Carlos L. V. Aiken, David E. Dunn, Anton L. Hales (emeritus), Mark Landisman, William I. Manton, George A. McMechan, Richard M. Mitterer, Kent C. Nielsen, Emile A. Pessagno, Jr., Dean C. Presnall, Robert H. Rutford, Robert J. Stern


James L. Carter, John F. Ferguson, Kristian Soegaard


Scott J. Carpenter


The basic objective of the Graduate Program in Geosciences is to providestudents with a broad fundamental background in all aspects of geosciences as well as with an in-depth emphasis in a particular specialty.

The Master of Science degree is designed for students who seek employment opportunities in the energy, environmental or mining professions in industry or government or in the teaching profession, and for those seeking a doctoral degree.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree emphasizes basic research in one of the specialties in geosciences and is designed to prepare students for advanced positions in the energy, environmental or mining professions in industry or government, or for positions in academia.

In general, entering students intending to pursue a geology emphasis are expected to have completed the equivalent of the university's B.S. degree in Geosciences (geology or geophysics options). Students whose undergraduate training is in a science other than geology are admitted to the program when their previous course work complements or supports their research interests.

All entering students with non-geoscience degrees such as physics, math, chemistry or biology should have completed physical geology, rocks and minerals, structural geology, and sedimentology. All students are expected to have completed a faculty approved summer field camp.

Students may be admitted with some deficiencies but these must be completed before the qualifying examination. It is understood that the minimum course requirements for the intended degree, as specified below, apply to well-preparedstudents.


  1. M.S. (42 hours minimum)
  2. Ph.D. (90 hours minimum)


All students seeking the Master of Science degree in Geosciences must satisfactorily complete the following requirements (minimum of 42 graduate semester hours). In addition to the above requirements, students seeking the M.S. degree must submit no later than the second semester of enrollment an acceptable research proposal to the supervising committee. Upon completion of the thesis research, the M.S. degree candidate will publicly defend the thesis.


All students seeking a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Geosciences must satisfactorily complete the following requirements (90 semester hours minimum). In addition to the above course requirements, students seeking the Ph.D. degree must submit no later than the fourth semester in residence an acceptable research proposal describing the intended project to be completed for the dissertation. An oral qualifying examination, covering the broad background and detailed knowledge relating to the student's specialization and research proposal, will be held during the fourth semester. After satisfactory performance on the Qualifying Examination, the student will complete and publicly defend the dissertation.

For general degree requirements, see General Academic Regulations.


Research facilities include: Scintag XDS-2000 automated x-ray diffractometer, Perkin Elmer atomic absorption spectrophotometer with graphite furnace, Perkin Elmer Plasma II Emission spectrometer (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometer), JEOL JXA-8600 automated electron microprobe with energy dispersive spectrometers, JEOL JSM-T300 scanning electron microscope, Nuclide ELM-2B luminoscope with a Nikon Optiphot equipped with an automated photographic system, two research quality zeiss epi-fluorescence reflected light microscopes with a fluid inclusion stage and video monitor, photometer-indicator and an automated photographic system, petrographic microscopes, rock preparation facilities, and machine shop. Network access to the University IBM 4381, N-Cube, Convex computers, two Silicon Graphics workstations, and the Cray YMP at the UT-System Center for High Performance Computing is available.
The laboratory contains four piston-cylinder presses and two multianvil presses for experiments form 7 to 250 kbar at temperatures up to 2500o C. Also, furnaces are available for studies at 1 atmosphere at temperatures up to 1600o C under controlled oxygen fugacities. These facilities, together with the JEOL 8600 electron microprobe, allow a wide range of phase equilibrium studies bearing on the generation and crystallization of magmas and the primitive Earth's fractionation from deep magma oceans into crust, mantle and core.
This laboratory houses a solid media Griggs-type press for experiments up to 2GPa and 1200o C, a large liquid confining medium press for controlled pore pressure, low temperature test up to 200 MPa confining pressure, and an INSTRON materials testing system (Model 1127). These instruments provide a range of deformational environments equivalent to a transect through the lithosphere, including the brittle ductile transition in most silicates.
Carlo Erba CNS elemental analyzer, two Tremetrics gas chromatographic systems, HP 5880 gas chromatograph and a St. John amino acid analyzer.
Four thermal ionization mass spectrometers (TIMS), including a Finnigan-MAT 261 mass spectrometer, are housed in two laboratories. These instruments are used to determine the isotopic composition of Sr, Nd, and Pb, as well as the concentration of K, Rb, Sr, Ba, REE, Pb, Th, and U in natural samples. Studies focus on determining the isotopic composition of Sr in carbonate rocks, the age of igneous rocks and minerals, the source of basaltic and granitic magmas and ore deposits and the cycling of Pb in the environment. Samples are prepared in two clean chemical laboratories.
This laboratory houses a Finnigan delta-E gas ratio mass spectrometer with an automated microvolume and on-line carbonate reaction system, high-vacuum extraction lines for preparation of a variety of gases, micro-sampling apparatus, and wet-chemistry facilities for minor element and strontium isotope sample preparation carbonates.

Geophysical research is supported by LaCoste-Romberg Model G gravimeter, Nikon theodolite and data collector, Zeiss Total Station electronic distance meter and theodolite, two 16 channel 4000 SST Trimble dual frequency geodetic and one dual channel Trimble Pathfinder II professional and one 3-channel Trimble Basic Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers with accessories for static and kenematic surveys, an array of recording three-component magnetic variometers, a multiuser virtual memory vector computer system (Convex C-2) with 256 MB of real memory, 20 GB of disk and a full complement of peripheral devices including monochrome and color plotting, numerous workstations (Sun) and an INTEL iPSC860; a 24-channel floating point seismic acquisition system with Betsy, Dinoseis and explosive sources for shallow to deep exploration; two Geometrics G806 magnetometers; 3 ABEM recording and mobile magnetometers, one Bison susceptibility bridge, a VLF-EM meter; several IBM compatible PCs including one with a 48 inch GTCO digitizing table, a microfilm library of WWSSN records; pulse EKKO IV and 100 ground penetrating radar systems; and Bison 9000 seismographs. There are extensive GIS (Geographic Information Systems) facilities including CARIS (Computer Assisted Resource Information System) and ARC/INFO GIS software packages with graphical hardware.