Graduate Application Deadline:  January 15th For Fall Admission. We are no longer accepting applications for Fall Semester of 2022. 

We offer Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Earth Sciences with areas of specialization and faculty expertise crossing many subfields including settlement geography, bioclimatology, GIS, planning, snow science, volcanology, paleobiology, dinosaur taphonomy, stratigraphy, and geomorphology. Both degree programs stress independent thesis research with some supporting course work. All diplomas will say Earth Sciences, regardless of specialization.

Theses produced by successful M.S. and Ph.D. students cross 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.

Applying to Our Department:

Open applications are only accepted for admission in fall semesters.If you would like to be considered for entry to our graduate program, your completed application including all required materials and letters of recommendation must be received by January 15th. 

Prospective students are expected to learn about the research interests of the faculty and identify a potential research advisor. We encourage you to contact them directly to find out if they anticipate bringing on new students and what projects or funding may be available. 

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.
  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 must 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 and should be received by the application deadline. 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 are not required to apply, and will only be required if provisionally admitted. 
  6. 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.

GRE Scores not required
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.

For additional information, please reach out to potential advisors or contact our graduate coordinator at [email protected]