Graduate Application Deadline:  January 15th For Fall Admission
If you have questions regarding our Graduate Program, please contact our Graduate Program Coordinator Dr. Jean Dixon.

GRE Scores not required for Fall 2022 admission

The Department of Earth Sciences and The Graduate School recognize students may be facing added anxiety and obstacles in the graduate application process during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the GRE has been a barrier for prospective graduate students, especially adult/returning students, historically marginalized students, and those financially struggling. We want to ensure equitable opportunity for every prospective student looking to apply for the program's Fall start. As part of this, the department will not require students submit GRE scores.

We offer Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Earth Sciences with areas of specialization across the fields of Geography and Geology. Both degree programs stress independent thesis research with some supporting course work. All diplomas will say Earth Sciences, regardless of specialization. We strongly recommend that prospective students learn about the research interests of the faculty and contact potential research advisors directly. Admission into the department of Earth Sciences is dominantly in the fall semester.

Our collective expertise crosses many subfields of Earth Sciences, including settlement geography, bioclimatology, GIS, planning, snow science, volcanology, paleobiology, dinosaur taphonomy, stratigraphy, and geomorphology. 

Theses produced by successful M.S. and Ph.D. students span these diverse fields. Recent graduates in our graduate program have conducted groundbreaking research, and have expanded our knowledge of issues from GIS-based assessment of landslide hazards to exotic species assessment in Grand Teton National Park.

If you would like to be considered for entry to our graduate program, your completed application including all required materials must be received by January 15th for fall admission.

Admission Requirements for M.S. and Ph.D. Programs in Earth Sciences:

  1. Complete the MSU Graduate Application. All application materials are handled via the online application, with official GRE scores sent via ETS.
  2. Personal essay should clearly and concisely communicate your objectives for pursuing the curriculum and degree for which you seek admission. The essay should include a statement regarding why you wish to enroll in Earth Sciences at Montana State University and who you wish to work with. We encourage you to communicate any unusual mitigating circumstances if your GPAis below a 3.0. The personal essay will be uploaded to the online application.
  3. Students should identify at least one prospective advisor on their online application and essay, based on their intended field of study. Students are strongly recommended to contact potential advisors in advance of applying for graduate admission.
  4. Three letters of recommendation are required. Letters are managed solely via the online application. Letter writers will upload their letters to the application system once students have entered their contact information (letters should not be mailed or emailed directly to the department).
  5. Transcripts from all universities and colleges attended are required. Unofficial transcripts must be uploaded to the online application. Official transcripts will be required if admitted. 
  6. GRE scores are not required for admission to our graduate program. 
  7. The graduate admissions process for International students is outlined by the Graduate School. International students may require evidence of English language proficiency. The department minimum scores for the TOEFL test are of 237 (computer), 580 (paper) or 93 (internet). For the IELTS test a 7.0 total band score is required.


For additional information, please reach out to potential advisors or contact our graduate coordinator Jean Dixon ([email protected]).