A&SGeology and Planetary Science
The department offers programs that lead to the MS or PhD in Geology and Planetary Science and a Professional MS in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing.. The principal objective of the graduate programs is to provide a broad and strong foundation upon which students may base careers. The PhD program is designed to educate scientists for basic or applied research and teaching. Graduate research may involve specialization in geology, geochemistry, geophysics, planetary science, and environmental science.
- Department Chair: Mark Abbott
- Main Office: 200 Space Research and Coordination Center
- Fax: 412-624-3914
- www.geology.pitt.edu, pro-ms.geology.pitt.edu
Research and Facilities
Please visit www.geology.pitt.edu to find out more about research and analytical facilities available in the Department of Geology and Planetary
Prospective graduate students must meet Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
requirements for entrance into graduate programs.
Financial assistance for graduate students is provided in the form of teaching and research appointments, fellowships, tuition scholarships, and loans.
Requirements for the Masters Degree in Geology and Planetary Sciences
The minimum course requirement for the MS degree is thirty (30) credits beyond the baccalaureate. A minimum of eighteen (18) credits must be from formal courses. At least twelve (12) of these credits must be numbered 2000 or higher and must be taken within the Department of Geology and Planetary Science. An initial evaluation, designed to explore the student's basic knowledge of the geological sciences and related fields, is required of all MS degree candidates during their first term of residence. Each MS candidate prepares a thesis demonstrating successful completion of the research project as well as competency in the methods and techniques of scientific investigation in the field of her/his area of specialization. The thesis should serve as a source of publishable material, and all MS students must present research results at a meeting of a national or international scientific organization. Each MS student publicly defends her/his thesis before a Thesis Committee consisting of at least three faculty members from the Department of Geology and Planetary Science. Complete descriptions of the most recent degree requirements are available at www.geology.pitt.edu.
The Professional MS degree in Geographical Information Systems/Remote Sensing requires completion of 41 credits. A complete description of courses and requirements is available at www.geology.pitt.edu. A thesis is not required for this degree. Students in the program are not eligible for financial assistance from the department.
Requirements for the PhD
The minimum course requirement for the PhD degree is seventy-two (72) credits. A minimum of thirty-six (36) credits must be from formal courses and at least eighteen (18) of the credits must be taken within the Department of Geology and Planetary Science. Up to twenty-four (24) credits may be accepted from a Master of Science degree or graduate study toward the PhD from another institution. An initial evaluation, designed to explore the student's basic knowledge of the geological sciences and related fields, is required of all PhD degree candidates during their first term of residence.
A graduate student seeking the PhD degree must complete a Comprehensive Examination.
The comprehensive examination should take place no later than the Fall term of the student’s third year of enrollment, although students are encouraged to complete the examination as soon as possible following completion of most required coursework and after beginning dissertation research. Following successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination, each PhD student must prepare a written dissertation proposal for presentation to the Dissertation Committee (consisting of at least four department members and one outside member) at a formal Dissertation Overview meeting. During this meeting, the Dissertation Committee will critique the research plan and proposed methodology and approve or reject the dissertation topic.
Each PhD candidate must prepare a dissertation demonstrating successful completion of the research project as well as competency in the methods and techniques of scientific investigation in the field of her/his area of specialization. Each student must also submit at least one manuscript to a peer-review journal prior to graduation and present research results at both a departmental colloquium and at a meeting of a national or international scientific organization. The candidate must formally defend her/his submitted dissertation in a public meeting before the full Dissertation Committee. Complete descriptions of the most recent degree requirements are available at www.geology.pitt.edu.