Geology and Geological Engineering, MS

Contact Information

Dr. Laurie Anderson, Department Head 
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering
Mineral Industries 303
(605) 394-2461
E-mail: Laurie.Anderson@sdsmt.edu  

Geological Engineering Faculty

Professor Stetler; Associate Professors Katzenstein and Sawyer; Assistant Professor Li; Professors Emeritus

Davis and Rahn.

Geology and Paleontology Faculty

Professors L. Anderson, Duke, Masterlark, M. Price, and Uzunlar; Associate Professor Pagnac; Assistant

Professors Baran, Keenan, Ustunisik, and Ward; Lecturer C. Price; Professors Emeritus Fox, Lisenbee, Martin,

Paterson, and Redden.

Adjunct Faculty

M. Anderson, Benton, Iles, McCormick, Nielsen, and Valder.

Staff

Research Scientist Roggenthen and Tung; Energy Resources Initiative Director Soeder; Coordinator and

Instructor Pellowski; Museum of Geology Associate Director and Instructor Shelton.

Geology and Geological Engineering

The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering offers advanced study leading to a M.S. degree in geology and geological engineering. Students must elect to pursue either a Geology Specialization or a Geological Engineering Specialization, each of which has different background and program requirements.

Research in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering is organized around three themes: Earth and Life History, Energy and Natural Resources, and Geohazards and Environment. Additional information is available on the Department’s Research Page. The available coursework and current faculty expertise support the following areas of concentration.

  1. Energy Resources
  2. GIS, Geoinformatics, and Remote Sensing
  3. Groundwater and Environment
  4. Paleontology*
  5. Petrology and Mineral Resources
  6. Structure, Tectonics, and Geodynamics
  7. Geomechanics

* Students concentrating in paleontology at the Master’s level may apply for the separate M.S. in Paleontology.

The Accelerated MS option is available for this degree.

Graduate Programs Outcomes

Department-wide expectations for Geology and Geological Engineering graduate programs are designed to target the following program outcomes in the context of the GGE Strategic Plan and greater professional community:

  • Students will have technical expertise.
  • Students will be effective communicators.
  • Students will engage in meaningful professional service.
  • Students will impact the profession.

Background Requirements for MS

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants. The TOEFL, IETS, or PTE exam is required for students whose native language is not English. Many factors contribute to the success of an application, including the goals statement, coursework, grades, test scores, work experience, recommendations, and availability of a faculty member in the student’s anticipated research area. In general we prefer to see a GPA of 3.0 or above and GRE scores greater than the 50th percentile. Different specializations have different background coursework requirements, as described below.

Background Expected for Geology Specialization

Although a particular baccalaureate degree is not required for admission, incoming students are expected to have substantial preparation in general science, math, and geological sciences; successful applicants will ideally have completed the subjects listed below. The student’s graduate committee may require that deficiencies important to the student’s area of interest be remedied by taking additional undergraduate courses that will not count towards the graduate degree credit requirements.

  • Calculus I and II
  • Statistics
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • General Physics I and II, or General Biology I and II
  • Stratigraphy/Sedimentation
  • Petrology
  • Structural Geology
  • Field Geology
     
Background Expected for Geological Engineering Specialization

Although a particular baccalaureate degree is not required for admission, incoming students are expected to have substantial preparation in science, math, geological sciences, and engineering; successful applicants will ideally have completed the subjects listed below. The student’s graduate committee may require that deficiencies important to the student’s area of interest be remedied by taking additional undergraduate courses that will not count towards the graduate degree credit requirements.

  • Calculus I, II, and III
  • Differential Equations
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • General Physics I and II
  • Stratigraphy/Sedimentation
  • Petrology
  • Structural Geology
  • Statics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Fluid Mechanics, or Rock Mechanics

MS in Geology and Geological Engineering Program Requirements

The MS thesis option requires 30 credits, including six (6) credits of thesis research and twenty-four (24) credits of coursework. No more than 15 credits may come from courses at the 500-level or below. The department considers the thesis option to be its primary degree and strongly prefers that all MS students complete a thesis. Direct admission to the non-thesis option is not available. However, in some cases a non-thesis degree may be granted to accommodate special circumstances. Additional information is available in the university catalog.

Candidates for the MS degree must fulfill all degree requirements of the graduate office and the program. Departmental requirements include a written thesis proposal with oral thesis defense and an oral coursework exam covering course material. Additional information is available in the university catalog.

Geology Specialization Requirements

The candidate’s committee is responsible for assisting the student in developing a program of study that prepares the student for his/her intended field of study.

is required the first fall semester of enrollment. In addition, the program of study must include at least one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing field/analytical methods and one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing computational methods. The student’s advising committee determines the courses that meet these criteria.

Geological Engineering Specialization Requirements

All M.S. students in the Geological Engineering specialization are expected to focus in one of the three areas of groundwater/environmental, geomechanics, or energy/mineral resources. The candidate’s committee is responsible for assisting the student in developing a program of study that prepares the student for his/her intended focus area.

is required the first fall semester of enrollment. In addition, the program of study must include at least one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing field methods, one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing analytical methods and one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing computational methods. The student’s advising committee determines the courses that meet these criteria.

Additional Information

Any physical specimens (and associated documentation) collected, prepared, and cited in a thesis or dissertation are to be deposited in the Museum of Geology as part of the student’s work.