Graduate Program

Graduate Program

M.S. and Ph.D. in Geological Sciences

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences offers the M.S. and Ph.D. in Geological Sciences. Graduate education in the Geological Sciences is available in a range of fields such as paleoenvironmental change, modern climate change, evolutionary paleobiology, invertebrate paleontology, active tectonics, earthquake processes and geophysics, biogeochemical cycling, deep crustal and mantle processes, organic geochemistry, mineral deposits, numerical stratigraphy, fire ecology, astrobiology, exoplanets and planetary science.

Feel free to contact faculty members with specific questions.

Grad Research Opportunities

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences offers a variety of research opportunities for graduate students in:

Graduate education in the Geological Sciences emphasizes general geology combined with a number of specialties. The department prides itself on being collaborative and offers an interdisciplinary approach to a range of research specialties.

Graduate Application

How to Apply

Although the Department accepts applications on an on-going basis throughout the year, students are encouraged to complete their application early to ensure consideration for fellowship support. A variety of fellowships are available on a competitive basis through the UCR graduate division to augment the stipends of outstanding applicants.

U.S. Applicants

Application Instructions for U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents

The electronic application process is simple and convenient. Your electronic application will be composed of the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department Applicant Information form, the Graduate Division online application form as well as the Supplementary Forms required by the Graduate Division, official transcripts, letters of recommendation and official GRE scores. There is a nonrefundable $80 fee for the application.

To be admitted to graduate status, the basic requirement is a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution, with a major appropriate to the proposed graduate program. Applications are considered as received. For consideration for our top fellowships, it is best to complete the application process by December 1st. All students are required to take the GRE.

Application Checklist

  1. Domestic Application Requirements
  2. Complete Graduate Division Online Application
  3. Send transcripts from all Colleges and Universities attended.
  4. Request ETS to send your GRE scores to our campus. Only the GRE general exam is required for admission.

International Applicants

Application Instructions for International Applicants

The electronic application process is simple and convenient. Your electronic application will be composed of the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department Applicant Information form, the Graduate Division online application form as well as the Supplementary Forms required by the Graduate Division, official transcripts, letters of recommendation and official GRE scores. The Graduate Division requires a $100 application fee for international applicants. A full list of Graduate Division requirements is available on their website.

To be admitted to graduate status, the basic requirement is a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution, with a major appropriate to the proposed graduate program. Applications are considered as received. For consideration for our top fellowships, it is best to complete the application process by December 1st.

All students are required to take the GRE. International students whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). For those international students, preference for admission and fellowships will be given to those taking and passing the Test of Spoken English (TSE).

Application Checklist

  1. Complete Graduate Division Online Application
  2. Send transcripts from all Colleges and Universities attended.
  3. Request ETS to send your GRE scores to our campus. Only the GRE general exam is required for admission.
  4. The Graduate Division also requires a financial statement for international applicants

Housing

UCR graduate students have a variety of housing options. On-campus housing includes University apartments for graduate students and houses/duplexes for families. In addition, there is a wide range of apartments in the private community surrounding the UCR campus. Many graduate students choose to share an apartment, for companionship as well as reduced living expenses. Although many students will have cars, it is possible to live off campus even without one. The city of Riverside has clean and efficient public transportation and the excellent year-round climate makes it ideal for commuting by bicycle.

You can also check out the UCR Student Housing website for more information.

Financial Support

The majority of students accepted for graduate work in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department receive multi-year financial support in the form of a fellowship, a teaching assistantship, or a research assistantship. Financial support awards will be automatically considered for all applicants by the faculty in Earth and Planetary Sciences. Support awards are considered once a year, in the winter quarter, and awards are made for the following year. Applications for admission should be completed and submitted by December 1st to be considered for financial support awards.

Cost of Living

While the cost of living in Riverside is higher than in some of the more remote regions of the country, it is relatively inexpensive compared to many areas of California.

* See CNN cost of living calculator

Graduate Advising

Graduate advising in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is the responsibility of each student's graduate advisor. In consultation with the Graduate Committee, the graduate advisor determines the student's background deficiencies, approves study lists, recommends committee membership (examination, thesis, dissertation), monitors progress to the degree, and acts as a scientific mentor.

Grad Appeals Process

March 19, 2013, the Graduate Council approved new appeal procedures. The purpose of this procedure is to afford UCR graduate students an opportunity to resolve complaints involving academic or administrative decisions that interfere with the graduate student’s academic progress, such as adverse outcomes on qualifying exams, dismissal from graduate standing, placement on probationary status, denial of readmission to the same program (if the student was previously in good standing), disputes over joint authorship of research in accordance with joint authorship policies of campus departments or units, revocation of campus fellowships, and other administrative or academic decisions that terminate or otherwise impede progress toward academic or professional degree goals. The Departmental Appeal Procedures apply to all departments. Once those have been exhausted the University Appeal Procedures should be followed. To petition the Graduate Appeal Form should be completed.

Graduate Program Requirements

In addition to the catalog requirements please check out the Graduate Division website for more information about our graduate programs.

Master’s Degree

In addition to the general requirements listed under the Graduate Studies, the requirements for the M.S. degree in Geological Sciences, under the Plan 1 (Thesis), are as follows:

Admission - Students must make up any deficiency in preparation. The background required is course preparation equivalent to the bachelor’s degree in Geology or Geophysics at UCR. Courses taken to remedy background deficiencies are not applicable to the graduate degree. Such courses are designated in the letter of admission to the program sent by the dean of the Graduate Division to the student.

Biannual Reviews - All students must undergo biannual reviews by the departmental Graduate Progress Committee. A student’s progress is assessed in these reviews, and the committee may recommend changes in a student’s plans after these reviews.

Course Work - All students must enroll each quarter in the Graduate Seminar in Geosciences (GEO 250). Students must attend the weekly Hewett Club lecture series. Students must complete a minimum of 36 units of course work in the major and related subjects and obtain advance approval of a coherent plan of study from the graduate advisor. A maximum of 12 upper-division units beyond the requirements for the bachelor’s degree may be applied to the 36-unit requirement. Students must complete a minimum of 12 units of graduate courses, which must include at least four graduate-level instructional courses taught by four different faculty members as approved by the graduate advisor. Subject to the approval of the graduate advisor, a limited number of upper-division courses in the major and related sciences, if not required for the bachelor’s degree and not taken previously, may be accepted for graduate credit.

Thesis and Final Oral Examination - Before the end of the third quarter of study and before embarking on research, the student must submit a written thesis proposal to the graduate progress committee. After approval of the proposal, the student must submit a thesis based on original work for approval by a thesis committee. A maximum of 12 units of thesis research may be counted toward the 36-unit minimum. Students present an open research seminar as a final oral examination, which is advertised to all the students and faculty in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department.

Normative Time to Degree - 7 quarters

Global Climate and Environmental Change (GCEC)

The GCEC MS track is a field and laboratory-based multidisciplinary program focused on the evidence for and controls of past and present climate change. Candidates must complete the following:

Course Work - Students must complete a minimum of 36 quarter units of graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses, and research credit from 1 and 2 (below). Other upper-division undergraduate and graduate classes outside may be substituted with consent of the Graduate Advisor. 24 of 36 credits must be graduate level. 1) Required Core courses: GEO 224 upon entry into the program, GEO 260 and BIOL 212/ENTM 212/GEO 212. 2) At least two additional disciplinary courses: GEO 221, GEO 226, GEO 239, GEO 249, GEO 251, GEO 255, GEO 264, GEO 265, GEO 268, GEO 301, OR ENSC 200, ENSC 218, ENSC 224, ENSC 225, ENSC 232.

Thesis Work - Before the end of the third quarter, students must nominate a faculty advisor and identify a thesis topic. Before embarking on research the student must submit a thesis proposal based on original work for approval by a thesis committee. A maximum of 8 units of research credit can be counted toward the 36 unit minimum. Students present an open research seminar as a final oral examination.

Doctoral Degree

In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate Division as found in the Graduate Studies section, the Ph.D. in Geological Sciences normally requires the following.

Biannual Reviews - All students meet with the Graduate Progress Committee during their first week at UCR to discuss general interests, goals, and plans. The committee recommends courses designed to prepare a student for research and to correct deficiencies in background. This committee also reviews a student’s progress biannually and may recommend transfer to the master’s program if normal progress is not maintained.

Course Work - Students must complete at least four graduate-level instructional courses taught by four different faculty members as approved by the graduate advisor. Coursework used in satisfaction of the M.S. degree may be accepted with the graduate advisor’s approval. All students must enroll each quarter in the Graduate Seminar in Geosciences (GEO 250). Students are also required to attend the weekly Hewett Club lecture series.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations - Students must write two research proposals. The proposal topics must be approved by an examination committee to ensure breadth. The committee reviews the proposals and, if acceptable, recommends proceeding to the oral qualifying examination. An oral examination committee appointed by the dean of the Graduate Division examines the adequacy of the student’s preparation to conduct the proposed research. Advancement to candidacy in the Ph.D. program follows successful completion of the oral examination. Please see attached for more information:

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination - A dissertation normally evolves from one of the research proposals. The dissertation must present original scholarly work and be approved by a dissertation committee before the student may take the final oral examination. Students must have satisfactory performance on the final oral examination given by the dissertation committee.

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