Graduate Bulletin

Geology, M.S.



Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: February 1

Spring: October 1

Applications are evaluated together after the deadline has passed.  Program admissions are limited and competitive.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 2 minimum; 3 preferred

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with the applicant's academic competence.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

Applicants are expected to have taken at least five courses in Geology and one year of college-level Chemistry, Calculus, and Physics or Biology.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree, whether a B.A. or a B.S., with a major in Geology or a related program in Science or Mathematics is required.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should include the following: your specific interest in Temple's program; your research goals; your future career goals; and your academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. Scores are typically in the 50th percentile or higher in the quantitative, verbal, and analytical areas.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 105 iBT or 620 PBT.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:

Seven Earth and Environmental Science courses to be chosen from:

EES 5011:  Remote Sensing
EES 5042:  Coastal Processes
EES 5101:  Structural Geology
EES 5402:  X-ray Crystallography
EES 5406:  Environmental Nanogeoscience

EES 5454:  Introduction to Geophysics

EES 5461:  Low-Temperature Geochemistry

EES 5462:  Advanced Low-Temperature Geochemistry
EES 5601:  Vertebrate Paleontology and Taphonomy
EES 5625:  Electron Optical Techniques
EES 5702:  Sedimentary Petrology

EES 5725:  Soils and Paleosols
EES 5801:  Quantitative Structural Geology

EES 5802:  Tectonics
EES 5811:  Planetary Geology
EES 8000:  Geology Seminar
EES 8082:  Independent Study
EES 8200:  Graduate Geology Seminar

EES 8411:  Advanced Hydrogeology

EES 8421:  Groundwater Modeling
EES 8434:  Ecohydrology

EES 8911:  Teaching of Geology

EES 9996:  Master's Research and Thesis

Also, one elective, chosen in consultation with an advisor.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Comprehensive Examination:

The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to demonstrate breadth and depth of knowledge in the concepts of geological sciences. The exam has written and oral sections. The subject areas are general geology in the written portion and other general geology concepts in the oral portion. The examination is taken when the student completes approximately 20 credits.

The Graduate Faculty in the Geology program write the questions. Faculty members from each area of specialization participate. The Graduate Faculty members who write the questions also evaluate the answers. The written examination is evaluated for content and understanding of core concepts. The oral examination is evaluated on the basis of clarity of the answers to questions on other general geology concepts. The oral examination is evaluated by the student's advisor and at least two other faculty members. The combined results of the written and oral examinations determine whether a student has qualified for candidacy.

Comprehensive examinations are generally administered once annually in April/May. The written examination runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The oral examination runs about 1 hour.

Thesis Proposal Defense:
By the middle of a student’s second semester, a proposal for a thesis research project is developed in collaboration with the student’s thesis committee and presented to the EES faculty. The thesis committee consists of the primary research advisor and two other faculty members. The goal of this presentation is to gauge whether a student has acquired sufficient background and knowledge to complete the proposed research, and to defend the concepts and hypotheses of the proposal. Students may be required to modify certain aspects of the proposal before final approval.


The Department of Earth and Environmental Science requires an original research thesis as the culminating project in its master's degree program. The purpose is to involve each degree candidate in a field or laboratory research project in which the student gains experience in designing a project, specifying hypotheses to be tested, carrying out sampling procedures, and interpreting results. The project is then presented in written form (typically 75-150 pages) with title page, abstract, introduction, methods, data, interpretation, tables, figures, plates, and references. Students are required to defend their theses publicly to the academic community. The defense is scheduled two weeks after the student's advisor and committee have approved the thesis document. The thesis is evaluated by a committee of two faculty members and the thesis advisor. The thesis is evaluated for both scientific content and writing style.

Program Contact Information:

Department Information:

Dept. of Earth and Environmental Science

326 Beury Hall (016-00)

1901 North 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6081


Department Contacts:


Shelah Cox


Graduate Advisor:

Dennis O. Terry, Jr., Ph.D.


Jonathan E. Nyquist, Ph.D.


About the Program

The Department of Earth and Environmental Science offers a two-year M.S. program that includes graduate courses in Geology, weekly graduate seminars, qualifying exams, and research leading to a master's thesis.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location:


Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Full-time status is expected. Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m.

Department Information:

Dept. of Earth and Environmental Science

326 Beury Hall (016-00)

1901 North 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6081



Not applicable.

Interdisciplinary Study:

Not applicable.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Advanced courses and research opportunities are available in environmental geology, geochemistry, geophysics, geothermal energy, hydrogeology, hydrology, mineral science, nanogeoscience, paleopedology and modern soils, petrology, planetary geology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, structural geology, and vertebrate paleontology and taphonomy.

Job Placement:

Our graduates secure positions in industry and government and are accepted into doctoral programs.


Licensure is recommended after three years of on-the-job training. The Pennsylvania Professional Geologist Licensing Examination is administered by the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG).

Non-Matriculated Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students are allowed to take up to 9 credits.

Financing Opportunities

Graduate students in our program are usually given a Teaching Assistantship, which carries a stipend and full-tuition remission (up to 12 credits per semester). The responsibilities of the Teaching Assistant are to teach introductory geology labs and attend weekly seminars.

Updated 5.5.14