Enriching the Foundation in Geology Beyond a Bachelor’s Degree

A master's degree is becoming increasingly valuable. A master’s degree in math enables students to round out their educations before embarking on their professional career. Accelerated master's degree programs save the cost and study time of graduate admission tests, application fees, and extra courses.


Candidates must complete 30 hours of graduate study based on an approved plan of study.

A thesis based on original research is usually submitted. This requirement may be waived at the discretion of the candidate's adviser.


Our department offers the opportunity to learn from some of the most accomplished faculty and to work on some of the most exciting and significant projects in Earth Science. Alumni of our graduate program have gone on to prestigious positions in research science, industry, and academia.

Program Outcome

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to demonstrate:

Environmental Science

Environmental issues continue to be prominent in the lives of everyone. Essentially no place on the planet has escaped perturbation resulting from activities of an ever-growing human population. The challenge is to maintain those attributes of the Earth that make it habitable while at the same time providing for human needs. Science will play an absolutely critical role in enabling technological civilizations to move toward sustainable interactions with the natural world.



Rensselaer was the first school in North America dedicated to instruction in technology and science, and earth science was one of the first topics incorporated into the school curriculum. America's earliest preeminent geologist, Amos Eaton, was one of the principle founders of RPI, and he quickly established the school's reputation in science by training a number of the early leaders in earth science research. Our modern department carries on this proud tradition, educating students at the forefront of scientific understanding.

Solid-Earth Geophysics

Seismic characterization and processing

Our department is at the forefront of using new seismological techniques to resolve the structure of the crust and mantle,and their dynamics. Through careful and novel manipulation of seismic data, we are providing new insights into the composition and heterogeneity of the Earth, and the underlying structure of the deep subsurface. We are applying these techniques to a number of diverse areas, including the Tien Shan Mountains (China), the San Andreas Fault, the Adirondacks, Yucca Mountain, Taiwan, and Central Asia.

Paleoceanography and Micropaleontology

My area of expertise is in paleoceanography and micropaleontology. Much of my work utilizes assemblage and geochemistry changes in the marine microfossil group benthic foraminifera, integrated with biostratigraphy, lithology, geophysical well logging, and seismic profile studies. I apply these integrated tools to a broad spectrum of reconstructions from the marine geological record, such as past ocean and climate conditions, paleobathymetry and sea level change, and the geological carbon cycle.

Metamorphic Petrology and Thermochemistry

Our department is instrumental in providing some of the most powerful computational tools and evaluation techniques required to interpret the complicated nature of metamorphic reactions within the earth. We are evaluating the thermodynamics of common metamorphic mineral assemblages, characterizing crystal growth and compositional changes, and developing analytical techniques to determine the ages of metamorphic events. These constrain the geologic history of a number of regions, including New England, the Adirondacks of New York, the Caledonides of Norway, and Greece.


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