Program Information:

Program Statement:
    Changing climate, dwindling energy resources, natural hazards, and deteriorating environmental quality are among the most challenging of societal problems. Geoscientists, who study Earth processes and resources to understand and help address these and related issues, are in high demand. A graduate degree in Geology opens the door to career opportunities that involve: work that helps sustain society and protect the planet; innovative technologies; and world travel.
Degrees Offered:
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Master of Science (M.S.)
Area(s) of Emphasis:
  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Structural Geology
  • Sedimentary Geology
  • Geoscience Education
  • Paleooceanography
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Geobiology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • GIS
  • Sclerochronology
  • Seismology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stable Isotope Geochemistry
  • Hydrology
  • Geomorphology
  • Glaciology
  • Paleontology
  • Physical Geography
  • Remote Sensing
  • Geospatial Modeling
  • Sustainability
  • Geophysics
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Geochemistry
Program Handbook(s):
Learning Goals:
  • Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of scholarly literature in the area of geological sciences; Form testable hypotheses and articulate research objectives that, when met, will lead to significant contributions to the field of geology; Conduct qualitative and/or quantitative research via appropriate acquisition, analysis, and reporting of data; Interpret research results appropriately, integrating them into the existing knowledge in the discipline; Clearly and accurately communicate research findings orally and in writing, and often through the use images (tables, figures, and other forms of imagery) and electronic or other forms of media; Articulate how the graduate program, including coursework and creative scholarship, fits into life and career goals; and Conduct scholarship, in teams or with independence, in ways that consistently demonstrate ethical practice and professionalism.
How long does it take to earn a degree?
  • Median time to earn the doctorate: 4.9 years (Methods)
  • Median time to earn the master’s: 2.8 years (Methods)

Program Contact:

Contact: Dr. Elizabeth Swanner
Phone: 515-294-5826
E-mail Address:

Mailing Address:

    Geology Program Graduate Applications
    Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
    253 Science Hall
    2237 Osborn Dr
    Iowa State University
    Ames, IA 50011-1027

Admission Requirements:

Graduate College Requirements:
  • 4 year Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)
  • Academic Records/Transcripts
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (Program may alter requirement.)
  • Proof of English Proficiency.
Program Specific Requirements: International Requirements:
  • Financial Statement: Application
  • English Proficiency Minimum:
    TOEFL Paper (PBT) 550
    TOEFL Internet (iBT) 79
    IELTS 6.5
    PTE 53
    Duolingo (approved through spring 2025) 105

Application Information:

Application Deadlines:
    Priority date of December 1
Application Details:
    This program is open to domestic and international students.

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