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Graduate Program

Expand your knowledge through a graduate degree.

students measuring with beakers
Master of Science in Geology

Our current focus areas include sedimentary geology, petroleum geology, structural geology and tectonics, igneous and metamorphic petrology, Geospatial analysis, geomorphology, meteoritics and planetary geology, and paleontology.

View Former Student Theses

Graduate students must complete 30 credit hours in order to graduate. These hours include a mix of course work and independent study. We offer five or more graduate courses every semester, which typically consist of five to ten students per class, however the more popular classes (many of the petroleum-related classes) may have as many as 24 students as these are often offered at the junior/senior and graduate level. Most graduate students plan to complete their degrees in four semesters (two years), which is feasible for full-time students. Most classes are held during the day. However, we try to offer at least one or two evening classes per semester. All students in the program must complete a Master’s thesis as part of their degree requirements.

We have funding available (up to $3,000) for all graduate students (regardless of whether the student holds a Teaching Assistantship or not) to defray costs for thesis research.

Courses and Requirements 

We expect our students to have a general interest in geology and have some knowledge of different subfields within geology that are attractive as potential research areas. Most students complete projects that are local with easily accessible field areas in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Mississippi. In the past, students have also worked in Scotland, southern Africa, Peru, the Baja Peninsula and the Sierra Nevada in California. A number of students are completing studies without a field component where they are conducting subsurface studies (structural and stratigraphic). In addition, we have students working on projects in meteoritics, sequence stratigraphy, fluvial geomorphology, physical volcanology, paleontology, and carbonate petrology.

Program Requirements

We expect an overall undergraduate GPA above 3.0. We will also evaluate the GPA of the last 60 hours taken in addition to the GPA within the student’s geology classes. The GRE is not required for admission.

  • Minimum one semester of calculus
  • Two semesters of physics and/or chemistry (i.e. one semester of chemistry and one semester of physics would be enough)
  • A second semester of calculus, physics and chemistry is desirable.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines for the College are flexible, but apply by January 1 for maximum consideration for Fall admission and by September 1 for maximum consideration for Spring admission. We may still consider applications after these deadlines, but even qualified applicants may be turned down if we have filled the program. Only in rare cases do we consider applications for the spring semester, as funding is limited for spring applicants.

  • Complete online application
  • Three letters of recommendation (the online application will prompt you for information regarding your references.) 
  • Transcripts of all colleges attended (upload unofficial copies via the online application. If you are admitted to the program a single copy of all official transcripts will be required. Students must submit English translations of transcripts.) 
  • Personal Statement of Purpose (upload via the online application. Essay – 1,000 words or less, that describes your motivation and goals for graduate study, career ambitions, and the specific ways TCU may fit those.) 
  • TOEFL scores (input scores in Testing Information section in the online application, then request ETS to send official scores to TCU Graduate Studies, institutional code 6820) [Requirement for TOEFL is a minimum score of 80 IBT.] 
  • Application fee of $60 (payment via online application.) 
  • TOEFL is required of all international students – applicant may request a telephone interview with the department for possible waiver of the TOEFL. 
  • For U.S. permanent resident: Please confirm that you are a permanent resident of the United States by emailing a scanned copy of your green card to 
  • For non-permanent residents, please email the completed International Student and Scholar Form to
  • Admitted students will also be required to provide proof of financial support by filling out and returning the following form. Students on full Teaching Assistantships (see below) do not have to use this form.