Graduate Program Information


Studying Desert RocksThe Master of Science (M.S.) curriculum provides graduates with advanced training in geology, culminating in the completion of an independent research thesis project.  The academic curriculum and extensive faculty expertise provide the opportunity for study in many areas of geology, with a particular emphasis on applied geology and tectonics.  Graduates are employed as geologists, engineering geologists, hydrogeologists, hydrologists, geophysicists, environmental managers in engineering, geological, geophysical, and environmental consulting firms, and as geologists in the mining and petroleum industries. Graduates also pursue careers with research agencies, local and state government, and teaching institutions.

Financial assistance is available on a competitive basis in the form of graduate assistantships and departmental grants. Research assistantships funded by faculty grants are also available. Many graduate students also take advantage of the part-time employment opportunities with government agencies and consulting firms in the immediate area.

The Department of Geology has facilities and laboratories for various types of research in engineering geology, geochemistry, hydrogeology, mineralogy, paleontology, petrology, sedimentology, and structural geology. In addition, the department maintains two thin-section laboratories, a map library, a mineral museum, and three on-campus groundwater wells.

Support equipment includes: Trimble-GPS equipment and software, infrared spectrometer, gravimeter, magnetometer, sedigraph, a wilfyley table, and a host of rock saws and crushers. Students have access to an instructional PC laboratory with geologic software (including ArcGIS) and word processing software. 




The Master of Science degree in Geology is designed to increase the competence of students for professional scientific positions with industrial concerns, governmental services and educational institutions.



The department enrolls approximately 10 new graduate students annually.  A student who wishes to enroll for graduate study in this department must meet the general requirements for graduate standing in the University as outlined in the San José State University Catalog. Basically, this means that the student must possess a B.A. or B.S. degree from an accredited college or university. In addition, the student must be accepted by the Departmental Graduate Committee. We realize that students from different schools will have different backgrounds. However, before receiving the M.S. degree in Geology, all candidates must complete the equivalent of the requirements of the San José State University B.S. degree in geology with a minimum total of 42 semester units in related sciences, mathematics, and engineering, including a minimum of four weeks of field camp. Equivalency is determined by the Graduate Advisor in consultation with the student, and deficiencies can be made up once accepted into the program.

For further information, please contact the Geology Department Graduate Advisor.


The Application Process


To apply to the graduate program, you must submit paperwork to both the university and the department.


To the University:

    • Complete the online application form.
    • Submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities.

For specific information on applying to SJSU for Graduate Studies, visit the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations' Prospective Students website.

To the Department:

The Geology Department requires hard copies of the graduate questionnaire and the transcripts.  These should be sent to:

(C/o Graduate Advisor, San José State University, Department of Geology, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0102)

The letters of recommendation (and the releases) can be sent to the address above as well or they can be emailed to:

The annual deadline for application materials submitted to the Geology Department is April 1.