Sep 26, 2020  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalogue 
    
2015-2016 Graduate Catalogue Archived Catalogue

Geoscience, M.S.


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Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Michael Smith

The Department of Geography and Geology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington offers a program of study leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) degree in geoscience. The primary goal of the program is the development of professionals capable of conducting research in the geosciences through broadly based study of modern Earth and ocean processes and their ancient analogs.

The program includes a thesis and non-thesis option, both of which provide a foundation for advanced study or employment in the geological, geospatial technology, environmental fields, mineral and energy industries, and government agencies. For example, completion of the non-thesis option with a geology concentration assists students toward professional licensure in geology. In addition, the thesis option is designed to prepare students for advanced study leading to the doctoral degree.

Specific goals of the program are to provide advanced research and educational opportunities in the geosciences, and to prepare geoscientists for solving contemporary problems in Earth, ocean and environmental science. Specific objectives are: 1) to develop research competence in the geosciences; 2) to develop professional competence in the assessment of water, energy and mineral resource potentials through the integrated analysis of geological and geographical data using advanced technologies; 3) to develop a level of research competence in the geosciences that encourages continued effort towards an advanced (e.g., doctoral) degree or professional licensure; and, 4) to provide the scientific community with meaningful geologic, geographic, and oceanographic data.

Admission Requirements


Applicants seeking admission to the graduate program in geoscience:

  • Should have a strong overall academic record with a “B” or better average on all course work prerequisite to geoscience, and satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in a discipline appropriate to advanced study in the geosciences.
  • Upon entrance into the master’s program, the student’s advisor may identify deficiencies and recommend remedies. All deficiencies must be removed before a student is accepted as a candidate for the degree.

 Applicants are required to submit the following to the Graduate School:

  1. An online application for graduate admission; including the statement of interest.
  2. Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate).
  3. Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing)
  4. Three recommendations by individuals in professionally relevant fields
  5. Application and supplemental documents must be submitted by the published deadline.

Transfer Credit


A maximum of six credit hours of graduate credit may be transferred from another regionally accredited institution. All transfer credit must be approved by the department or program. Grades earned on transfer work must be equivalent to “B” or better.

Degree Requirements


The MS Geoscience offers concentrations in 1) geology, 2) geospatial science and 3) earth processes and global change. All concentrations have a thesis option, and the non-thesis option is available in the geology and geospatial science concentrations. The student will develop a program of study, including courses appropriate to their needs and interests, in consultation with and approved by the major adviser and Graduate Coordinator.

Thesis Option (30 credit hours)


  1. The program requires at least 30 credit hours of graduate credit including a minimum of three, but no more than six credit hours for the thesis (GEO 599 ), and no more than six credit hours of directed independent study (GEO 591 ). A minimum of 24 credit hours of graduate credit must be completed at UNCW.
  2. Each student must complete the requirements for one of the concentrations.
  3. Each student must submit an approved thesis prospectus and successfully complete a comprehensive oral examination prior to registering for thesis hours.
  4. Each student must complete an approved course of study in his or her declared concentration within five years of the date of first registration for graduate study.
  5. Each student must complete, present and defend a thesis, based on original research, acceptable to the committee, prior to graduation. The thesis defense is open to the public.

Thesis Concentration Requirements


Geology Concentration- Thesis Option

In addition to meeting the requirements listed above for the thesis option, students must complete:

Geospatial Science Concentration- Thesis Option

In addition to completing the requirements listed above for the thesis option, students must complete:

Earth Processes and Global Change Concentration- Thesis Option

In addition to meeting the requirements listed above for the thesis option, students must complete:

Non-Thesis Option (33 credit hours)


  1. The program requires at least 33 credit hours of graduate credit, including three credit hours for final project (GEO 597 ) or internship (GEO 598 ) and no more than six credit hours of directed independent study (GEO 591 ). An additional three credits of internship may be applied to the degree with approval of the Graduate Coordinator or Department Chair. A minimum of 27 credit hours of graduate credit must be completed at UNCW.
  2. Each student must complete the requirements for one of the concentrations.
  3. Each student must pass a written comprehensive examination after the successful completion of all required core coursework with the exception of GEO 597  and GEO 598 .
  4. Each student must prepare and defend a degree portfolio of significant works.

Non-Thesis Concentration Requirements


Geology Concentration- Non-Thesis Option

In addition to meeting the requirements for the non-thesis option listed above, students must complete:

Geospatial Science Concentration- Non-Thesis Option

In addition to meeting the requirements for the non-thesis option listed above, students must complete:

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