Professional Master

The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering offers Professional Master degrees in Environmental Geochemistry, Mineral Exploration, and Petroleum Reservoir Systems. These degrees are non-thesis based.

Professional Master's in Environmental Geochemistry

The Professional Master’s in Environmental Geochemistry program is intended to provide: (1) an opportunity for Mines undergraduates to obtain, as part of a fifth year of study, a master’s in addition to the bachelor’s degree; and (2) additional education for working professionals in the area of geochemistry as it applies to problems relating to the environment.

This is a non-thesis maste’sr degree program administered by the Geochemistry program, and may be completed as part of a combined degree program by individuals already matriculated as undergraduate students at Mines, or by individuals already holding undergraduate or advanced degrees and who are interested in a graduate program that does not have the traditional research requirement. The program consists primarily of coursework in geochemistry and allied fields with an emphasis on environmental applications. No research is required though the program does allow for independent study, professional development, internship, and cooperative experience.


Undergraduate students at Mines must declare an interest during their third year to allow for planning of coursework that will apply toward the program. These students must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0. Students majoring in other departments besides the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering and the Department of Chemistry may want to decide on the combined degree program option earlier to be sure prerequisites are satisfied. Applicants other than Mines undergraduates who are applying for this non-thesis master’s degree program must follow the same procedures that all prospective graduate students follow. However, the requirement of the general GRE may be waived.


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 to fulfill deficiencies.


A minimum of 30 credit hours are required, with an overall GPA of at least 3.0. The overall course requirements will depend on the background of the individual, but may be tailored to professional objectives.

A 10 credit-hour program consists of:

  • GEGN466*: Groundwater Engineering,
  • CHGC503: Introduction to Geochemistry,
  • CHGC509; Aqueous Geochemistry.

*If this course is transferred from the undergraduate program, another course must be substituted from the list below: In addition, 14 credit hours must be selected from the following list:

  • CHGN503: Advanced Physical Chemistry,
  • CHGC504: Methods in Geochemistry,
  • CHGC506: Water Analysis Laboratory,
  • GEOL512: Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry,
  • CHGC527: Organic Geochemistry of Fossil Fuels and Ore Deposits,
  • GEOL530: Clay Characterization,
  • GEGN532: Geological Data Analysis,
  • GEOL550: Integrated Basin Modeling,
  • CHGC555: Environmental Organic Chemistry,
  • CHGC562: Microbiology and the Environment,
  • CHGC563: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory,
  • CHGC564: Biogeochemistry and Geomicrobiology,
  • GEGN575: Applications of Geographic Information Systems,
  • GEGN581: Advanced Groundwater Engineering
  • GEGN583: Mathematical Modeling of Groundwater Systems,
  • ESGN586: Molecular Microbial Ecology and the Environment,
  • CHGC610: Nuclear and Isotopic Geochemistry,
  • GEGN683: Advanced Groundwater Modeling.

The selection of courses mentioned in the previous paragraph must include at least one laboratory course (CHGC506 or GEOL530).

An additional 6 credit-hours of free electives may be selected to complete the 30 credit-hour requirement. Free electives may be selected from the list above, and may also be independent study credits (CHGC599, GEGN599 or GEOL599) taken to fulfill a research cooperative, or other professional development experience. A course program will be designed in advanced through consultation between the student and an advisor from the Geochemistry Committee of the Whole.

Professional Master's in Mineral Exploration


This non-thesis master’s degree program is designed for working professionals who want to increase their knowledge and skills, while gaining a thorough up-date of advances across the spectrum of economic geology, mineral exploration techniques, and mining geosciences. Admission to the program is competitive. Preference will be given to applicants with a minimum of two years of industrial or equivalent experience.

The program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours. A minimum of 15 credit hours must be accumulated in five of the following core areas: mineral deposits, mineral exploration, applied geophysics, applied geochemistry, applied structural geology, petrology, field geology, and economic evaluation. An additional 15 credit hours may be selected from the course offerings of the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering and allied departments including Mining Engineering, Economics and Business, Geophysics, Chemistry and Geochemistry, Metallurgy and Materials Science, and Environmental Sciences.

Selection of courses will be undertaken in consultation with the academic advisor. Up to 9 credit hours may be at the 400-level. All other credits towards the degree must be 500-level or above. A maximum of 9 credit hours may be independent study focusing on a topic relevant to the mineral exploration and mining industries.


Admission to the program is generally restricted to individuals holding a four-year undergraduate degree in earth sciences. Candidates for the degree of Professional Master in Mineral Exploration must have completed the following or equivalent subjects, for which credit toward the advanced degree will not be granted. These are general geology, structural geology, field geology, mineralogy, petrology, chemistry (2 semesters), mathematics (2 semesters of calculus), physics (1 semester), and an additional science course other than geology.

Learn More

How to Apply

FAQ application process
Graduate Admissions webpages
Mines online application system


Please contact the program coordinator Thomas Monecke if you have questions.

Professional Master's in Petroleum Reservoir Systems

Professional Master’s in Petroleum Reservoir Systems

The Professional Master’s in Petroleum Reservoir Systems (PMPRS) degree is designed for individuals who have petroleum industry experience and are interested in increasing their knowledge across the disciplines of geology, geophysics, and petroleum engineering. The degree is suitable for consultants, service and operating company employees, and individuals whose companies desire them to improve their knowledge of the multi-disciplinary aspects of the petroleum industry.

Teaching assistant and research assistant positions are not available for PMPRS students in this department.

We enroll for Fall and Spring semesters. The degree typically takes 3 semesters (1.5 years) as no summer courses are available. Students may enroll part-time.

General Administration

The three participating departments (GE, GP, and PE) share oversight for this program through a committee consisting of one faculty member from each of the three departments. Students gain admission to the program by application to any of the three sponsoring departments. Students are administered by that department into which they first matriculate.


The program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours. Up to 9 credit hours may be at the 400 level. All other credits toward the degree must be 500 level or above.

9 hours must consist of:

1 course selected from the following:

  • GPGN419/PEGN 419 Well Log Analysis and Formation Evaluation
  • GPGN519/PEGN519 Advanced Formation Evaluation

2 courses selected from the following:

  • GEGN503/GPGN503/PEGN503 Integrated Exploration and Development I
  • GEGN504/GPGN504/PEGN504 Integrated Exploration and Development II
  • GEOL609 ADV Petroleum Geology

9 additional hours must consist of one course each from the 3 participating departments.

The remaining 12 hours may consist of graduate courses from any of the three participating departments, or other courses approved by the committee. Up to 6 hours may consist of independent study, including an industry project.

Prerequisites for applying through the Geology Department:

  • General Geology
  • Structural Geology
  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Chemistry (2 semesters)
  • Mathematics (2 semesters of calculus)
  • An additional science course (other than geology) or advanced mathematics
  • Physics (2 semesters)

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.

Following are the Thesis Committee Step-by-Step Guide for Graduation Commencement for May and December 2019.

Field Trip Forms (Three)