Geological Sciences and Engineering graduate programs

Work with expert faculty on cutting-edge research in one of the most geologically interesting landscapes in the U.S.

The Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering offers research-oriented M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geology, geophysics, and geological engineering as well as two interdisciplinary programs in hydrologic sciences.

Why chose our programs?

Wendy Calvin instructs two students on how to use a research instrument.

Dedicated faculty

Our leading research-active faculty receive funding from national and international agencies, providing graduate students with a thriving work environment, valuable hands-on experience, and financial support to pursue their own research.

Lake Tahoe sunset.

Rich outdoor environment

Our campus is less than an hour away from some of the most beautiful and geologically interesting landscapes in the country, like Lake Tahoe and the Black Rock desert. We learn in an environment that encourages exploration and recreation.

A group watches on as a man flies a drone with a mountain backdrop.

Facilities & instruments

Our gradute students enjoy a full complement of modern facilities, instrumentation, laboratories and technical support personnel, all paired with the many natural laboratories of Nevada, California and the western United States.

Field studies are a natural area of emphasis for our programs – and not simply because the faculty is highly active in world-leading research. The University of Nevada, Reno is located near the boundary between the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada physiographic provinces and is near many world-class localities for fieldwork, ranging from the glaciated high country to high desert environments. Yosemite, Great Basin and Lassen Volcanic National Parks and Lake Tahoe are all within easy reach of Reno.

Graduate students in the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering enjoy access to state-of-the-art field instrumentation and laboratories for geologic, seismic, gravity, magnetic, electrical and rock properties studies. The Department also collaborates with faculty from one of the largest digitally recorded seismic networks, the Nevada Seismological Laboratory as well as faculty in the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

Potential areas of specialization within the program include:

  • Earthquakes and neotectonics
  • Geodesy
  • Geologic hazards
  • Geomorphology
  • Geophysical exploration
  • Global change
  • Igneous petrology and volcanology
  • Metamorphic geochemistry
  • Mineral exploration and ore genesis
  • Paleomagnetism
  • Paleoseismology
  • Planetary geology
  • Quaternary sciences
  • Regional geology
  • remote sensing
  • Seismology and seismic hazards

Explore department research

Thermal cameras installed by ALERTWildfire to help firefighters see through Caldor Fire smoke

University of Nevada, Reno and DigitalPath technicians deploy latest technology onto mountaintop camera platform

thermal image of south lake tahoe

University of Nevada, Reno scientists and engineers collaborating on seismic survey for earthquakes

Unraveling the sub-surface geology of the Truckee Meadows using fiber-optics

Roving Mars: From Sojourner to Perseverance

Foundation Professor and planetary scientist Wendy Calvin will discuss the evolution of Mars rovers in her March 11 Discover Science virtual lecture.

Marine Plankton face threat of extinction as planet warms

Census of marine plankton fossils reveals inability to adapt to large shifts in climate

Ready to apply?

Review all Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering graduate programs admissions requirements and begin your application!