Department admissions information

Graduate School admission requirements

All students applying to graduate programs at the University of Nevada, Reno must meet the application and admissions requirements of the Graduate School. Applications to all programs are submitted online through the Graduate School.

Graduate School admissions

Departmental admission requirements

Students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university to be accepted as a graduate student. For full graduate standing, at least 30 credits of undergraduate work in geology and/or related fields must have been completed.

Students that are admitted to the M.S. in Geological Engineering program from Bachelor of Science degrees that are non-engineering related are expected to make up the following undergraduate course deficiencies as a minimum: CE/MECH 241 (statics), CE 372 (strength of materials), and MINE 350 (fluid mechanics).

Students applying to the M.S. in Geophysics program are expected to have a strong quantitative background through coursework in Physics and Mathematics, as well as fundamentals of geology. A one-year course in University Physics (w/ Calculus) is expected, as is at least 3 semesters of Calculus. Additional math such as Differential Equations and Linear Algebra or programming skills are beneficial.

A master's degree from an accredited college or university is recommended for students applying to the Ph.D. programs; however, students with an exceptional undergraduate record will still be considered.

For information regarding admissions to the programs in hydrologic sciences, visit the Graduate Program in Hydrologic Sciences website.

Hydrologic sciences admissions requirements

For admission to the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, prospective students must submit the items below. All materials should be sent directly to the Graduate School and we strongly recommend letters of recommendation be delivered on-line.

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Score of 50% or higher in the verbal and quantitative sections
  • Three letters of recommendation certifying ability to perform graduate-level work at the desired level (M.S. or Ph.D.)
  • A one to two-page personal statement of interest stating why UNR is your school of choice, why you wish to pursue the desired degree (M.S. or Ph.D.), and what specialties and/or faculty the applicant is interested in
  • Copies of transcripts and TOEFL scores (if applicable)

The Admissions Committee gives comparable weight to each item submitted as part of the application package so an applicant will not be denied admission based solely on his/her GPA or GRE scores. Please be aware we do not admit students solely based on scores and letters, we also require a faculty member to be willing to act as your advisor. To that end, identifying a faculty member here who you would like to work with, and communicating with him or her in advance, is the best way to win admission.

The process of winning financial support for your studies is extremely competitive, and awardees usually have records well above the stated minima. Our current graduate acceptance rate is <20% of applicants.

Application Deadlines and Addresses

Complete applications (i.e., the items listed above) must be submitted online with any supporting documents received by the Graduate School by January 1 for Fall and September 15 for Spring admissions. Assure GRE scores and official transcripts are sent directly to the Graduate School to arrive well before these stated deadlines; the applicant's personal statement and letters of recommendation, if not uploaded via the on-line application, should be sent to:

University of Nevada, Reno
Graduate School/0326
Reno, NV 89557-0326

For additional questions regarding graduate admissions please contact us:

Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering/172
Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557
Attn: Graduate Admissions
Phone: (775) 784-6050
Fax: (775) 784-1833

For the Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences, applications and letters of reference must be received by January 10 or August 10 for the appropriate admission cycle. Please contact the Hydro Program Director if you are interested in applying.