Aug 06, 2020  
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Paleontology, M.S.

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Contact Information

Dr. Laurie Anderson
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering
Mineral Industries 303
(605) 394-2461


Professors Anderson and Price; Assistant Professor Belanger, Pagnac and Sawyer;  Associate Director and Instructor Shelton; Haslem Post-doctoral Fellow Boyd;  Adjunct Professor Benton;  Adjunct Assistant Professor Bapst; Professors Emeritus Fox and Martin.


The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering offers advanced study leading to an M.S. degree in paleontology.  Resources available to graduate students in paleontology include the extensive collections of the Museum of Geology.  The M.S. in paleontology has a strong emphasis on field-based research as well as courses in museum studies.

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

The GRE exam is required of all applicants.  The TOEFL exam is required for students whose native language is not English.

Candidates for the M.S. degree must fulfill all degree requirements of the graduate office and of the program, including an oral comprehensive exam covering course material. 

The thesis option is the only option for the M.S. in paleontology.

Degree Requirements

The M.S. thesis option requires 32 credits, including six to eight (6-8) credits of thesis research and twenty-four to twenty-six (24-26) credits of coursework.

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/PALE course emphasizing field methods, one GEOL/GEOE/PALE course emphasizing computational methods, and one GEOL/GEOE/PALE course emphasizing the systematics of a taxonomic group.  The student’s advising committee determines the courses that meet these criteria.

Additional Information

All these samples, specimens, and their documentation collected while a registered student must be curated into the collections of the Museum of Geology.

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