M.S. Thesis Options

Option One: Research Thesis

Minimum requirements for graduation:

  •  24 course credits
  •  6 research credits (Geol697)
  •  2 credits of Geol699: Geology Colloquium
  •  Original research Thesis


  • Graduate Advisor
  • Research Committee (3 members)


  • To prepare students for future Ph.D. studies or employment in geological research. The Thesis option is an intensive experience, involving more focused coursework and a relatively open-ended, and challenging project.

Option Two: Professional Studies

Minimum requirements for graduation:

  • 33 course credits
  • 6 research credits (Geol680)
  • 2 credits of Geol699: Geology Colloquium
  • 1 two-semester-long Project with a fixed deadline


  • Graduate Advisor
  • Research committee (3 members)


  • The Professional Studies option is designed to simulate the work of professional geologists. Projects must be completed within a specified time frame, but they may be carried out in conjunction with off-campus work.

M.S. Course Selection:

All coursework applied towards the degree must be at graduate level (400 or higher). No more than 40% of the courses may be at the 400-level (upper division undergraduate course). Option 1 - A maximum of 12 credits of 400-level courses Option 2- A maximum of 16 credits of 400-level courses

Undergrad Prerequisites

M.S. students must have completed courses equivalent to those required for the Geology B.S. at WVU. If not, they will normally be made up at WVU.

  • Geology 101,102: Physical Geology (4 credits)
  • Geology 103,104: Historical Geology (4 credits)
  • Geology 284: Mineralogy (3 credits)
  • Geology 285: Petrology (3 credits)
  • Geology 311: Stratigraphy/Sedimentation (3 credits)
  • Geology 341: Structural Geology (3 credits)
  • Geology 404: Geology Field Camp (6 credits)
  • Statistics 111 (3 credits)
  • Mathematics (6 credits)
    • Math 115 and 116 OR Math 115 and Geomath
  • Chemistry (6 credits): Chem 115 and 116
  • Physics (6 credits): Phys 101 and 102 OR Phys 111 and 112


New students meet with an Advising Committees before the first week of classes in order to develop a Plan of Study. Each student is assigned a tentative Advisor. Option II students retain their Advising Committee and Advisor for the duration of their residency. Option I students adopt a Research Committee and Advisor that replaces the role of the Advising Committee by the end of their first year in residency.

Important Graduation Milestones

  1. Establish Plan of Study (During Orientation advising session in first week on campus)
  2. Find an advisor (First semester)
  3. Find a thesis or project topic (First or second semester)
  4. Establish a research committee (First or second semester)
  5. Propose your research project or thesis and update Study Plan (Second semester)
  6. Conduct field or laboratory research (First Summer and/or third semester)
  7. Write thesis or project (Fourth semester)
  8. Submit Application for Graduation (Within 2 weeks of beginning of 4th semester)
  9. Request Shuttle Sheet (Five weeks before Commencement)
  10. Defend Thesis or Project and submit signed Shuttle Sheet  (at least 3 weeks before Commencement)
  11. Submit Thesis to Wise Library

The relevant Forms can be found here http://eberly.wvu.edu/faculty-and-staff/forms-and-instructions

The student must fill the forms out, sign them and give them to Hope Stewart in Brooks 325 for approval and submissions to the College.