Graduate Degree Programs

Master of Science in Environmental Geochemistry

The master’s in environmental geochemistry program is intended to provide: (1) an opportunity for Mines undergraduates to obtain, as part of a fifth year of study, a master’s in addition to the bachelor’s degree; and (2) additional education for working professionals in the area of geochemistry as it applies to problems relating to the environment. This is a non-thesis master’s degree program administered by the Geochemistry program, and may be completed as part of a combined degree program by individuals already matriculated as undergraduate students at Mines, or by individuals already holding undergraduate or advanced degrees and who are interested in a graduate program that does not have the traditional research requirement. The program consists primarily of coursework in geochemistry and allied fields, with an emphasis on environmental applications. No research is required though the program does allow for independent study, professional development, internship and cooperative experience.
Application
Undergraduate students at Colorado School of Mines must declare an interest during their third year to allow for planning of coursework that will apply towards the program. These students must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0. Students majoring in departments other than the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering and the Department of Chemistry may want to decide on the combined degree program option earlier to be sure prerequisites are satisfied. Applicants other than Mines undergraduates who are applying for this non-thesis master’s degree program must follow the same procedures that all prospective graduate students follow. However, the requirement of the general GRE may be waived.
Prerequisites
Each entering student will have an entrance interview with members of the geochemistry faculty. Each department recognizes that entering students may not be proficient in both areas. A placement examination in geology and/or chemistry may be required upon the discretion of the interviewing faculty. If a placement examination is given, the results may be used to establish deficiency requirements. Credit toward a graduate degree will not be granted for courses taken to fulfill deficiencies.
Requirements

A minimum of 30 credit hours are required, with an overall GPA of at least 3.0. The overall course requirements will depend on the background of the individual, but may be tailored to professional objectives.

A 10 credit-hour core program consists of:

In addition, 14 credit hours must be selected from the following list:

  • GEGN466*: Groundwater Engineering,
  • CHGC503: Introduction to Geochemistry,
  • CHGC509: Aqueous Geochemistry.

* If this course is transferred from the undergraduate program, another course must be substituted from the list below.

In addition, 14 credit hours must be selected from the following list:

  • CHGN503: Advanced Physical Chemistry,
  • CHGC504: Methods in Geochemistry,
  • CHGC506: Water Analysis Laboratory,
  • GEOL512: Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry,
  • CHGC513: Hydrothermal Geochemistry,
  • CHGC514: Geochemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics,
  • CHGC527: Organic Geochemistry of Fossil Fuels and Ore Deposits,
  • GEOL530: Clay Characterization,
  • GEGN532: Geological Data Analysis,
  • GEOL550: Integrated Basin Modeling,
  • CHGC555: Environmental Organic Chemistry,
  • CHGC562: Microbiology and the Environment,
  • CHGC563: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory,
  • CHGC564: Biogeochemistry and Geomicrobiology,
  • GEGN575: Applications of Geographic Information Systems,
  • GEGN581: Advanced Groundwater Engineering,
  • GEGN583: Mathematical Modeling of Groundwater Systems,
  • ESGN586: Molecular Microbial Ecology and the Environment,
  • CHGC610: Nuclear and Isotopic Geochemistry,
  • GEGN683: Advanced Groundwater Modeling.

The selection of courses mentioned in the previous paragraph must include at least one laboratory course (CHGC506 or GEOL530).

An additional 6 credit-hours of free electives may be selected to complete the 30 credit-hour requirement. Free electives may be selected from the list above, and may also be independent study credits (CHGN599, GEGN599 or GEOL599) taken to fulfill a research, cooperative, or other professional development experience. A course program will be designed in advanced through consultation between the student and an advisor from the Geochemistry Committee of the Whole.

MS and PhD in Geochemistry, Geochemistry Track

Prerequisites
Each entering student will have an entrance interview with members of the Geochemistry faculty. Each department recognizes that entering students may not be proficient in both areas. A placement examination in geology and/or chemistry may be required upon the discretion of the interviewing faculty. If a placement examination is given, the results may be used to establish deficiency requirements. Credit toward a graduate degree will not be granted for courses taken to fulfill deficiencies.
Master of Science Requirements

Minimum 36 semester hours, including 24 hours of coursework and 12 hours of research credit. To ensure breadth of background, all students enrolled in the Master of Science – Geochemistry degree take:

  • CCHGC503: Introduction to Geochemistry
  • CCHGC504: Methods in Geochemistry

and two courses selected from the following list:

  • CHGN503: Advanced Physical Chemistry
  • CHGC509: Introduction to Aqueous Geochemistry
  • GEOL512: Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry
  • CHGC513: Hydrothermal Geochemistry
  • CHGC514: Geochemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics
  • CHGC610: Nuclear and Isotopic Geochemistry

In addition, all students must complete a one-hour laboratory course selected from several available. Master of Science (Geochemistry) students must also complete an appropriate thesis, based upon original research they have conducted. A thesis proposal and course of study must be approved by the student’s thesis committee before the student begins substantial work on the thesis research.

Total credits required: 36

Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

The requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) program will be established individually by a student’s thesis committee, but must meet the minimum requirements presented below. The Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) program will require a minimum of 72 credit hours. At least 24 hours must be research credit and at least 18 hours must be course work. Up to 24 hours of course credits may be transferred from previous graduate-level work upon approval of the thesis committee. Research credits may not be transferred. Students who enter the Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) program with a thesis-based Master of Science degree from another institution may transfer up to 36 semester hours, upon approval of the thesis committee, in recognition of the course work and research completed for that degree.

Coursework

  • CHGC503: Introduction to Geochemistry,
  • CHGC504: Methods in Geochemistry,
  • CHGC514: Geochemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics.

In addition, all students must take a one-hour laboratory course, plus two additional courses selected from the following list:

  • CHGN503: Advanced Physical Chemistry,
  • CHGC509: Introduction to Aqueous Geochemistry,
  • GEOL512: Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry,
  • CHGC513: Hydrothermal Geochemistry,
  • CHGC610: Nuclear and Isotopic Geochemistry.

Total credits required: 72 (at least 18 of coursework)

MS and PhD in Geochemistry, Environmental Biogeochemistry Track

Prerequisites
A candidate for an MS or PhD in the EBGC degree track should have an undergraduate science or engineering degree with coursework including multivariable calculus, two semesters each of physics and chemistry, and one semester each of biology and earth science. Applicants who do not fulfill these requirements may still be admitted, but will need to undergo an entrance interview to establish deficiency requirements. Credit toward a graduate degree will not be given for undergraduate courses taken to fulfill deficiencies.
Requirements

A thesis proposal and thesis are required for all MS and PhD degrees within the EBGC degree track. MS thesis advisors (or at least one co-advisor) must be members of the EBGC subprogram. PhD thesis committees must have a total of at least four members. PhD advisors (or at least one of two co-advisors) and one additional committee member must be members of the EBGC subprogram. MS students will be expected to give one public seminar on their research; PhD students are required to give at least one in addition to their thesis defense presentation.

Coursework completed by MS and PhD students

  1. CCHGC503: Introduction to Geochemistry
  2. CCHGC504: Methods in Geochemistry
  3. One chemistry-focused class, chosen from the following list:
    • CEEN550: Principles of Environmental Chemistry
    • CHGC509: Aqueous Geochemistry
  4. One biology-focused class chosen from the following list:
    • CEEN560: Molecular Microbial Ecology and the Environment
    • CEEN562: Geomicrobial Systems
    • CHGC562: Microbiology and the Environment
  5. One Earth science-focused class chosen from the following list:
    • GHGC514:Geochemical Theromdynamics and Kinetics
    • GEGN598: Geochemical Modeling
    • GEGN598: Earth Surface Geochemistry
  6. One class focused on analytical methods in environmental/biogeochemistry, chosen from several available, including:
    • CHGC506: Water Analysis Laboratory
    • GEGN530: Clay Characterization

Total credits required for MS: 36
Total credits required for PhD: 72 (at least 18 of coursework)