Combined B.S./M.S. in Geology

The Combined B.S./M.S. program is designed to permit a superior student to earn both the Bachelor's and the Master's degrees in as few as five years of study. Although designed to provide an integrated experience of undergraduate and graduate work, the Combined B.S./M.S. in Geology program is not a course of study separate and distinct from the traditional B.S. and M.S. Students in the Combined B.S./M.S. in Geology program will, at any given time, be either undergraduate or graduate students. Rather, the program provides the opportunity for a superior student to telescope these degrees by taking up to nine graduate credits (600-level or higher) while still an undergraduate and counting them toward both degrees. A grade of "B" or better must be earned in each of these courses. Under optimal circumstances, one might complete both degrees in five years. Actual completion time will vary depending on one's individual circumstances. The master's thesis may be a continuation of work begun as part of the undergraduate senior thesis.


Acceptance into the Combined B.S./M.S. normally would occur after the end of the sophomore year. The minimum requirements for acceptance into this program are similar to those for the Geology Honors program, namely an overall GPA of at least 3.0 at the end of the sophomore year and a GPA of 3.0 or better in all courses required for the major.


Interested eligible students must provide the following material to be considered:

  1. At least three letters of recommendation. At least one of these must be from a prospective thesis advisor.
  2. An essay or statement of purpose.
  3. An interview with the undergraduate Honors Director and the Graduate Director.

Based on this, students may provisionally be accepted into the program. Students so accepted will be permitted to enroll in appropriate graduate-level courses. The Combined B.S./M.S. program allows 9 credits of graduate courses (600-level or above) to be counted towards both the B.S. and M.S. degrees. A grade of "B" or better must be earned in each of these courses. Continued participation is provisional, however, pending satisfaction of the following:

  1. Completion of the undergraduate curriculum.
  2. A GPA of 3.5 or better in GEOL 393 and GEOL 394.
  3. Maintenance of a 3.0 overall GPA and a GPA of 3.0 or better in all courses required for the major.
  4. Formal application and admission to the Graduate School. Your application for graduate admission is completely separate from your application to the Combined B.S./M.S. Your participation in the Combined BS/MS as an undergraduate does not give you priority over other graduate applicants.

Upon enrollment as a graduate student, the participant must designate the graduate courses that should be counted toward both degrees.

Typically, a student in the combined BS/MS would enroll in the MS program in the semester following completion of the BS. Hiatuses between enrollments must be approved in advance by the graduate and undergraduate directors.