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Master of Earth Science

Program Coordinator: Jim McNamara | | (208) 426-2390

General Information

The Master of Earth Science (MESci) is a professional science degree program without a thesis requirement designed for students who are in the workforce or considering a career path where a thesis would not be a requirement. The curriculum in the MESci is built around proven course strengths in our MS Geology, Geophysics, and Hydrologic Sciences programs. The MESci requires the student to select from one of three emphasis areas, with core content in each paralleling those other programs. This provides the MESci student with similar core skills, knowledge base, and focus as in the thesis based programs, skills which have proved vital to a broad range of fields, including policy, regulation, or management, in the areas of environment, natural resources, and urban planning. A student must fill the remaining program requirements with coursework leading to a coherent plan or outcome agreed to by their committee and the department’s Graduate Programs Committee (GPC). Without the thesis requirement, students may be able to complete the degree and enter or advance within the workforce more rapidly. The Master of Earth Science is a graduate degree platform that will provide its graduates with a rigorous degree that will enhance their competitive edge in the job marketplace.

Students are encouraged to search the department’s home page for information about potential graduate advisors, ongoing research, thesis topics, and current activities within the research units of the department.

Graduate Program Committee

The Graduate Program Committee of the Department of Geosciences consists of the graduate program coordinators for geophysics, geology, and earth science, plus the chair of the Department. The duties of the Graduate Program Committee are defined by the Department and are consistent with policies set by the University. These duties include development of recommendations for admission of prospective graduate students, decisions on transfer credits and required background courses, decisions on the award of departmental graduate fellowships and assistantships, and appointment of Supervisory Committees for graduate students.

Application and Admission Requirements

Application for admission to the MESci program may be made by graduates of accredited institutions holding a baccalaureate degree in geology or related discipline. Regular admission may be awarded to applicants who have earned a minimum grade point average of 3.0 during the last two years of academic work; admission will be based on grade point, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and with support of a faculty advisor or advocate. Continued enrollment in the program requires a minimum 3.0 grade point (B) average and satisfactory progress toward the degree.

The applicant’s program of study should have included a minimum of:
• 6 semester hours in Chemistry (Equivalent to CHEM 111 and 112 with labs)
• 6 semester hours in Calculus based Physics (Equivalent to PHYSICS 211 and 212 with labs)
• 6 semester hours in Differential and Integral Calculus (Equivalent to MATH 170 and 175)
• 3 semester hours in Statistics (Equivalent to MATH 254, 360, or 361)
• 3 Semester hours in Geographic Information Systems
• 6 Semester hours in geology

Students may be admitted provisionally if their background lacks some prerequisites. A Supervisory Committee may prescribe additional appropriate prerequisite courses for an individual student, subject to approval of the Graduate Program Committee. A prerequisite course may be taken during the early phases of graduate study, but credits earned for this purpose will not apply to the graduate program.


Additional information may be obtained from the Master of Earth Science Graduate Coordinator, Department of Geosciences, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725 or

For more information and degree requirements, please refer to the university catalogs.