College of Science

Master's Program

The Program

Our Master’s program in Geology is designed to prepare graduates for employment in all fields of Geological Science, and teaching at secondary or community college levels. Emphasis is placed on applied skills demanded by potential employers. Fundamental to the program is a thorough understanding of basic geologic principles rooted in field and laboratory experiences. The geologic framework provided by the MS degree will enable graduates to meet the intellectual challenges of their professional or academic careers and assume leadership roles in their profession. The program is sufficiently flexible to meet student interests in the application of geology to the solution of hydrologic, geophysical, environmental, geoengineering, or resource extraction problems facing society.

As a polytechnic university we are dedicated to the “Learn by Doing” philosophy and stress practical interactions between students, faculty and industry / government professionals. The Geology Department is a member of  IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology , and is involved in the  California State University Water Resources and Policy Initiative. Faculty research endeavors are supported by grants from such agencies as National Science Foundation, USGS National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, Southern California Earthquake Center, Department of Education, and JPL / Caltech. The Department maintains a robust alumni network, including many individuals who work in local geoscience industries and government agencies.

How to Apply

Apply online through Please also send hard copies (or electronic files) of your application and supporting materials to:

Admissions Requirements

Unconditional Admission into the Geology Master’s program is contingent upon the following:

  1. A Bachelor’s degree in Geology or a closely related discipline (e.g., Geotechnical Engineering, Hydrology, Geophysics, Earth Science, Environmental Science) from an accredited institution, with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in Earth science courses, and a 2.5 grade-point-average in related science and mathematics courses;
  2. Satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test with an expected score in the 50th percentile or better on the verbal and quantitative components;
  3. Two letters of recommendation;
  4. A one-page personal statement of interest, including research and career aspirations;
  5. A minimum of 24 semester units or 36 quarter units of undergraduate Earth Science coursework (see item 1 above) is required to receive unconditional acceptance into the Master’s program.
  6. Availability of faculty and resources in the student’s stated area of interest.

Conditional Admission will be considered for a limited number of applicants not meeting the above requirements and following review of the student’s academic background by the departmental Graduate Program Committee. Such students must meet deficiency requirements stipulated in the statement of conditional admission within the time limit specified.

Graduate Faculty

Jonathan Nourse

Jonathan Nourse

Professor and Department Chair

PhD, Caltech, 1989

Specialties: Structural Geology, Tectonics, Mineral Exploration, Engineering Geology, GIS Applications, Hydrogeology

Jeffery Marshall

Jeffrey Marshall

PhD, Penn State University, 2000
Specialties: Geomorphology, Neotectonics , Geologic Hazards, Watershed Restoration, Coastal Geology

Jascha Polet

Jascha Polet

PhD, Caltech, 1999
Specialties: Seismology, Geophysics, Hazards Assessment, Tsunami

Stephen Osborn

Stephen Osborn

Associate Professor
PhD, University of Arizona, 2010
Specialties: Hydrogeology, Aqueous Geochemistry, Groundwater Remediation, Energy and Environment

Nick Van Buer

Nicholas Van Buer

Assistant Professor
PhD, Stanford University, 2012
Specialties: Petrology, Geochronology, Field Geology, Tectonics, Geographic Information Systems

Bryan P. Murray

Assistant Professor
PhD, UC Santa Barbara, 2014
Bryan MurraySpecialties: Sedimentary Geology, Volcanology, Field Geology, Extensional Tectonics, Historical Geology

Extra Links

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