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 Li; Assistant Professor Fang; Professors Emeritus Davis, Rahn, and Sawyer.

Geology and Paleontology Faculty

Professors L. Anderson, Duke, Masterlark, M. Price, and Uzunlar; Associate Professor Pagnac; Assistant Professors Keenan, Ustunisik, Waldien, and Ward; Lecturer C. Price; Professors Emeritus J. Fox, Martin, and Paterson.

Adjunct Faculty

M. Anderson, Benton, and Valder.

Staff

Research Scientists Nielsen and Roggenthen; Coordinator and Instructor Pellowski; Museum of Geology Associate Director and Instructor N. Fox; Museum Preparator and Instructor Johnson.

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. At this time there is no direct admission into the non-thesis option.

* 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. Learn more: Loading...

Research Areas

The available coursework and current faculty expertise in Geology and Geological Engineering support the following areas of concentration.

  1. Energy and Mineral Resources
  2. Geomechanics
  3. Geophysics
  4. Groundwater and Environment
  5. Paleontology
  6. Petrology and Mineralogy
  7. Structure and Tectonics

Additional information is available on the Department’s Research Page.

The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering has laboratory facilities that include a groundwater laboratory with digital and analytical modeling capabilities, a petrophysics lab, an experimental petrology lab, an InSAR laboratory, a geotechnics laboratory, 3D photogrammetric camera systems, a ground-based lidar camera, an operational well field with data loggers and transducers, a geochemistry and geomicrobiology lab, and labs for paleontology sample preparation and imaging. Instrumentation includes field GPS units, levels and total stations (shared with the MEM Department), geophysical equipment, ground-probing radar, a hydrologic analysis system, a portable wind tunnel, and a mobile drilling rig.

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing Laboratory is a facility for generating and analyzing spatially-referenced digital information, including maps and remotely-sensed data. Licenses for remote sensing and GIS software are available in labs, for use on university and student-owned computers, and as online cloud services. Computing facilities, including a computational geodynamics lab and a computational seismology lab, are continually updated and contain high-speed computers with GIS and other analytical capabilities. Computer programs are available for digital modeling of groundwater flow and contaminant migration, petroleum engineering, petroleum systems, slope stability, geophysical applications, and geochemical modeling.

For information on research in the Mining Engineering and Management Department, visit their Research page.

    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 waived for 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. 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 M.S. 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. Direct admission to the non-thesis option is not available at this time, 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 proposal defense. Additional information is available in the university catalog.

    Geology Specialization Requirements

    A research planning course (GEOL 700) must be taken during the first fall semester of enrollment. A minimum of 23 elective credits are required. 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. The program of study must include at least twelve (12) credits of electives with a GEOL/GEOE/PALE prefix and at least eleven (11) credits of additional GEOL/GEOE/PALE or other electives. The completion of a master's thesis, approved by the student's graduate advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Education, is required for this degree. At least 6 credits of GEOL 798 are required.  No more than 6 credits of GEOL 798 may be counted toward the degree.

    Geological Engineering Specialization Requirements

    A research planning course (GEOE 700) must be taken during the first fall semester of enrollment. A minimum of 23 elective credits are required. All MS students in the Geological Engineering emphasis 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 the developing a program of study that prepares the student for his/her intended field of study. The program of study must include at least twelve (12) credits of electives with a GEOL/GEOE/PALE prefix and at least eleven (11) credits of additional GEOL/GEOE/PALE or other electives. The completion of a master's thesis, approved by the student's graduate advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Education, is required for this degree. At least 6 credits of GEOE 798 are required. No more than 6 credits of GEOE 798 may be counted toward the degree.

    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.


    See course catalog for more information: Loading...