Earth and Environmental Sciences, MS

Parent Entity: 
Science and Mathematics, College of ยป Earth and Environmental Sciences
Program Type: 
Degree Type: 
Master of Science

Program Description:

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences offers two master's degree programs-the Master of Science and Master of Science in Teaching (Earth Science). The Master of Science program prepares students for careers as professional earth scientists in industry, government, or education, or for continued graduate study. Current research focus areas of the department include Aquatic Biogeochemistry, Hydrogeology, Geophysics, Geospatial Analysis and Remote Sensing, Complex Earth Processes, Paleoecology and Sedimentary Environments, and Earth Science Education. The department is widely recognized for its applied and multidisciplinary programs and maintains a strong emphasis on practical field applications.

A non-thesis M.S. degree option is available for individuals seeking to gain expertise in earth or environmental sciences who already have an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in science or engineering from an accredited university, and who have completed a research thesis or dissertation.

The Master of Science in Teaching (Earth Science) program is designed for K-12 educators seeking to build their Earth/Space science content knowledge and pedagogical skills. Students in this program can take a variety of traditional, on-line and field based courses, as well as up to 10 semester hours of education courses through the College of Education and Human Services. Up to 12-quarter hours or 8-semester hours of graduate courses may be eligible for transfer.

Admissions Requirements:

A candidate for the Master of Science degree must possess a Bachelor of Science degree or Bachelor of Arts degree from a recognized institution. Students must have a strong background in earth or environmental sciences with appropriate courses in supporting sciences, mathematics, and computer science. Students not meeting these requirements may be admitted with deficiencies. A candidate for the Master of Science in Teaching degree must possess a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from a recognized institution.


The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is housed primarily in Oelman Hall and in the Brehm Laboratory. Department facilities include 12 teaching and research laboratories and a wide variety of specialized facilities. The department's research facilities and equipment are outstanding and lend critical support to its applied programs. The department's computer facilities provide PCs, Macs, and custom workstations for GIS, geological, hydrological, geophysical, and remote sensing applications.

The facilities and equipment supporting research in geophysics include a 144-channel ARAM seismic reflection system, 10 long-period Guralp seismometers for passive seismic and earthquake studies, geophysical workstations for seismic modeling, software for Amplitude vs Offset (Angle) analysis, Sun workstations running PROMAX and linux workstations running GeoTomo GeoThrust software for 2D and 3D seismic data processing, computers donated by Hess installed with Schlumberger PETREL subsurface mapping and interpretation software, workstations running surface wave dispersion software (Surfseis, SeisOpt ReMi, and Geopsy), three gravity meters (LaCoste-Romberg and Worden), a magnetic gradiometer system, both GSSI SIR-2 and SIR-3000 ground-penetrating radar systems with a wide range of antennae, a Sting-Swift 2D/3D resistivity imaging system, a 48-channel Strataview engineering seismograph, a trailer-mounted Bison elastic wave generator, a Leica TCRA1105 total survey station and a survey grade Trimble GPS system.

Several laboratories support research in environmental geochemistry. Field campaigns are supported by equipment for either sampling or in situ determination of both the physical and the chemical properties of environmental systems, including: water and sediment sampling systems; in situ electrodes with automated digital data acquisition systems; and downhole geophysical logging tools. Two field sites, including an experimental wetland, with multiple pumping and monitoring wells are maintained for teaching and research.

The environmental geochemistry laboratories have a complete line of instrumentation for analysis of aqueous chemical parameters. These instruments include multiple ion chromatographs, gas chromatographs, UV/Vis spectrophotometers, flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer, carbon and nitrogen analyzer, gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer, high-performance liquid chromatograph, cold-vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometers, and an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer.

An additional laboratory focuses on measuring the physical properties of sediment and fluids, including porosity and permeability, and a computer laboratory has computer workstations dedicated to hydrogeologic modeling.

The Department has a remote sensing facility running permanent ERDAS and ERMAPPER licenses with the capability to download and process a variety of satellite and airborne image formats. The facility includes a large-format plotter suitable for large-scale mosaics.

In addition to the laboratory facilities described here, the department has an exceptional array of field equipment for faculty and student use. This equipment includes truck-mounted drilling rigs and other vehicles for field research. Two technicians are employed to maintain and improve both field and laboratory equipment.

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