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    South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
   
 
  Sep 24, 2017
 
 
    
2017-2018 SDSM&T Academic Catalog

Geology and Geological Engineering, M.S.


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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, Masterlark, Price and Uzunlar; Associate Professor Pagnac; Assistant Professors Baran and Ustunisik; Professors Emeritus Fox, Lisenbee, Martin, Paterson, and Redden; Adjunct Faculty Benton and McCormick.

Geological Engineering Faculty

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

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 Resources
  2. GIS, Geoinformatics, and Remote Sensing
  3. Groundwater and Environment
  4. Paleontology*
  5. Petrology and Mineral Resources
  6. Structure, Tectonics, and Geodynamics
  7. Geomechanics

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

The Accelerated B.S./M.S. option  is available for this degree.

Graduate Programs Outcomes

A graduate of the M.S. in Geology/Geological Engineering is expected to:

•         Demonstrate knowledge of concepts and terminology of the discipline

•         Explore and evaluate scientific and technical literature

•         Analyze, interpret, and evaluate scientific and/or engineering data and methods

•         Communicate effectively (in writing and orally)

•         Act professionally and ethically

•         Impact the profession with research

Background Requirements for M.S.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants. The TOEFL, IETS, or PTE exam is required for students whose native language is not English. Many factors contribute to the success of an application, including the goals statement, coursework, grades, test scores, work experience, recommendations, and availability of a faculty member in the student’s anticipated research area. In general we prefer to see a GPA of 3.0 or above and GRE scores greater than the 50th percentile. Different specializations have different background coursework requirements, as described below.


Background Expected for 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
 
Background Expected for 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

MS in Geology and Geological Engineering Program Requirements

The M.S. thesis option requires 30 credits, including six (6) credits of thesis research and twenty-four (24) credits of coursework.  No more than 15 credits may come from courses at the 500-level or below. 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. This exam should be scheduled through the student’s major advisor with committee approval when the student has substantially completed the required 24 credits of coursework for the M.S., and at least three months prior to the thesis defense.

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, in some cases 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 be completed before the degree 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 and write up the results in a project report, in lieu of a formal thesis. The student’s committee will make the determination whether the student’s work may be deemed a significant contribution to the profession. This requirement may include content-appropriate work performed for an employer. 
  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? 

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