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Information for Prospective Geology Graduate Students

Information for Potential Graduate School Applicants:

The Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, enrolls over 120 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and is one of the largest and most successful geological sciences graduate programs in the U.S. Our ~thirty tenure and tenure –track faculty members support a wide range of interdisciplinary research programs in global climate change, glaciology, geodynamics, geophysics, surficial processes, hydrogeology, biochemistry, paleontology and economic resources.

The following material is designed to help you decide whether or not the Department of Geological Sciences is a good match for your graduate school interests. Here you will find information on the research strengths of the Department and on the faculty members conducting that work. A brief description of how we decide on admissions and on financial aid offers from our yearly pool of applicants is also given. Finally, a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section is presented that provides an overview of the application process, itself, as well as information other topics pertinent to your application to the department.

Research Areas:

The faculty are organized into four broad research interest groups, which are described in more detail at the below links. Keep in mind that many of our faculty members habitually “self-organize” to form larger, interdisciplinary research groups.

Economic Resources / Stratigraphic Sciences / Paleontology
Geodynamics / Geophysics / Geochemistry / Mineral Physics / Petrology
Global Change / Surficial Processes / Quaternary Science
Hydrogeosciences

As you peruse the above links, look for faculty members closest to your area of research interest. Contact information is supplied so that you can discuss your graduate school interests directly with these individuals.

General Admissions Information:

The deadline dates for applications for admission to the Graduate School are January 7, 2015 for U.S. citizens and December 1, 2014 for international applicants, for the following fall semester. We strongly suggest that you apply online weeks, even months before the deadline. The minimum requirements for admission are listed below in the FAQ section.

In general, every application received is reviewed by one or more faculty members. Admission decisions are made by these individuals. In addition, most of the funding for graduate students comes through grants with the individual faculty members. As a result, your chances of acceptance, and of receiving financial aid, are improved by establishing contact with potential faculty advisors during your application process.

Decisions on acceptance are made no later than April 15th each year. If admitted, you will automatically be considered for university-based financial aid, in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or department/ university scholarships. Notifications of whether you will be offered such aid will be made separately, again no later than April 15th.

If you are in need of financial support as a graduate student it is imperative that your completed application be received by the application deadline. Late applications will be considered only at the discretion of the department and are unlikely to be competitive for financial aid consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the graduate program application requirements and minimum admission standards for the Department of Geological Sciences?

Domestic Applicants
GRE Scores – minimum of 150 (sum of percentiles of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing scores)
Undergraduate GPA – minimum of 3.0 (on 4 point scale)
Letters of Recommendation – 3
Science Summary
Transcripts – 1 original transcript from each institution

International Applicants
GRE Scores – minimum of 150 (sum of percentiles of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing scores)
TOEFL Scores – minimum scores:
I.B.T >61
C.B.T >173
Letters of Recommendation – 4
Science Summary
Transcripts – 1 original transcript from each institution

What are the deadlines for applying to the Geological Sciences Department?

Domestic Applicants
January 7, 2015

International Applicants
December 1, 2014


How do I apply to the Department graduate program?

Domestic Applicants to Department of Geological Sciences (see below for description of documents)
__ Complete Online Application, including personal statement
__ Arrange for 3 Letters of Recommendation (online)
**Please note that your recommenders do not receive submission information until after you have submitted your application online. You should try and submit your application well before the deadline to insure your letters of recommendation are received prior to the deadline.
__ Transcripts (1 original from each institution)
__ GRE Scores
__ Science Summary

International Applicants to Department of Geological Sciences (see below for description of documents)
__ Complete Online Application, including personal statement
__ Arrange for 4 Letters of Recommendation (online)
**Please note that your recommenders do not receive submission information until after you have submitted your application online. You should try and submit your application well before the deadline to insure your letters of recommendation are received prior to the deadline.
__ Transcripts (1 original from each institution)
__ GRE Scores
__ TOEFL Scores
__ Science Summary

What are the application documents?

Domestic Applicants
Our department only accepts online applications. You can apply at the following
website: http://www.colorado.edu/admissions/graduate/apply.

Personal Statement
This is part of the online application. We are asking for you to give us some insight into the type of research you would like to pursue, what kind of experience in research you have had, and what you are looking for out of graduate school.

Letters of Recommendation
When you apply online you will be asked to enter an email address for each of your recommenders. They will be sent an email with a link to a website that will allow them to complete their letter of recommendation online. (After you have submitted your application). Three recommendation letters are required, and these should be from individuals that know you in a professional capacity (as a student and/or in the work place).

Science Summary
Please fill out the Science Summary electronically, save resulting document to your desktop, and then upload to your application in Box B. Your application will not be considered complete and eligible for submission until this document is uploaded. Please note that this is an Adobe Acrobat file. If you do not have the most current version of this program on your computer, it is a free download available at http://www.adobe.com.

Transcripts
Our department required one original transcript from each institution.
U.S. Applicants: Please have the transcripts mailed to:

Graduate Admissions
University of Colorado Boulder
553 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0553


International Applicants
Our department only accepts online applications. You can apply at the following website: http://www.colorado.edu/admissions/graduate/international.

Personal Statement
This is part of the online application. We are asking for you to give us some insight into the type of research you would like to pursue, what kind of experience in research you have had, and what you are looking for out of graduate school.

Letters of Recommendation
When you apply online you will be asked to enter an email address for each of your recommenders. They will be sent an email with a link to a website that will allow them to complete their letter of recommendation online. (After you have submitted your application). Four recommendation letters are required, and these should be from individuals that know you in a professional capacity (as a student and/or in the work place).

International Applicant Documentation
All documentation required of international student applicants must be mailed to:

Overnight/Express Mailing Address (DHL, UPS, Fedex)

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine Street – 65 UCB
BLDG RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058 USA

For standard international mail or mail within the US, including USPS Priority and Express:

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine St Suite A122
65 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0065 USA


Note: Please print off the first page of your online application and mail with your documents. This will help the Office of Admissions to place your documents in the correct file.

How do I check the status of my application?

You will be given a login username and password at the time of your application. You will be able to check your application via the application website once it has been initiated. Your checklist and status should be updated every 2 weeks. If you have difficulties logging in please contact the Graduate Admission Office at gradam@Colorado.EDU.

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

If you have questions, please contact our Graduate Program Assistant at:

Department of Geological Sciences
University of Colorado at Boulder
Campus Box 399
Boulder, CO 80309-0399
Phone: (303) 492-2607


What are other sources of Graduate Fellowships?

We recommend that applicants consider applying for external fellowships when appropriate. The Department will advance the names of qualified individuals for certain university fellowships, but applying for most fellowships is the responsibility of the applicant. Please note that the deadline for most external fellowships is usually before our application deadline (e.g., in October and November).

The Department is a partner in the Sloan Foundation’s Minority Ph.D. Program. For more information, please go to the following links: http://www.cugeology.org/minorityfell.htm and http://www.nacme.org/sloan/Sloan.aspx?pageid=31r
The NSF Graduate Fellowship program deadline in November.
The National Physical Science Consortium Graduate Fellowship Program is an exceptional opportunity for support (to the tune of $150,000 - 200,000) for a Ph.D. in the physical sciences with an emphasis on minorities and women. Deadline is November 5, annually.

for more information on external fellowships click here

How are the various research institutes at the University of Colorado (e.g. CIRES, INSTAAR, LASP) related to the Department of Geological Sciences?

This Department has an unusual structure with many faculty holding joint appointments between the Department and various on-campus research institutes. The institutes exist to facilitate interdisciplinary research but do not admit graduate students or grant graduate degrees. These functions reside solely with the Department. However, should you be admitted to the Department to work with an institute-related faculty advisor, you may be housed in an institute and not in the Benson Earth Sciences Building, the latter being the Department home.

How is the Department of Geological Sciences related to the University of Colorado Geophysics Program?

Entry to the Geophysics Program is through admission to one of the participating departments; Geological Sciences is one of the principal departments for geophysics. Once admitted to Geological Sciences under the supervision of a faculty member aligned with the Geophysics Program, a Ph.D. candidate can apply to enter the Geophysics Program.

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Graduate Degree Programs:

Changes have been made to the Graduate School Rules. The new rules may be found at the Graduate School Web site: http://www.colorado.edu/GraduateSchool/ Please read these rules as they may affect your decision regarding our program.

The following has been excerpted from the University of Colorado Catalog. For additional details, see departmental Graduate Degree Requirements.

Students interested in graduate work in the geological sciences should carefully read the detailed information regarding admission, registration, and degree requirements that is available from the departmental office. A brief summary follows.

All students applying for admission must take the Graduate Record Examination. Results of this examination are used both for determining admittance and for initial academic counseling.

Entering students normally have completed at least 24 semester hours of basic courses in geological science and two semesters each of chemistry, physics, and calculus. In some cases, exceptional undergraduate preparation in other fields of science, mathematics, or engineering may substitute for part of the 24 hours in geological science.

Initial counseling is provided on an individual basis by the departmental committee on academic progress. Therafter each student acquires an advisory committee which provides guidance throughout the degree program.

Master's Degree:

Candidates for the master's degree in geological sciences must complete at least 24 semester hours of graduate course work including a thesis (Plan I), or 30 semester hours of graduate work without a thesis (Plan II). The Plan II program requires at least 3 hours of GEOL 6960 (Plan II Master's Research) under the supervision of the advisory committee. At least 12 semester hours of course work (Plan I) and 16 semester hours of course work (Plan II) must be at the 5000 level. See Graduate School specifications in the University of Colorado Catalog for further information.

Doctoral Degree:

Candidates for the doctoral degree must complete at least 30 semester hours in course work numbered 5000 or above, of which at least 20 must be taken at CU-Boulder. In addition to course work, candidates must take a total of at least 30 hours of GEOL 8990 doctoral dissertation hours, with not more than 10 of these in any one semester and not more than 10 before the comprehensive examination is passed.

The Department of Geological Sciences participates in the interdepartmental Ph.D. program in geophysics and hydrology. For more information about this program, consult the Graduate School section of the University of Colorado Catalog.

Certificate in Remote Sensing

A graduate-level remote sensing certificate is now available to students in geology who are interested in using satellite and ground-based remote sensing techniques to investigate land surfaces, oceans, and the atmosphere. This site explains how to obtain a certificate.

Geophysics Graduate Certificate

The CU geophysics graduate certificate offers a coherent curriculum in geophysics that can complement and supplement a student's regular degree program and encourages multi-disciplinary education in the area of geophysics.



Graduate Degree Program | Current Grad Course Offerings | Graduate Fellowships

Important Forms

PhD Deadline Sheet | MS Deadline Sheet | Candidacy Application | Doctoral Defense Leaflet | Request for Transfer of Credit | Time off Program | Letter of Completion


Geological Sciences
University of Colorado Boulder
UCB 399
Boulder, CO 80309-0399