College of the Extended University

Curriculum

The Master's degree program must include a minimum of 30-semester units; at least 21 units must be in 500-600 level courses (see curriculum outlined below).

  • No more than 9-semester units of graduate credit may be transferred from another institution or petitioned by a Cal Poly Pomona undergraduate student. 
  • A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better must be maintained in all upper-division undergraduate and graduate classes. 
  • The Graduate Writing Test (GWT) must be passed. (See GWT info below). 

Graduation Writing Test (GWT) Information:

All persons who receive undergraduate, graduate, or external degrees from Cal Poly Pomona must pass the Graduation Writing Test (GWT).  If you are unable to pass the test after two attempts, you may apply to enroll in CPU401, a class in which your writing is assessed on a portfolio basis. Students enrolling in CPU401 will be charged the state graduate level tuition fees for this course.  Please visit the links below for more detailed information.

State Tuition Fee Information for CPU401

Graduation Writing Test (GWT) & CPU 401 Information

  • An acceptable thesis must be completed and submitted in accordance with Department and University regulations. 
  • An oral thesis defense must be successfully completed.

The courses listed below are Required Courses (16 units).

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Discussion and practice of the design, mechanics and style of geoscience oral presentations and posters. Writing effective conference abstracts, professional reports and theses. Literature search and critically evaluating sources. Data analysis and visualization. May be enrolled by undergraduate or graduate students.

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Literature review and analysis of geoscience concepts, principles and processes. Topics may draw upon sub-disciplines of Hydrogeology, Geophysics, Engineering Geology, Structural Geology, Tectonics, Petrology, Geochronology, Mineral and Energy Resources, and Natural Hazards. Participants present oral and written summaries of assigned readings, and participate in discussion sessions that examine the underlying hypotheses and recent research advances.

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Field excursions to sites of geological, geophysical, hydrologic or geotechnical importance within California and the southwestern U.S. Advanced field mapping projects, geophysical surveys, and/or hydrogeologic/geotechnical investigations with ”on-site” reviews of field relationships or data collected by instruments. Written reports presenting and analyzing data collected during student field experiences in the context of various current research topics. Multi-day field trips and/or one-day excursions. May be taken unlimited times.

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Oral presentation and discussion of a proposed research plan for the Master’s thesis, accompanied by a written proposal. Required for Advancement to Candidacy.

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Choose from the courses below. Twelve units must be 5000-level.

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Theory underlying GIS methods for digital mapping and quantitative analysis of geospatial data. Coordinate systems, raster vs. vector data sets, procedures for georeferencing raster images, creation of geodatabases linked to topology, geocoding procedures. Spatial analysis of geologic, hydrologic, and environmental processes or phenomena. Team project(s) to integrate data acquisition with GIS map production.

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Practical GIS methods for map representation and quantitative spatial analysis of coordinate-based geoscience data. Laboratory and field techniques for converting raw geoscience data into digital map layers. Acquisition of X-Y-Z-attribute data from raster scans or natural field settings. Creation of geo-databases linked to topology. Manipulation of digital data layers; enhancement with graphics programs.

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Geologic and geophysical principles applied to engineering problems in the geotechnical industry. Slope stability assessment, faults and seismology of southern California, Alquist- Priolo/fault trench studies, strong ground motion and site effects, shake maps, probabilistic hazard analysis. Case studies of landslides, earthquakes, and engineering infrastructure. May be enrolled by undergraduate or graduate students.

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Laboratory study of engineering problems pertinent to the geotechnical industry; e.g., slope stability assessment, dam site analysis, fault trench studies, grading of housing developments. Site investigations involving field measurements and 3-dimensional analysis of structural data. May be enrolled by undergraduate or graduate students.

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Study of sedimentary rocks based on textures, mineralogy, classification, and structures and their significance in relation to transport/depositional processes, regional setting, and post depositional history; focus on depositional facies models and controls of tectonics and sediment supply on sedimentation.

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Laboratory investigations of sedimentary rocks based on textures, mineralogy, classification, and structures and their significance in relation to transport/depositional processes, regional setting, and post depositional history; focus on depositional facies models and controls of tectonics and sediment supply on sedimentation.

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Theory of the origin, classification, chemistry, and mineralogy of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Properties of igneous and metamorphic minerals in thin section. Interpretation of rock textures and structures. Geothermobarometry.

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Practical laboratory and field exercises regarding the origin, classification, chemistry, and mineralogy of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Use of petrographic microscopes to describe igneous and metamorphic minerals in thin section. Analysis of pressures and temperatures of geologic events via calculations and software.

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Methods to characterize physical attributes of soil. Soil particle size distribution and structure, nature and behavior of clay, state and movement of water and solutes in saturated and unsaturated soil conditions, gas and energy exchange between soil and atmosphere, principles of rheology.

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Laboratory and field investigations of Soil Physics. Laboratories emphasize physical attributes of soil. Soil particle size distribution and structure, nature and behavior of clay, state and movement of water and solutes in saturated and unsaturated soil conditions, gas and energy exchange between soil and atmosphere, principles of rheology.

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Geophysical methods used to investigate the Earth’s shallow subsurface structure. Fundamentals of seismic methods. Exploration using gravity. Principles of electrical resistivity, magnetic methods and ground-penetrating radar. Equipment, field procedures and experiment design. Data processing and analysis using modeling. Examples of applications.

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Laboratory and field-based investigations of the geophysical methods used to investigate the Earth’s shallow subsurface: seismic methods, gravity, electrical resistivity, electromagnetic and magnetic methods, and ground-penetrating radar. Equipment use, field procedures and experiment design. Data processing and analysis using modeling. Examples of applications.

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Study of the major tectonic elements of the Earth, including their geometry, kinematics and dynamics, with special emphasis on the Cordillera of western North America. Geologic features will be analyzed in the context of plate tectonic theory.

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Field examples of plate tectonics, both in the geologic record and also ongoing activity, in southern California and the southwest U.S. Oral presentation of tectonic topics during field trips.

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Study of generation, propagation and recording of seismic waves and their sources. Stress and strain. Body waves and surface waves. Interpretation of seismograms. Determination of Earth structure. Focal mechanisms; earthquake statistics; seismotectonics.

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Laboratory study of generation, propagation and recording of seismic waves and their sources. Interpretation of seismograms. Determination of Earth structure. Interpretation of focal mechanisms; seismotectonics. Analysis of earthquake statistics.

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Geophysics and geochemistry of volcanoes. Plate tectonic setting. Properties of magma. Shape and structure of volcanic edifices. Products of eruptions. Hazards and risk. Effects of volcanic eruptions on climate and human history. Field measurements and remote sensing. Forecasting and prediction. Graduate students may enroll for graduate credit.

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Laboratory study of the geophysics and geochemistry of volcanoes. Plate tectonic setting. Properties of magma. Shape and structure of volcanic edifices. Products of eruptions. Hazards and risk. Effects of volcanic eruptions on climate and human history. Field measurements and remote sensing. Forecasting and prediction. Graduate students may enroll for graduate credit.

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Data analysis, quantitative and computer skills necessary to succeed in geoscience careers. Solving realistic quantitative problems in the geosciences using standard mathematical procedures as well as more specialized techniques and software. Graduate students may enroll for graduate credit.

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Advanced geologic mapping and/or data collection in a variety of settings. Exact topics to vary based on expertise of instructor. Use of modern geospatial tools and instrumentation. Reports, maps, and field data analysis required. Minimum four field days per unit, plus additional time to complete assignments. May be taken unlimited times.

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Characteristics of planets, satellites and small bodies in our solar system; space exploration and remote sensing of these bodies; formation and evolution of their surfaces, atmospheres and interiors. Discussions of simulations of planetary processes and field studies of landforms on Earth analogous to extraterrestrial features. Extrasolar planets.

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Group study at an advanced level of a selected well-defined topic or area not covered by a regularly offered course.

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Group study at an advanced level of a selected well-defined topic or area not covered by a regularly offered course.

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Group study at an advanced level of a selected well-defined topic or area not covered by a regularly offered course.

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Advanced topics related to outstanding tectonic problems. Discussion and presentation of scientific literature. Use of structural, petrological, and geochronological data to evaluate geologic hypotheses. Emphasis on field data sources. Application to exploration for groundwater, minerals, and energy resources.

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Advanced laboratory and field investigations in Structural Geology and Tectonics. Geological mapping related to outstanding tectonic problems. Use of structural and petrologic field data to evaluate tectonic hypotheses.

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History of the Earth during the Quaternary Period (last 2.6 Million Years), including the Pleistocene ice ages and Holocene warm epoch. Study of geologic and geomorphic records of Quaternary climate cycles, glaciation, sedimentation, sea level fluctuation, and active tectonics. Quaternary stratigraphic methods, geochronology, ice core studies, glacial geology, and paleoseismology. Causes and global environmental effects of cyclical Quaternary climate change.

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Laboratory and field investigations of Earth history during the Quaternary Period. Geologic and geomorphic records of Quaternary climate cycles, glaciation, sedimentation, sea level fluctuation, and active tectonics. Quaternary stratigraphic methods, geochronology, ice core studies, glacial geology, and paleoseismology. Causes and global environmental effects of cyclical Quaternary climate change.

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Discussions of fluid mechanics, fluid flow equations, surface water/groundwater interactions, contaminant fate and transport, and conceptual/computer models used to characterize the occurrence and transport of fluids in a variety of geologic and subsurface environments

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Advanced laboratory and field investigations of Hydrogeology. Laboratories and field trips will focus on aspects of fluid mechanics, quantifying fluid flow, surface water/groundwater interactions, contaminant fate and transport, and conceptual/computer models to characterize fluid/contaminant transport.

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Origin and occurrence of petroleum and related products. Study of the geologic structure and stratigraphy of major oil and gas fields. Contemporary techniques for exploration, extraction, and management of petroleum resources.

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Laboratory and field investigation related to origin and occurrence of petroleum and associated products. Study of the geologic structure and stratigraphy of major oil and gas fields. Contemporary techniques for exploration and extraction of petroleum resources. Field trips to accessible oil and gas research facilities.

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Advanced geophysical methods used to investigate the Earth’s shallow subsurface. Focus on application of these methods and interpretation of geophysical data through forward and inverse modeling. Methods include: seismic refraction, resistivity, magnetics, gravity, ground penetrating radar. Discussion of case studies and scientific literature.

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Laboratory and field study of advanced geophysical methods used to investigate the Earth’s shallow subsurface. Design of experiments and use of geophysical equipment to generate data; processing and interpretation of this data through forward and inverse modeling. Methods include: seismic refraction, resistivity, magnetics, gravity, ground penetrating radar. Discussion of scientific literature and case studies.

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Advanced topics in structural, engineering and earthquake seismology, with a focus on concepts and applications of observational seismology. Earthquake rupture and strong ground motion. Use of seismic waves for the study of Earth’s interior. Site response and hazard. Tectonophysics and seismotectonics. Discussion of scientific literature and research on recent earthquakes.

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Laboratory and field study of advanced topics in structural, engineering and earthquake seismology, focused on applications of observational seismology. Use of seismic equipment to record seismic waveforms; processing and interpretation of this data. Site response and hazard. Tectonophysics and seismotectonics. Discussion of scientific literature and research on recent earthquakes.

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Geochemistry of stable and radiogenic isotopes. Use as tracers in hydrology and petrology. Fractionation and mixing. Paleoclimate proxies. Geochronology and thermochronology. Measurement techniques and data analysis.

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Laboratory exercises in the geochemistry of stable and radiogenic isotopes. Use of isotopes as tracers in hydrology and petrology, fractionation and mixing, paleoclimate proxies, geochronology and thermochronology. Measurement techniques and data analysis.

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Advanced topics and applications related to sediment transport, depositional environments, stratigraphy, or basin analysis. Application to groundwater and energy resource evaluation or tectonics research. Discussion and presentation of scientific literature.

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Laboratory and field investigations in sedimentology and stratigraphy. Topics may include sediment transport, depositional environments, stratigraphic interpretation methods, sedimentary petrography, provenance studies, basin analysis, interpretation of well logs and drill core.

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Group study at a graduate level of a selected well-defined topic or area not covered by a regularly offered course.

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Group study at a graduate level of a selected well-defined topic or area not covered by a regularly offered course.

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Group study at a graduate level of a selected well-defined topic or area not covered by a regularly offered course.

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Independent research study of a Geoscience problem following standard scientific methodology. Research techniques, data acquisition and analysis/interpretation guided by a GSC faculty research supervisor. Total number of units allowed to count toward degree is 3.

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Compilation, evaluation, interpretation, and report of research for Master’s thesis directed by a committee of Geology faculty members. Completion of university-approved, bound thesis. Oral defense of thesis. May be taken up to two times for a total credit of 2 units.

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