Master of Science

The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering offers Master of Science degrees in Geology, Geochemistry, and Geological Engineering.

The Geological Engineering degree requires possession or acquisition of an undergraduate engineering degree or its equivalent. Graduate students desiring to study ground water, engineering geology/geotechnics, mining engineering geology and some environmental applications are generally expected to pursue the Geological Engineering degree. Students desiring to study petroleum or minerals exploration or development sciences, geochemistry and/or geology generally pursue Geology or Geochemistry degrees. Students are initially admitted to either geoscience or geological engineering degree programs and must receive approval of the GE department Graduate Advisory Committee to switch degree categories.

Master of Science in Geology

The Master of Science (Geology) program will require 36 semester hours of course and research credit hours (a maximum of 9 credit hours may be 400-level course work). Twelve of the 36 credit hours must be research credits. To ensure breadth of background, the course of study for the Master of Science (Geology) degree must include at least one graduate course in each of the fields of stratigraphy/ sedimentology, structural geology/tectonics, and petrology. At the discretion of the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee, an appropriate course may be substituted for one (and only one) of the fields above. All Master of Science (Geology) candidates must also complete an appropriate thesis, based upon original research they have conducted. A thesis proposal and course of study must be approved by the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee before the candidate begins substantial work on the thesis research.

Prerequisites

The candidate for the degree of Master of Science (Geology) must have completed the following or equivalent subjects, for which credit toward an advanced degree will not be granted.

  • General Geology
  • Structural Geology
  • Field Geology (6 weeks)
  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Chemistry (3 semesters, including at least 1 semester of physical or organic)
  • Mathematics (2 semesters of calculus)
  • An additional science course (other than geology) or advanced mathematics
  • Physics (2 semesters)
Master of Science in Geochemistry

The Geochemistry Program is an interdisciplinary graduate program administered by the departments of Geology and Geological Engineering and Chemistry. The geochemistry faculty from each department is responsible for the operations of the program. Students reside in either the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering or the Department of Chemistry.

Prerequisites

Each entering student will have an entrance interview with members of the Geochemistry faculty. Each department recognizes that entering students may not be proficient in both areas. A placement examination in geology and/or chemistry may be required upon the discretion of the interviewing faculty. If a placement examination is given, the results may be used to establish deficiency requirements. Credit toward a graduate degree will not be granted for courses taken fo fulfill deficiencies.

Requirements

The Master of Science (Geochemistry) degree requires a minimum of 36 semester hours including at least 24 semester hours of course work and 12 hours of research credits. To ensure breadth of background, the course of study for the Master of Science (Geochemistry) degree must include:

  • CHGC503: Introduction to Geochemistry
  • CHGC504: Methods in Geochemistry

Master of Science (Geochemistry) students must take two courses selected from the following list:

  • CHGN503: Advanced Physical Chemistry
  • CHGC509: Introduction to Aqueous Geochemistry
  • GEOL512: Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry
  • CHGC610: Nuclear and Isotopic Geochemistry

In addition, all students must complete a one hour laboratory course selected from several available. Master of Science (Geochemistry) students must also complete an appropriate thesis, based upon original research they have conducted. A thesis proposal and course of study must be approved by the student’s thesis committee before the student begins substantial work on the thesis research.

Master of Science (Geochemistry) students resident in the Department of Chemistry or the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering shall adhere to the seminar rules and requirements of the department of residence.

Master of Science in Geological Engineering

The Master of Science Degree Program in Geological Engineering requires a minimum of 36 semester hours of course and project/research credit hours (a maximum of 9 credit hours may be 400-level course work), plus a Graduate Thesis. The degree includes three areas of specialization (engineering geology/geotechnics, groundwater engineering, and mining geological engineering) with common requirements as follows:

  • GEGN532 Geological Data Analysis (3)
  • At least twelve hours of research credits are required: Master of Science Research (GEGN705).
  • At least 24 course credit hours are required, and must be approved by the student’s thesis committee.

The content of the thesis is to be determined by the student’s advisory committee in consultation with the student. The Masters thesis must demonstrate creative and comprehensive ability in the development or application of geological engineering principles. The format of the thesis will follow the guidelines described under the Thesis Writer’s Guide. In addition to the common course requirements, the Master of Science degree with specialization in Engineering Geology/Geotechnics requires:

  • GEGN467 Groundwater Engineering (4)
  • GEGN468 Engineering Geology & Geotechnics (4)
  • GEGN570 Case Histories in Engineering Geology (3)

And at least two of the following courses

  • GEGN571 Advanced Engineering Geology (3)
  • GEGN573 Geological Engineering Site Investigation (3)
  • GEGN671 Landslides: Investigation, Analysis & Mitigation
  • GEGN672 Advanced Geotechnics (3)

Typically, the additional courses are selected from the follow ing topical areas: engineering geology, groundwater engineering, groundwater modeling, soil mechanics and foundations, rock mechanics, underground construction, seismic hazards, geomorphology, geographic information systems, construction management, finite element modeling, waste management, environmental engineering, environmental law, engineering management, and computer programming. In addition to the common course requirements, the Master of Science degree with specialization in Ground Water also requires the following courses:

  • GEGN467 Groundwater Engineering (4)
  • GEGN468 Engineering Geology & Geotechnics (4)
  • GEGN572 Ground-Water Engineering (3)
  • GEGN583 Mathematical Modeling Of Groundwater (3)

Two courses selected as follows

  • ESGN500 Environmental Water Chemistry (3) or
  • GEGN509/CHGC509 (3) Introduction To Aqueous Geochemistry
  • ESGN503 Environmental Pollution (3) or
  • GEGN581 (3) Advanced Groundwater

As nearly all ground water software is written in Fortran, if the student does not know Fortran, a Fortran course must be taken before graduation, knowledge of other computer languages is encouraged In addition to the common course requirements, the Master of Science degree with specialization in Mining Geology also requires:

  • GEGN528 Mining Geology (3) or GEGN518 Mineral Exploration (3)
  • Specialty Areas (17 credits minimum.)

This will include about 5–6 courses (predominantly at 500 and 600 level) selected by the student in conjunction with the Masters program advisory committee. Specialty areas might include: mineral deposits geology, mineral exploration, mining geology, mineral processing, applied geophysics, applied geochemistry, engineering geology, environmental geology, geostatistics, geographic information systems, environmental or exploration and mining law, engineering economics/management, and computer sciences.

Prerequisites

The candidate for the degree of Master of Science (Geological Engineering) must have completed the following or equivalent subjects. Graduate credit may be granted for courses at or above the 400 level, if approved by the student’s advisory committee.

Mathematics

  • Calculus (2 semesters)
  • One semester of any two of:
    • calculus III
    • differential equations
    • probability and statistics
    • numerical analysis
    • linear algebra
    • operations research
    • optimization

Basic Science

  • Chemistry (2 semesters)
  • Mineralogy and Petrology
  • Physics (2 semesters)
  • Stratigraphy or Sedimentation
  • Physical Geology
  • Computer Programming or GIS

Engineering Science

  • Structural Geology
  • One semester in four of the following subjects:
    • Physical Chemistry or Thermodynamics
    • Statics
    • Mechanics of Materials
    • Fluid Mechanics
    • Dynamics
    • Soil Mechanics

Engineering Design

  • Field Geology
  • As part of the graduate program each student must take one semester in two of the following subjects if such courses were not taken for a previous degree:
    • Mineral Deposits/Economic Geology
    • Hydrogeology
    • Engineering Geology
  • As part of the graduate program one semester in three of the following subjects if such courses were not taken for a previous degree:
    • Foundation Engineering
    • Engineering Hydrology
    • Geomorphology
    • Airphoto Interpretation, Photogeology, or Remote Sensing
    • Petroleum Geology
    • Introduction to Mining
    • Introductory Geophysics
    • Engineering Geology Design
    • Mineral Exploration Design
    • Groundwater Engineering Design

Other engineering design courses as approved by the program committee

Master of Science in Underground Construction and Tunneling

Colorado School of Mines offers the only graduate degree program in Underground Construction and Tunnel Engineering in North America. The Master of Science program has thesis and non-thesis options and is offered jointly by the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geology and Geological Engineering and Mining Engineering, providing students with a wide breadth of knowledge from diverse perspectives. In addition, we are proud to have faculty and student researchers involved from the mechanical engineering, petroleum engineering, electrical engineering, geophysics and computer science disciplines.

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Master of Science in Hydrology

The Hydrological Sciences and Engineering Program at the Colorado School of Mines is an interdisciplinary graduate program comprised of faculty from several different Mines departments. The Master of Science degree has thesis and non-thesis options. The program offers fields of study in fundamental hydrologic science and applied hydrology with engineering applications.

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Documents and Forms

A number of important forms can be accessed in interactive form at the Office of Graduate Studies website. Several forms (e.g., Admission to Candidacy form) must be filled out at that website and printed for signatures and submittal. The Graduation Application form should be completed and submitted online.