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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 23, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Geology and Environmental Sciences, MS

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Students in MS and PhD programs have opportunities to participate in research programs encompassing many fields of current interest in geology, geochemistry, volcanology, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, planetary geology, paleoclimatology, hydrology, and environmental science. In general, the research is interdisciplinary, collaborative, and employs techniques such as traditional field-based studies, advanced geochemical analytical work, sophisticated remote sensing and GIS analysis, and advanced computer modeling of natural systems. Most students enter the program with an undergraduate degree in the geosciences; however, students with degrees in other natural sciences or in engineering may be admitted in some cases. The department also offers a professional Master’s degree in GIS/Remote Sensing. This non-thesis MS is patterned after the MBA degree and is designed to focus on the advanced concepts of GIS and remote sensing in order to give the student a competitive edge in the job market.

Requirements for the Master’s Degree

The minimum course requirement for the MS degree is thirty (30) credits beyond the baccalaureate. A minimum of eighteen (18) credits must be from formal courses. At least twelve (12) of these credits must be numbered 2000 or higher and must be taken within the Department of Geology and Enviromental Science. An initial evaluation, designed to explore the student’s basic knowledge of the geological sciences and related fields, is required of all MS degree candidates during their first term of residence. Each MS candidate prepares a thesis demonstrating successful completion of the research project as well as competency in the methods and techniques of scientific investigation in the field of her/his area of specialization. The thesis should serve as a source of publishable material, and all MS students must present research results at a meeting of a national or international scientific organization. Each MS student publicly defends her/his thesis before a Thesis Committee consisting of at least three faculty members from the Department of Geology and Environmental Science. Complete descriptions of the most recent degree requirements are available at

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