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Department of Geology and Geophysics|Graduate

Contact Us

Department of Geology and Geophysics
Dept. 3006
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: (307)766-3386
Fax: (307)766-6679
Email: geol-geophys@uwyo.edu
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Graduate Degree Requirements

Masters of Science (Geology)

The MS degree requires successful completion of 26 credits of course work and 4 hours of thesis credit for a total of 30 hours (minimum). A master’s thesis is required. Master’s students have six calendar years to complete the degree. A master’s committee consists of three faculty members (minimum), including one external department member.

Required courses: Fundamental of Research (GEOL 5020) first semester in residence, 2 semesters (1 credit/sem) of Distinguished Lecture Series, and the 1 credit Rocky Mountain field trip.

First semester: Student and advisor meet to identify any background deficiencies. Deficiency coursework must be completed with a grade of B or better early in the student’s graduate residence.

Second Semester: Oral qualifying examination, committee and program filed. See links below for format and send committee member names to acadcoord_gg@uwyo.edu.

MS Program of Study

Masters Oral Exam Requirements (doc)

Masters Qualifying Examination Form (pdf)

Final Semester: Oral presentation of the written thesis

Report of Final Examination Results (doc)

Additional Graduation Requirements:

  1. Declare graduation requirements (doc)
  2. Pay graduation fees
MS Course Requirements and Course Timeline
Year
Fall
Spring
Summer
1
RMFT, FOR
2–3 classes
Qualifier, DLS
2–3 classes
Research
2
DLS
2–3 classes
Research
Research

RMFT-Rocky Mountain Field Trip; DLS-Distinguished Lecture Series; FOR-Fundamentals of Research

  • Requirements:
    • A total of 26 course credits + 4 credits research
    • Qualifier exam to be taken by the end of the 2nd semester
    • Qualifier exam can be retaken once if committee majority concurs
    • One credit RMFT is six day field trip first week of first semester
    • One credit DLS must be taken twice during degree
    • All italicized classes are required
    • Geophysics MS requires 9 credits of math/physics in consultation with your committee and 12 hours of Geophysics credits
  • The nominal load is 9–12 credits a semester
  • Taking more than 12 credits a semester is discouraged

For any additional information, please visit the UW Graduate Student Resources page.

Doctor of Philosophy (Geology)

The PhD degree requires successful completion of 42 credits of course work and 30 hours of dissertation credit for a total of 72 hours (minimum). Previous course work from a previous graduate program may be considered for the Ph.D. Program with advisor approval. A Ph.D. committee consists of five faculty members (minimum) including one external department member.

Required courses: Fundamental of Research (GEOL 5020) first semester in residence, 2 semesters (1 credit/sem) of Distinguished Lecture Series, and the 1 credit Rocky Mountain field trip.

First semester: Student and advisor meet to identify any background deficiencies. Deficiency coursework must be completed with a grade of B or better early in the student’s graduate residence.

Second Semester: Oral qualifying examination, committee and program filed. See links below for format and send committee member names to acadcoord_gg@uwyo.edu.

Ph.D. Program of Study


Ph.D. Oral Exam Requirements (doc)

Ph.D. Qualifying Examination Form (pdf)

Fourth or Fifth Semester: Preliminary Examination. This exam is scheduled following completion of 30 hours of 4000-level or higher coursework, not including independent study or research credits. Following successful completion of the Preliminary Examination, a student has 4 years to complete the degree.

Preliminary Exam (doc)

Report on Preliminary Examination for Admission to Candidacy (doc)

Final Semester: Oral presentation of the written dissertation.

Report of Final Examination Results (doc)

Additional Graduation Requirements:

  1. Declare graduation date
  2. Pay graduation fees
PhD Course Requirements and Course Timeline
Year
Fall
Spring
Summer
1
RMFT, FOR
2–3 classes
Qualifier, DLS
2–3 classes
Research
2
DLS
2–3 classes

PhD Proposal
2–3 classes

Research
3
2–3 classes
2–3 classes
Research
4
Research
Research
Research

Note: Qualifier and PhD proposal exams can be retaken once if committee majority concurs.

RMFT-Rocky Mountain Field Trip; DLS-Distinguished Lecture Series; FOR-Fundamentals of Research

  • Requirements:
    • A total of 42 course credits + 30 credits research
    • Qualifier exam to be taken by the end of the 2nd semester
    • PhD proposal exam to be taken by the end of the 5th semester
    • Qualifier and PhD proposal exams can be retaken once if committee majority concurs
    • One credit RMFT is six day field trip first week of first semester
    • One credit DLS must be taken twice during degree
    • All italicized classes are required
    • Geophysics PhD requires 6 credits of math/physics in consultation with your committee and at least 12 credits of geophysics
  • The nominal load is 9–12 credits a semester
  • Taking more than 12 credits a semester is discouraged

For any additional information, please visit the UW Graduate Student Resources page.

Geophysics MS and PhD Requirements

All Graduate Degrees: Five departmental credits are required for all graduate degrees: Fundamentals of Research course (GEOL-5020, 2 credits), two semesters of the Distinguished lecturer series (2 credits), and the Rocky Mountain geology field trip (1 credit).

MS in Geophysics:  26 credits of >4000 level UW coursework are required. To fulfill this: take the 5 credits of required department courses; take four required Geophysics classes (12 credits); pick two other geophysics courses (6 credits).  In addition, 3 more credits are required in either geology, geophysics, mathematics, and physics. Finally, four credits of dissertation research are required.

PhD in Geophysics:  72 credits of >4000 level UW coursework are required. To fulfill this requirement: take Department required courses (5 credits); take 9 geophysics courses (27 credits) out of our 13 geophysics courses listed above.  The rest of the credits are a mixture of dissertation and other course work (geology, geophysics, mathematics, physics). Up to 24 credits of appropriate MS course work maybe transferred from a prior degree.

Course work (credits)

MS2

PhD3

Quantitative courses1

9

12

Geophysics courses

9

15

  1. Quantitative courses include seismology, physics, mathematics, and engineering courses.

  2. MS degree requires successful completion of 26 credits of course work at the >4000-level and four credits of dissertation research (total 30 credits).

  3. PhD degree requires 72 credits at the >4000-level from UW or equivalent credit transfers from another approved university. The 72-credit requirement may include graduate credits from a prior master's degree. But, at least 42 credits must be earned in formal course work and dissertation research credits.

Time limits on state-funded GAs

UW & the Department of Geology & Geophysics are committed to encouraging timely completion of graduate degrees:

  • Masters students will be allowed up to two (2) years of state-funded support.
  • Masters students who enroll in a double major, ENR for example, will be allowed up to 2.5 years of state-funded support.
  • PhD students will be allowed up to three (3) years of state-funded support if they enter the PhD program after having completed a master’s degree.
  • PhD students will be allowed up to five (5) years of state-funded GA support if they enter the PhD program after completing only a bachelor’s degree.*

*Academic Affairs will entertain exemption requests to the above time limits on an individual basis.

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