Master of Science in Geological Sciences

About the Geological Sciences, MS

The master's program in Geological Sciences offers a unique opportunity to delve into advanced geological topics and gain practical experience through fieldwork and laboratory research. Our dedicated faculty are committed to developing professional geoscientists with the ability to conduct original and meaningful scientific research. Whether you are driven by a love of discovery or a desire to make a positive impact on the world, join us and begin your journey of scientific exploration, where you will leverage your geological expertise to leave a lasting imprint on the world. Our program prepares students for successful geoscience careers or for continuing graduate studies at the doctoral level.

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Why Study Geological Sciences at CWU?

Our Geology, MS offers a unique experience in understanding the natural world.

Our location in Eastern Washington provides an exceptional backdrop for geological exploration and research. Both students and faculty have been recognized and awarded funds by the Geological Society of America for their research and contribution to this field. Our program’s quality research and learning facilities utilize our state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation providing an optimal learning experience. Class requirements are customized to meet your goals and experience, so whatever career or advanced degree you seek, you will be prepared with the necessary skills.

Where is this program offered?

How much does this program cost?

Explore information on Cost, Aid, and Value to make an informed decision about investing in your education at CWU.

Does CWU offer assistantships?

Our department offers both teaching and grant-supported research assistantships. Assistantships require an incoming GPA of 3.0 on the last 90 undergraduate credits. Research assistantships are most often granted to second-year students working on projects supported by external grants to Geological Sciences faculty.

As part of the graduate school application, complete the Graduate Assistantship section of the application. Second-year students need to reapply to be considered for support for their second year.

Find opportunities to fund your degree through the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

Where can I find more information?

Please visit the CWU Academic Catalog for current information about admission requirements, course descriptions, learner outcomes, and credit information.

Visit the School of Graduate Studies and Research for additional program eligibility information.

Careers and Opportunities

Graduates of the MS program at can explore a variety of career paths and opportunities, including:

  • Academia and Research: If you want to continue your research and education, you could pursue a career in academia, conducting research and teaching at universities and research institutions.
  • Environmental Consulting: You can advise companies and government agencies on minimizing environmental impacts and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations. Washington State has a thriving technology industry, which has led to increased demand for environmental consulting services.
  • Oil and Gas Industry: Work as a geologist, geochemist, or geophysicist to explore and develop hydrocarbon resources.
  • Hydrogeology: Study the distribution, movement, and quality of water resources, working for water management agencies, consulting firms, or environmental organizations. 
  • Geotechnical Engineering: Consider a career assessing soil and rock mechanics for infrastructure projects, ensuring safe and stable construction.

Additional Program Information

  • Admission Requirements 

    Admission decisions prioritize letters of recommendation, personal communication with applicants, including interviews and/or email exchanges, and the statement of research interest.

    There is no GRE requirement.

    The application deadline for Fall term is February 1st.

  • Program Options 

    The MS Program is structured to establish bonds within the student cohort, develop research skills, and provide support and guidance to ensure timely progress toward graduation in two years. New students gain familiarity with each other and the regional geology during Fall field trips and are guided through writing and presenting a thesis research proposal in a Winter Research Methods class.

    Course requirements are tailored to the individual student's academic background, professional goals, and research interests through advising from the graduate faculty and thesis committee chair.

    All students in the 2-year program complete a thesis research project.

  • Faculty Research Interests 

    Areas of graduate faculty expertise include:

    • GPS geodesy, seismology, earthquakes, and tsunami hazards
    • Tectonics and continental dynamics
    • Petrology and volcanology
    • Climate change, ice cores, environmental geochemistry, hydrogeology, and geomorphology


Utilizing Our Landscape Advantage

CWU is home of the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA), which comprises 220 Global Navigation Satellite System receivers located throughout the Pacific Northwest. PANGA, under the direction of Professor Tim Melbourne, PhD, operates out of CWU’s Geodesy Lab to take advantage of the diverse geological landscape. This is one of the many unique research opportunities available to geology students at CWU.

A Wealth of Scholarships in Geology

At Central Washington University, we believe that everyone deserves access to quality education, regardless of their financial background. View Department of Geological Sciences Scholarships today.

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