Students holding a BS degree are encouraged to apply directly to the PhD program. They may elect to receive a MS degree while working toward the PhD, but the MS degree is not a prerequisite to the PhD.
For University of Michigan undergraduate students seeking an extended research experience, we offer a fifth-year MS program through CUGS.
MS students are required to review their progress with their academic adviser each year. The student should update the Annual Review Form prior to meeting with his/her adviser to discuss his/her academic and professional progress. The Annual Review Form must be completed and submitted to the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies prior to the last day of classes of Winter term. Students should contact the Graduate Program Office for a blank form.
Specific Course Requirements for the MS degree are a minimum of 24 credits at the graduate level of which at least 22 must be in courses and seminars. Of the 22, at least 12 credits must be in Earth and Environmental Studies, no more than 4 credits may be in seminars, and at least 4 credits must be in accepted cognate courses. Cognate courses are those offered by other academic units that broaden expertise in areas related to the student’s research; Rackham requires a minimum grade of B- for cognate courses. EARTH/GEOSCI 599 and other independent study courses are excluded from the 12 credits required in Earth and Environmental Studies courses, but may be used in partial fulfillment of the remaining non-cognate credit requirements. Research credits (EARTH/GEOSCI 709) may be used in partial fulfillment of these requirements but are excluded from the 22 credits of coursework.
Grade and GPA Requirements
Rackham policy dictates that graduate students may not take courses pass/fail, but can elect to take a course S/U or Visit/Audit. Credit is only given for courses in which a grade of C- or higher has been received. Cognate credit is only given for a course in which a grade of B- or higher has been earned. The minimum required Rackham cumulative grade point average is B (5.00 on a 9.00 point scale). Complete information about grading may be found on the Rackham Academic Policies website, Section 4.5: http://www.rackham.umich.edu/policies/academic_policies/section4/#45
The Masters thesis is a report on a research project or a publishable scientific paper that is approved by two Department of Earth and Environmental Studies faculty members and the Chair of the Department. There is no final examination requirement for the MS degree. MS students admitted into the PhD program will take the PhD Preliminary Examination in the fourth term of their MS program.
Masters Thesis Formatting Guidelines
The thesis should conform to the format guidelines of a scientific journal appropriate for the field. Formatting must be determined in consultation with the student's advisor.
Students should make sure that they follow accepted guidelines for pagination, bibliography, drafting of figures, figure captions, abstract, title, and so forth.
Masters Thesis Cover Pages and Signatures
Each Masters Thesis must have the appropriate cover page from the list below. Signatures required: two faculty readers (usually including the advisor) and the Chair of the Department. Students are required to obtain the two faculty reader signatures before requesting the Chair's signature.
- Masters Thesis Cover Page: Geology (Word)
- Masters Thesis Cover Page: Geology, paper in lieu of thesis (Word)
- Masters Thesis Cover Page: Earth and Environmental Sciences (Word)
- Masters Thesis Cover Page: Earth and Environmental Sciences, paper in lieu of thesis (Word)
Students should contact the Graduate Program Coordinator if they have trouble with one of the files linked above.
Students should submit the original with the signed cover page to the Chair, then make any corrections required by the Chair, and submit the final thesis with 2 copies to the Graduate Program Coordinator once the Chair has signed the cover page. Students are advised to check faculty travel schedules early in their final term in order for faculty to have enough time to read the thesis.
Thesis Submission Deadline
The student is required to obtain the two faculty member signatures before submitting his/her MS thesis to the Chair. The thesis must be submitted to the Chair one week before the last day of classes in the term of graduation.
If the Chair determines that a thesis is deficient in format, style, grammar, English, or otherwise not measuring up to our standards, the student and her/his advisor will be notified as soon as possible by e-mail, with a brief summary of the problems. The student then has the choice of deferring the graduation date, or remedying the problems at short notice, with the deadline being two working days before the Rackham deadline. The final Rackham deadlines are approximately January 5, May 13, and August 26 for graduation in the previous term. It is important to note that the revised thesis must now be turned in to the Graduate Program Coordinator in the Departmental Office, so as to insure that it gets processed in time for Rackham's deadline.
Number of Copies
Three bound copies of the thesis with one of the cover pages listed above, including the original with all the required signatures, including the student's signature, must be submitted to the Earth and Environmental Studies Graduate Program Coordinator.
Deep Blue Archive
Masters students are encouraged to submit their thesis as a PDF instead of submitting bound paper copies. Students who choose this option should email a PDF file of their thesis to the Chair after it has been approved by the two faculty readers. Once the Chair has appoved the thesis, the final version should be emailed to Anne Hudon in the Department main office.
A paper cover sheet is still required to be signed by the student, by both faculty readers and then by the Chair. This should be submitted to Anne Hudon in the main office when the student emails the final version of the thesis to her. She will upload the thesis to the U-M Library's official Deep Blue archive, with the cover sheet scanned as the first page of the document.
Consult Rackham's Masters Students web site for University requirements about MS degrees, such as transfer of credit, time limits, and diploma information. Or see the Masters Degree information on the Rackham Graduate School Academic Policies web site.
Still more questions? Contact the Earth and Environmental Studies Graduate Program Office.