MS in Earth, Environmental and Physical Sciences

Upon admission, applicants need to consult with the graduate coordinator of EEPS to evaluate background deficiencies, if any, and to establish a plan of study that best suits the applicant’s goals. A master’s degree in EEPS requires satisfactory completion of coursework and/or research, which will ensure that students take advantage of the multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary nature of the program. Coursework must include at least 18 credit hours of 700–899 courses, among which at least 8 credit hours must be EEPS required courses (including 2 credit hours of EEPS 700). The required courses focus on methodologies, critical and creative thinking in scientific research, and issues common to geology, physics, environmental science and related disciplines. To further benefit from the interdisciplinary nature of the program, students are encouraged to take courses in different disciplines and other supporting courses.

To meet the requirements of differing career goals, students may choose a thesis, internship or nonthesis option for degree completion. The thesis and internship topic may be in geology, environmental science or physics; such activity may be interdisciplinary, involving two or more fields.

Admission

Applicants for admission to the EEPS master’s program should have a bachelor’s degree in any field of natural sciences. However, applicants with a bachelor’s degree outside the field of natural sciences are also encouraged to apply for conditional admission. Motivated candidates can make up background deficiencies early in their EEPS study before gaining full-standing status in the program.

All applicants also need to meet the general admission requirements of the Graduate School, which can be found in the Admission to Graduate Study section of this catalog or at the Graduate School website.

Program Requirements

Thesis Option

Thesis research is recommended for students who will pursue PhD study or seek professional employment after graduation. Students choosing thesis research must present a research proposal to the EEPS faculty to ensure that the research has merit and can be completed in a reasonable period of time. After completing the written thesis, the student must give it a public oral defense.

Required Courses
Take the following course twice:2
Technical Sessions
EEPS 701Computer Methods in Science3
EEPS 702Research Methods1
EEPS 721Current Issues in Global Environmental Science3
Additional Courses
Select 15 credit hours in additional courses 700 or above15
Thesis
Select a maximum of 6 thesis credit hours 6
Total Credit Hours30

Internship Option

Students wishing to gain interdisciplinary and/or professional skills in the fields covered by the EEPS program can participate in applied and/or basic research internship projects with industry or government agencies. Enrollment in internship projects requires an approved proposal. Completion of an internship for graduation requires a formal oral presentation of the internship activity and a written report.

Required Courses
Take the following course twice:2
Technical Sessions
EEPS 701Computer Methods in Science3
EEPS 702Research Methods1
EEPS 721Current Issues in Global Environmental Science3
Additional Courses
Select 18 credit hours in additional courses 700 or above18
Internship
Select a maximum of 6 internship credit hours 6
Total Credit Hours33

Nonthesis Option

This option is an alternative to thesis research or internship for degree requirements. Two plans of study are available under this option:

Plan A

Students are not required to take research courses, and a total of 36 credit hours is required. This plan is recommended for students who do not desire a career in industry or postsecondary education.

Required Courses
Take the following course twice:2
Technical Sessions
EEPS 701Computer Methods in Science3
EEPS 702Research Methods1
EEPS 721Current Issues in Global Environmental Science3
Additional Courses
Select 27 credit hours in additional courses 700 or above27
Total Credit Hours36

Plan B

Students are required to take research courses and conduct research under the supervision of an EEPS faculty member. A faculty-reviewed, final report is required.

Required Courses
Take the following course twice:2
Technical Sessions
EEPS 701Computer Methods in Science3
EEPS 702Research Methods1
EEPS 721Current Issues in Global Environmental Science3
Additional Courses
Select 21 credit hours in additional courses 700 or above21
Research
Select a maximum of 3 research credit hours3
Total Credit Hours33