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Administrative Unit:Geoscience
College/School: College of Letters & Science
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.S., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Ph.D. Minor

Faculty: Professors Bahr, Brown, Carroll, DeMets, Feigl, Geary, Goodwin, Johnson, Roden, Singer, Thurber, Tikoff, Tobin, Valley, Wang; Associate Professors Kelly, Peters, Xu; Assistant Professors Cardiff, Carlson, Meyers


The Department of Geoscience provides opportunity for advanced study leading to the master of science and the doctor of philosophy degrees. Broad research interests and numerous fields of specialization among the members of the faculty provide research opportunities in all major fields of earth science including geochemistry, geophysics, hydrogeology, microbial geoscience, mineralogy, nano-geoscience, paleontology, petrology, quaternary geology, sedimentology, structural geology, and tectonics.

Students may also obtain a joint master's degree in geoscience and water resources management if approved by both programs and the Graduate School. The graduate student is expected to acquire a broad foundation in geoscience and in the supporting sciences before specializing. Courses are selected by the student in consultation with a three-member Guidance and Evaluation Committee. Field experience is emphasized as an integral part of the training. Individual research is required in all graduate work. It is expected that the candidate for an advanced degree will make original contributions, develop new ideas, and complete a dissertation suitable for publication.

Library and research facilities are available for advanced work in all important branches of the science. Geological survey offices in the Madison area, both state and federal, provide opportunities for cooperation with Survey geologists and the use of Survey facilities. The department maintains a variety of modern research laboratories in Lewis G. Weeks Hall for the Geological Sciences.

The program prepares students for teaching and research in academic positions, for research work in state and federal organizations, and for research and development in industry. The department coordinates interviews with potential employers several times during the year and maintains information on career placement. Students are actively involved in the teaching and research programs and other scholarly activities of the department.

Financial Aid

Financial assistance sufficient to meet the ordinary expenses of graduate school is available to qualified students in the form of fellowships and teaching or research assistantships. Prospective students should contact the department for information on available financial aid. All applicants must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).


Graduate students may enter the degree program with a bachelor's degree in geology or a related earth science, or some other field relevant to the intended field of specialization. In addition to meeting the minimum admission requirements of the Graduate School, candidates must have had one year each of college chemistry, physics, and calculus. A student entering the program with an undergraduate degree in geology must also have had at least a 6-8 credit course in geologic field mapping, such as a multiweek summer field course.

Applicants will not normally be admitted with deficiencies in more than two one-semester courses in the required cognate subjects (for example, one year of physics, or one semester of physics and one semester of calculus). Such deficiencies should be removed within the first year of graduate study. A deficiency in field geology normally must be removed before commencing graduate study. Promising students with excessive deficiencies may be advised to take courses as a Special student before becoming eligible to enter graduate studies. They cannot, however, receive financial aid while a Special student.

For more information: Department of Geoscience, 236 Weeks Hall, 1215 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-9266 or 608-262-8960; gradapps@geology.wisc.edu; www.geoscience.wisc.edu