Research activities of the program involve stratigraphy, sedimentology, paleoceanography, paleomagnetics, paleontology, paleoecology, biostratigraphy, structural geology, tectonics, geochemistry, geophysics, volcanology, igneous petrology, hydrogeology, and quaternary geology. A broad background in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and geology is stressed. The graduate committee sets a course of study for each new student and encourages each one to outline a research program in consultation with a faculty member. That faculty member becomes the student's adviser.
A written thesis, 24 credits of course work, and 6 credits of research are required for the master's degree. A minimum of 33 credits of course work out of a total 72 credits is required for the doctorate. A candidate for the Ph.D. must demonstrate satisfactory capability in computers. In addition, he or she must pass a qualifying examination that includes a written examination and an oral defense of the proposed dissertation research. One year of full-time graduate work satisfies the residency requirement. The master of philosophy degree is available to doctoral candidates.
All applicants should submit three letters of recommendation and their Graduate Record Examination results. Part-time students are encouraged to apply.