I. Introduction

Welcome to the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering (DGSE) at the University of Nevada, Reno! We are glad you are here, and we hope you will have an enjoyable, stimulating, and rewarding stay in our department. We have outstanding faculty and excellent research facilities, all of which are at your disposal. This handbook will serve as an important reference for you while you obtain your graduate degree, complete classes, conduct research and write a thesis or dissertation on some original research. This handbook will help you navigate through your graduate school experience.

It is important to realize that the successful and timely completion of a graduate degree is entirely dependent on YOU.  No one else will take the classes for you, do your fieldwork and/or analyses or write your thesis. Of course, the faculty are here to help you, and fellow students are often the most help of all, but it is up to you to become aware of all university and departmental requirements and deadlines that pertain to your degree program. You also need to make sure you are aware of department policies that may change from time to time, and everyone involved in DGSE (including faculty, staff, and students) is subject to our Code of Conduct.

Communication is the name of the game. At times, you will have to track down those busy faculty members on your advisory/examining committee to discuss what classes you should take and to schedule committee meetings.  You will have to learn to be a bit of a personnel manager, as well as a knowledgeable practitioner of some discipline within the earth sciences.  After you leave graduate school and begin a new job, decisions about your career advancement will be based on how you communicate with and relate to other people at least as much as on your technical competence.  Use your time here in graduate school to practice, or acquire, these "people skills."  You and your advisory/examining committee will be glad you did. This handbook is intended as a supplement to the Graduate Student Association (GSA) Handbook, which details the policies of the UNR Graduate School. The GSA Handbook documents University standards for course work, thesis preparation, and publication. It presents, in detail, those steps necessary for successful completion of graduate studies at UNR.  The UNR Graduate School is ultimately responsible for both admitting graduate students and approving the completion of their graduate programs. However, in some instances, the Graduate School defers certain decisions to individual Departments. This handbook is intended to codify the pertinent policies of the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering toward its graduate programs in Geology, Geological Engineering, and Geophysics. In addition, faculty in the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering advise or work with students from interdisciplinary graduate programs, such as Hydrologic Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, and Environmental Science and Health. All Uninversity interdisciplinary graduate degree programs have assigned Graduate Directors. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of these degree programs, policies and procedures may differ from those presented in this document.  Information and guidance on policies and procedures for graduate students enrolled in these programs can be obtained from the interdisciplinary Graduate Directors. Much of the material summarized here regarding Graduate School requirements is drawn freely from the GSA Handbook, to which you are referred for more detail. A handy checklist in the GSA Handbook illustrates the sequence of steps a student must follow to be awarded an advanced degree. 

Program description

Geology

  • Masters of Science
  • Non-Thesis Masters of Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy

    Geological Engineering

    • Masters of Science
    • Non-Thesis Masters of Science

    Geophysics

    • Masters of Science
    • Non-Thesis Masters of Science
    • Doctor of Philosophy

    Student learning outcomes

    The student learning outcomes for all of the different graduate degrees include:

    • To read and critically evaluate relevant scientific literature in the specific topic area of the advanced geology/geological engineering/geophysics sub-discipline studied.
    • To demonstrate an advanced level of competency and mastery in the specific topic area of their thesis.
    • To discuss the relationship of the specialized area of geology/geological engineering/geophysics studied in their thesis in the broader context of the field and earth sciences in general.