate Student Handbook 2018-2 (PDF)
  2. Graduate College
  3. Graduate Student Senate (GSS)
  4. Pawbook: The UVM Graduate Student Guide  is written by graduate students for graduate students to assist in navigating UVM and the Burlington area.

Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation with the MS degree, a student will have the skills to:

  • Design and complete a research project under the guidance of their advisor
  • Demonstrate facility in a variety of instrumentation and subsequent quantitative data analysis related to their research
  • Apply the concepts and information learned from their thesis research to a variety of more broadly-based problems
  • Integrate the historical development of their field of scholarship into their research
  •  Demonstrate an ability to place their scholarship into the broad context of subject knowledge in geology as well as in the context of the appropriate sub-discipline
  • Use the graduate research experience as a foundation for future applications of the scientific research method to the solution of a wide range of geoscience problems
  • Make a professional public presentation of their research
  • Write a scientific article that could be published in a refereed journal

Application deadline for Fall semester is February 15th