Graduate Programs in Geology

Geology graduate programs are designed to provide advanced education opportunities for practicing or future professional geologists and a strong research foundation for students who intend to enter a Ph.D. program. The Geology program at the University of Southern Mississippi emphasizes both the importance of a field-based education and the application of new technologies to geological investigations.

Degrees Offered

Admission Requirements

Admission is based on grade point average (GPA), letters of recommendation from persons qualified to assess the applicant's readiness for graduate study, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Applicants to the Professional Geology emphasis area must have three years experience and be currently employed as a geologist or in a closely related position. A letter of recommendation from the applicant's immediate supervisor is required. Applicants are expected to have an undergraduate degree in Geology with courses equivalent to our requirements, including field geology.

Degree Requirements - Geology Emphasis

A minimum of thirty graduate hours, including 18 hours at the 600-level or higher, with an overall GPA of 3.0 is required. This includes six hours of thesis credit. The remaining twenty-four must be graduate Geology courses. Arranged courses such as GLY 692, unless taught as a formal course, do not apply. A limited number of graduate hours for appropriate courses in other areas may be accepted with approval of the Geology faculty.

By the end of the first year of graduate study, the student must have identified a thesis topic, established a graduate committee, and defended a prospectus. The student must complete and defend the thesis and pass an oral comprehensive exam. A thesis preparation manual with detailed instructions for the thesis format and timelines for thesis preparation and review is available.

Degree Requirements - Professional Geology Emphasis

A minimum of thirty graduate hours, including 18 hours at the 600-level or higher with an overall GPA of 3.0 is required. If the applicant is not already a registered professional geologist, the ASBOG Fundamentals of Geology exam must be passed before taking comprehensive exams. Both a written and oral comprehensive exam is required, as well as a portfolio of documents demonstrating the candidate's ability to perform applied geological research and prepare technical documents.

Graduate Student Information

For questions concerning deadline, admissions, relevant forms and much more information, see the Graduate School web site here.

For questions or comments about our degree program, please contact the Geology Graduate Coordinator:

Frank Heitmuller, PhD
Department of Geography and Geology
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5051
Hattiesburg, MS 39402
(601) 266-5423
Franklin.Heitmuller@usm.edu