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Graduate Program Description
Master of Science
The Department offers graduate courses and research programs leading to the M.S. degree in Geology or Geophysics. Students are encouraged to obtain broad backgrounds by taking courses in geology, geophysics, and environmental geosciences along with the other sciences and mathematics. Multidisciplinary preparation is particularly useful for students seeking future employment in industry.
The Department, with approximately 20 graduate students in residence, is housed in Devlin Hall and has additional research facilities at Weston Observatory. Students enjoy close working relationships with faculty while being able to undertake research using the most modern scientific equipment available. The program stresses a strong background in the earth sciences, as well as the ability to carry out research. It prepares students for successful careers as geoscientists in the environmental and engineering industries, oil and gas exploration or government service, or for continued studies toward a Ph.D. A particularly beneficial aspect of the M.S. program is the opportunity for students to integrate studies in geology, geophysics, and environmental subjects.
Research in the Department covers a broad range of topics, including: coastal and estuarine processes, physical sedimentation, earthquake and exploration seismology, geomorphology, structural geology, igneous and metamorphic petrology and geochemistry, global change geochemistry, interpretative tectonics, groundwater hydrology, sedimentology, biogeochemistry, and environmental geology and geophysics.
The Department offers a number of Teaching and Research Assistantships.
Applicants to the Master of Science degree program generally fall into one of the following categories: (1) students well-prepared in geology or geophysics with courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and/or biology who are interested in broadening their experience at the M.S. degree level before employment or doctoral studies elsewhere; (2) students well-prepared in mathematics or one of the natural sciences other than geology or geophysics and who wish to use the M.S. degree program to transfer into the earth sciences.
In addition to the normal application forms, applicants should submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement of the strengths and weaknesses of their undergraduate education (including course and non-course experience), and their graduate study interests and current post-degree plans. Graduate Record Exam (general) scores are required. Applications may be made at any time, but, to be assured of consideration for September admission, they should be received by May 1. Applications from those applying for financial aid and assistantships for September should be completed by February 15. Later applications will be considered for financial aid if funding is available.
M.S. Degree Requirements
No fixed curriculum is prescribed for the M.S. degree. Instead, a course and research program that is consistent with the student's background and professional objectives are developed by the student and his or her faculty advisory committee. The graduate program assumes a basic undergraduate foundation in the geosciences. Students lacking such a background may be required to complete certain subjects at the undergraduate level before or during their graduate program. Master's candidates in either Geology or Geophysics must complete or have completed two-semester (or equivalent) courses in calculus, physics, and chemistry.
A minimum of ten courses (numbered 300 or above), approved by the student's faculty advisory committee, must be completed in addition to a research thesis for graduation. Graduate level multidisciplinary Earth Systems Seminars are offered annually by the Department on different topics. Beginning graduate students are required to take the Earth Systems Seminar. A maximum of two thesis courses (GE 801) are allowed for M.S. thesis credit. Normally, no more than one Reading and Research course (GE 798 or GE 799) may be applied toward the minimum course requirement. All students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 average in their graduate courses, as well as in all undergraduate courses (0-299) in the other sciences and mathematics. Passing a comprehensive oral examination is required of each student. A research thesis approved by three faculty members is also required of all M.S. students.
Dual Degree Program (M.S.-M.B.A.)
In conjunction with the Carroll Graduate School of Management at Boston College, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences offers interested students the opportunity to participate in the combined M.S.-M.B.A. degree program. Completion of this program leads to the awarding of both degrees. This program is excellent preparation for careers in industrial or financial geoscience management, including areas such as the environmental and petroleum industries, natural hazard assessment, and natural resource evaluation and investment.
The combined M.S.-M.B.A. program normally takes three years for students with a good science background as an undergraduate—about one year less than pursuing these two degrees independently. Students in this program commonly take their first year entirely within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. During the first summer, the student is expected to begin work on a research M.S. thesis that may be combined with an off-campus internship. The second year of the program is taken at the Carroll Graduate School of Management and the third year is split between both programs. Corporate internships are encouraged.
In applying to the program, students have two options. The first and most desirable option is for the student to apply directly to, and be accepted by, both the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Carroll Graduate School of Management at the time of their initial application to Boston College. The GRE is required and GMAT tests may be requested. Students may contact the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences for information and application materials to both programs (please indicate that you are interested in the Dual Degree Program). The deadline for admission to the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is February 15, the same as the deadline for M.S. candidates. The deadline for application to the Carroll Graduate School of Management is January 15.
The second option is for students to apply and be accepted to the M.S. program in Geology and Geophysics. During the spring of their first year, after consultation with their academic advisor, the student may then choose to apply to the Carroll Graduate School of Management for admission into the dual degree M.S.-M.B.A. program.
Further information on this program and application materials may be obtained from Professor John E. Ebel, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Devlin Hall 213, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, 617-552-3640, email@example.com or from Graduate Admissions, Carroll Graduate School of Management, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, 617-552-3920.
Master of Science in Teaching
The Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) program is administered through the Lynch School of Education in cooperation with the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. It requires admission to both the Lynch School of Education and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciencecs. This program, which is designed for prospective teachers, acknowledges variations in prior background and skills.
M.S.T. Degree Requirements
The five required courses in the earth sciences must be chosen from among the following: two courses from Exploring the Earth I and II or Structural Geology I, and one course from each of the following groups: (1) Earth Materials, Mineralogy, or Petrology; (2) Weather, Climate, Environment, Oceanography, or Astronomy; and (3) Petrology, Structural Geology I or II, Environmental Geology, Environmental Chemistry, or Introduction to Geophysics. Students who have previously taken these courses may substitute other graduate courses within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, with approval. One semester of full-time residency may be necessary. A comprehensive examination is given to each student at the end of the program. This examination is in two parts—one part is oral in the earth sciences, and the other part is given by the Lynch School of Education.
The Department is part of a cooperative program with the Department of Earth Sciences at nearby Boston University, as well as the Civil Engineering Department at Tufts University. This program permits degree candidates at Boston College to enroll in courses that are unavailable at Boston College but are available at Boston University or Tufts. A list of courses is available in the Department.
Weston Observatory, formerly Weston College Seismic Station (1928-1949), is part of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College. Located ten miles from the main campus, the Observatory is an interdisciplinary research facility of the Department, and a center for research in the fields of geophysics, geology, and related fields. Weston Observatory was one of the first participating facilities in the Worldwide Standardized Seismograph Network and operates a sixteen-station regional seismic network that records data on earthquakes in the northeast, as well as distant earthquakes. The facilities at Weston Observatory offer students a unique opportunity to work on exciting projects with modern, sophisticated, scientific research equipment in a number of different areas of scientific and environmental interest. For more information, visit the Weston Observatory website at http://www.bc.edu/westonobservatory/.