Masters Degree

Why Should I Pursue a Masters of Science in Geology?

Our master of science program provides the opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge and experience centered around one of the sub-disciplines of the geological sciences that builds on the foundation of the bachelors degree.  A recent survey of geologic consulting firms indicates that approximately half of newly-hired geologists will have a masters degree, clear evidence that the masters degree will provide a strong competitive advantage for entry into the work force.  A masters degree is also an excellent choice for prospective high-school teachers and a prerequisite for teaching at the community college level.  A masters degree also makes an excellent springboard toward a Ph.D. degree in Geology, especially for students who need the extra coursework or research experience in order to gain entry into a top Ph.D. program.

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Why Choose California State University, Fullerton?

Our Reputation: Our department has a reputation for producing successful geologists.  Many of the local geological consulting firms are populated with C.S.U.F. graduates and when they need to hire, these employers look at our graduates first.  Our faculty has garnered national recognition for their research in projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the Petroleum Research Fund, and numerous other state and local funding agencies.  Because of our faculty’s excellent reputation, our graduate students will have little difficulty starting a career, or moving on to quality Ph.D. programs.

Teaching Comes First: Unlike large Ph.D. – granting research universities, whose faculty spend most of their time on large research projects, C.S.U.F.’s primary mission is education. Our faculty  are first and foremost excellent teachers.  We take pride in the level of our interaction with students, and we take a personal interest in guaranteeing their success.  Furthermore, our graduate classes are typically small, and provide close interaction between students and faculty.  At C.S.U.F. you will be at the top of the knowledge food-chain!

Student-Centered Research: As well as being excellent educators, all of our faculty pursue active research programs.  Our faculty design their research projects specifically around the involvement of students, and we require all faculty to involve students in their research.  In the course of your graduate studies you will have ample opportunity to work one-on-one with your faculty advisor on a collaborative research project.

Student-Oriented Program: We designed our Master’s program specifically to cater to the changing needs of our students.  Many of our graduate courses have flexible topics that can be modified specifically to meet the needs and desires of the current students.  Our program also allows new courses to be offered in response to student demand.  The requirements of our students will always dictate the focus of our program.

Each student will meet individually with the graduate advisor to formulate a study plan designed specifically to meet their goals.  Elective course work in related fields such as math, physics, chemistry, biology, anthropology, engineering can easily be incorporated into your personal study plan.

In addition, we offer many of our graduate courses in the early evening hours to accommodate working students and master’s theses can be designed as collaborative projects with student’s employers.

Outstanding Opportunities

Our location within the active tectonic belt of southern California provides unlimited potential for designing nearby investigations in virtually any field of geology.  However, opportunities are not limited to southern California, our students have pursued research projects around the country and overseas.  Our actively engaged faculty guarantees many exciting research possibilities for our graduate students.


Located 22 miles southeast of metropolitan Los Angeles, and about 25 miles from the Pacific coast.  Fullerton is a full-service city renowned for its unique mix of residential, commercial and industrial, educational, and cultural environments which provide residents with an outstanding quality of life. Geologically, C.S.U.F. lies in the midst of the active boundary between the Pacific and North American plates.  The nearby Los Angeles Basin, Peninsular and Transverse Ranges, Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada and Basin and Range geological provinces provide abundant opportunities for field-based research.

Financial Aid

The Department of Geological Sciences typically employs several graduate teaching assistants to teach lower division geology laboratories.  Research assistantships funded by faculty research grants may also be available.  We have a very limited number of non-resident tuition waivers for graduate students from out-of-state.  For additional information about financial aid, contact the Office of Financial AidOpens in new window (University Hall – Room 146) at (657) 278-3125.


For more information about our graduate program in Geology, please contact our graduate advisor, Dr. Matthew Kirby, at (657) 278-3882.  You are also welcome to visit our department in Room 254, McCarthy Hall, or write to:

Graduate Advisor

Department of Geological Sciences

California State University, Fullerton

Fullerton, CA 92834-6850