Graduate Education

Our graduate programs equip geologists, geological engineers, and paleontologists with strong technical backgrounds, significant research opportunities, and excellent field and laboratory experiences, so they are well prepared to succeed in a diverse global environment. Our graduates leave well prepared for careers in industry, academia, applied research, or employment with state and federal agencies. List of GGE graduate student placement 2000 to 2020. 

The department offers three graduate programs, including a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and two Masters Degrees -- all with opportunities for training in a wide variety of specialty areas. Each degree emphasis or specialization has different background and program requirements.

South Dakota Mines offers the only Paleontology Masters Degree in the nation. The Geology and Geological Engineering Masters Degree is available in both thesis (including original research) and non-thesis (coursework only) options.  

Graduate students in the Geology and Geological Engineering MS program pursue either a Geology emphasis or a Geological Engineering emphasis. 

Graduate students in the Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering PhD program pursue a specialization in Geology, Geological Engineering, or Mining Engineering. Those interested in paleontology at the PhD level enroll in the Geology Specialization.

The M.S. programs in Geology and Geological Engineering and in Paleontology both offer an accelerated M.S. track open to students enrolled in the B.S. in Geology or B.S. in Geological Engineering at South Dakota Mines. See Accelerated Programs for additional information.

Current graduate students


Geology and Geological Engineering MS
Program Description



Program Description



Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering PhD
Program Description


The available coursework and current faculty expertise support the following areas of concentration:

Find out more about department research areas and research facilities.

Prospective students interested in applying to programs involving thesis or dissertation research, are strongly encouraged to contact specific faculty members regarding common research interests prior to applying for admission. 

A limited number of fellowships and assistantships are available to qualified students in thesis- or dissertation-based graduate programs. All applicants admitted these programs are automatically considered for assistantships and fellowships. 

The Ivanhoe International Center at South Dakota Mines provides assistance to international students applying for graduate admission.

Link to request information about our graduate programs