Sep 22, 2019  
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
    
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geology and Geological Engineering, M.S.


Contact Information

Dr. Laurie Anderson
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering
Mineral Industries 303
(605) 394-2461
E-mail: Laurie.Anderson@sdsmt.edu

Geology Faculty

Professors L. Anderson, Duke, Paterson, Price and Uzunlar; Associate Professor Masterlark; Assistant Professors Belanger, Oner and Pagnac; Professors Emeritus Fox, Lisenbee, Martin and Redden; Adjunct Professors Benton and McCormick; Adjunct Assistant Professor Bapst; Haslem Post-doctoral Fellow Boyd.

Geological Engineering Faculty

Professors Davis and Stetler; Assistant Professors Katzenstein and Sawyer; Professor Emeritus Rahn; Adjunct Faculty M. Anderson, Iles, Long and Roggenthen.

Geology and Geological Engineering

The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering offers advanced study leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geology and geological engineering. Students must elect to pursue either a Geology Specialization or a Geological Engineering Specialization, each of which has different background and program requirements. The available coursework and current faculty expertise support the following areas of concentration.

  1. Energy and Mineral Resources
  2. Environmental/Exploration Geophysics
  3. Ground Water / Environmental Studies
  4. Mineral Deposits/Mineralogy/Petrology
  5. Sedimentation/Stratigraphy
  6. Paleontology*
  7. Structural Geology/Tectonics
  8. Geomechanics/Engineering Geology

* Students concentrating in paleontology at the Master‘s level may apply for the separate M.S. in Paleontology.

Background Requirements for M.S.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants. The TOEFL exam is required for students whose native language is not English.

Geology Specialization

Incoming students are expected to have substantial preparation in general science, math, and geological sciences; successful applicants will ideally have completed the subjects listed below.  The student’s graduate committee may require that deficiencies important to the student’s area of interest be remedied by taking additional undergraduate courses that will not count towards the graduate degree credit requirements.

  • Calculus I and II
  • Statistics
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • General Physics I and II, or General Biology I and II
  • Stratigraphy/Sedimentation
  • Petrology
  • Structural Geology
  • Field Geology

Geological Engineering Specialization

Incoming students are expected to have substantial preparation in science, math, geological sciences, and engineering; successful applicants will ideally have completed the subjects listed below.  The student’s graduate committee may require that deficiencies important to the student’s area of interest be remedied by taking additional undergraduate courses that will not count towards the graduate degree credit requirements.

  • Calculus I, II, and III
  • Differential Equations
  • General Chemistry I and II
  • General Physics I and II
  • Stratigraphy/Sedimentation
  • Petrology
  • Structural Geology
  • Statics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Fluid Mechanics, or Rock Mechanics

Master’s Program

The M.S. thesis option requires 30 credits, including six (6) credits of thesis research and twenty-four (24) credits of coursework.  The non-thesis option includes 32 credits of coursework and is available to students at the discretion of the department head (see below for non-thesis M.S. guidelines.  Candidates for the M.S. degree must fulfill all degree requirements of the graduate office and the program, including an oral comprehensive exam covering course material.

Geology Specialization Requirements


The candidate’s committee is responsible for assisting the student in developing a program of study that prepares the student for his/her intended field of study. 

  is required the first fall semester of enrollment.  In addition, the program of study must include at least one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing field/analytical methods and one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing computational methods.  The student’s advising committee determines the courses that meet these criteria.

Geological Engineering Specialization Requirements


 All M.S. students in the Geological Engineering specialization are expected to focus in one of the three areas of groundwater/environmental, geomechanics, or energy/mineral resources.  The candidate’s committee is responsible for assisting the student in developing a program of study that prepares the student for his/her intended focus area. 

  is required the first fall semester of enrollment.  In addition, the program of study must include at least one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing field methods, one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing analytical methods and one GEOL/GEOE course emphasizing computational methods. The student’s advising committee determines the courses that meet these criteria.

Non-Thesis Option Guidelines


 The department considers the thesis option to be its primary degree and strongly prefers that all M.S. students complete a thesis.  However, under certain circumstances a non-thesis degree may be granted to accommodate special circumstances.  Central to the decision is the judgment whether the student constitutes a quality graduate of the program as compared to other graduates, despite the lack of a completed thesis.

Students considering the non-thesis option are strongly encouraged to discuss it with their committee prior to making a request.  The request must be made in writing to the department head with a justification as to why the non-thesis option is being requested.  The department head will provide the letter to the student’s graduate committee and ask for a written recommendation regarding the request.  Both the student and committee letters will be provided to the department Graduate Committee, which will also consider the request and write a recommendation.  These recommendations may include conditions that must becompleted before the degrees may be awarded.  The department head will make the decision guided by the input from these two committees, and inform the student of the decision, including any conditions that may be attached to completing the non-thesis option.

The following conditions must be met by the student to be eligible to apply for the non-thesis option:

  1. The student should have a graduate GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  2. The student must have been continuously registered in the program or on a formally approved leave of absence since the first semester in residence to be eligible for a non-thesis option.
  3. The student must have been actively working towards a thesis project with regular communication with the advisor during the months prior to the non-thesis request.
  4. The student must complete a significant project resulting in a peer-reviewed publication or a substantial contribution to a peer-reviewed publication, in lieu of a formal thesis.  This requirement may include content-appropriate work performed for an employer.  The student’s committee will make the determination whether the student’s work may be deemed a significant contribution to the profession.
  5. If the student has received research funding, he or she is obligated to work with the faculty member who provided the funds to establish a written plan to fulfill any outstanding obligations to the research effort, which shall be submitted with the non-thesis request.  Should they not be able to agree on the plan, the matter will be referred to the department Graduate Committee for resolution.

The following circumstances should be considered when deciding whether the non-thesis option is appropriate.

  1. Has the student encountered external circumstances that would make the completion of the thesis unreasonably difficult or time-consuming?
  2. Does the student have outstanding obligations to a funded or important project that might not otherwise be completed?