Oct 01, 2023  
2018-2019 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2018-2019 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Paleontology, MS

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Contact Information

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

MS in Paleontology

The MS in Paleontology is only offered with a thesis option.

SD Mines students accepted to the Accelerated MS option may apply up to 9 credits of 500/600 level courses taken as an undergraduate toward both the BS and the MS degrees.

For more information on this degree see the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering  page under the Graduate Programs Listing in this catalog.

Degree requirements for thesis option

Distribution of credits

Core requirements: 6-7 credits
Research requirements: 6 credits
Elective requirements: 17-18 credits
Total credits: 30

A minimum of 15 credits of the 30 required must be taken at the 600 level or above.

Core requirements

Research requirements

The completion of a master’s thesis, approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Education, is required for this degree.

  • Credits: Credit to be arranged.
  • *At least 6 credits of PALE 798 are required.  No more than 6 credits of PALE 798 may be counted toward the degree.

Elective requirements

Candidates will work with their advisor and committee members to develop an approved program of study to fulfill the remaining coursework requirements.

  • At least 17-18 elective credits


Candidates for the MS degree must fulfill all degree requirements of the graduate office and of the program. Departmental requirements include a written thesis proposal with oral proposal defense and an oral comprehensive exam covering course material.

The thesis proposal and its defense will be scheduled through the student’s major advisor and will have the thesis committee’s approval. A final thesis proposal, which may require revisions following the thesis proposal defense, serves as a contract of expectations for the student’s thesis. The thesis proposal defense must take place at least six months prior to the thesis defense. Students must declare any non-disclosure agreements and associated materials or information as an addendum to the thesis proposal document.

The oral comprehensive 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 MS; the exam must be held at least three months prior to the thesis defense.

Additional requirements

Any physical specimens (and associated documentation) collected, prepared, and cited in a thesis or dissertation are to be deposited in the Museum of Geology as part of the student’s work. Guidelines (available only via on-campus or VPN connection) and forms are available online.

In addition to these degree-specific requirements, the student must also meet the requirements and policies applied to all graduate degrees  by the Council of Graduate Education.

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