Undergraduate & Graduate Programs, Research and Facilities


If you're looking for another science course this is the class for you!

GG1113: Survey of Earth Science - Why is it pretty safe to live on Hawaii but not so smart to live on the side of Mt. St. Helens? When's the Big One coming? Why is Ole Miss more likely to be destroyed by an earthquake than any other SEC school? The answers to these and many more questions are found in this physical geology class. Starting with the origin of the universe and the Earth, topics proceed to the formation of minerals and the igneous-sedimentary-metamorphic rock cycle, through plate tectonics, mountain building, earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods. Other topics include deserts, glaciers, coastlines, and energy and pollution. You'll learn why the area around Starkville looks the way it does and why our water tastes so bad! This class teaches you why the world is how it is. Airplane trips will never be the same once you understand what you're seeing down there! This 3-hour class can be taken with or without a 1- hour lab. Content varies slightly depending on the instructor. The course is offered every semester and during the summer and is taught at different times by the entire geology faculty.



Undergraduate Programs 

There are two degree tracks available to undergraduates interested in majoring in Earth Science or Geology.


B.S. in Geoscience, Professional Geology Concentration

This track trains students to work as geologists in the energy, engineering, economic , and environmental geology fields. After Survey of Earth Sciences (GG 1113), a student on this degree track would take eight fundamental geology classes such as mineralogy, structural geology, and paleontology. Four geo-environmental classes, such as oceanography, water resources, or environmental geology, three applied geology classes, such as engineering geology or geochemistry, and a summer geology field camp are also required. Nine hours of physics and eight hours of chemistry (the Natural Science co-requirement), plus the standard College of Arts and Sciences core courses, are also requirements. This curriculum is designed to allow successful performance on the Geologist-In-Training ASBOG examination administered by the Mississippi State Board of Professional Geologists. Recent Department of Geosciences graduates who followed the professional geology track have gone on to graduate school for both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, and have found employment with oil companies, mining companies, and with local and state government agencies.

Professional Geology Track Requirements

B.S. in Geoscience, Environmental Geoscientist Concentration

This track is designed to train students for work in the conservation and management of natural resources and remediation of natural and human hazards fields. This course of study is intended to expose the student to a broader cross-section of earth science classes than the professional geology track. The 9-hour Natural Science co-requirement will be fulfilled with chemistry and biology (not physics) classes. Four geo-environmental classes, and six other 4000-level department electives are required. These electives are not restricted to the fundamental geology classes, but may include courses such as GIS or upper level geography classes. This track is not designed to fulfill the requirements of the ASBOG examination.

Environmental Geology Track Requirements

Geosciences Minor

A minor in geoscience (professional geology concentration) requires physical and historical geology with labs (GG 1113 and GG 1123) plus 14 additional hours in 2000 or higher level courses for a total of 22 credit hours. The environmental geoscience concentration requires that environmental geology (GG 3133) be included in the 22 credit hours.

For more information on department and university requirements please consult the Undergraduate Bulletin.



Graduate Program


Geology (M.S.)

The Department of Geosciences offers graduate study leading to the Master of Science degree in Geosciences. The requirements for the M.S. are 24 hours of course work, 6 hours of independent research credit, and a written thesis. Required classes include Geoscience Seminar (GG 8561) and Geologic Literature (GG 8572). It is expected that graduate students will have fulfilled the requirements for the professional geology track, however, deficiencies in geoscience areas may be made up while registered as a graduate student.



Graduate Student Support

Full time-time ($1000/month) and half-time ($600/month) teaching assistantships are often available for graduate students. Full-time TA's teach two or three lab sections (in introductory geology or in the student's specialty) per week; half-time TA's usually teach one lab section and assist in one other. Departmental TA's usually last for two years and include a tuition waiver. Research assistantships are also often available to graduate students. RA's are usually required to teach labs in addition to working on a research project. The amount of the monthly RA stipend is dependent on a particular project and grant but can be as much as $1500/month plus tuition waiver. For more information on the graduate program in the Department of Geosciences please contact Dr. Mike Brown, Graduate Coordinator.



Picture credits: "Research" pictures are from us. Mineral pictures are from "Simon and Schuster's Guide To Rocks & Minerals," edited by Prinz et al., 1978. Astronomical pictures are from NASA (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/). Other pictures are from the USGS (http://www.usgs.gov/).






Department of Geosciences • 108 Hilbun Hall • P.O. Box 5448 • Mississippi State, MS 39762-5448

phone: 662-325-3915 • fax: 662-325-9423