M.S. Graduate Program

Group photo of CWU grad students and faculty on a field trip

Central Washington University offers a Master of Science program in Geological Sciences that aims to develop professional geoscientists with the ability to conduct original and meaningful scientific research. Our program prepares students for geoscience careers or for continuing graduate studies at the doctoral level. In a recent survey of our MS alumni, 90% hold jobs in a geology field, and 20% have gone on to pursue a PhD in geological sciences.

Why Geology Graduate Studies at CWU?

Students are attracted to our program for our excellent faculty, outstanding setting at the base of the Cascade Mountains, and the research and learning facilities in the newly constructed Discovery Hall. Learn more about our faculty and their research here, and contact faculty with whom you are potentially interested in working with. The department emphasizes field-based studies in the spectacular geological environment within our region and elsewhere, as well as research that utilizes our state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation and research laboratories.

Faculty Research Interests

Areas of faculty expertise include:

  • GPS geodesy, seismology, earthquakes and tsunami hazards
  • tectonics and continental dynamics
  • petrology and volcanology
  • climate change, ice cores, environmental geochemistry, hydrogeology and geomorphology

Examples of recent graduate student research in the Pacific Northwest and beyond!

Program Curriculum

Our MS Program includes a structured graduate course sequence to establish bonds within the student cohort, develop research skills, and provide support and guidance to ensure timely progress toward graduation in two years. New students gain familiarity with each other and the regional geology during Fall field trips, and are guided through the process of writing and presenting a thesis research proposal in a Winter Research Methods class. Course requirements are tailored to the individual student's academic background, professional goals, and research interests through advising from the graduate faculty and thesis committee chair. All students in the 2-year program complete a thesis research project.

Our department is committed to providing a welcoming, inclusive and equitable environment for our students, staff and faculty. We value bringing together people with diverse experiences, backgrounds and ideas to collaborate on and solve scientific problems.

Admission Requirements, Application, and Program Requirements

Admission decisions prioritize letters of recommendation, personal communication with applicants, including interviews and/or email exchanges, and the statement of research interest. We recently eliminated the GRE requirement.

The application deadline for fall term is February 1.
Additional details about admission requirements, supporting materials, and program requirements are described in the CWU Online Catalog (follow that link and then select graduate catalog from the pop-down menu at upper right).

Application for admission is available at Central Washington University's Office of Graduate Studies and Research. If you wish to be considered for a teaching or research assistantship, you MUST ALSO fill out the Graduate Assistantship section of the application.

Contact Graduate Studies at (509) 963-3101 or masters@cwu.edu with questions about the application process.

Opportunities for Support

The Department of Geological Sciences offers both teaching and grant-supported research assistantships. Assistantships require an incoming GPA of 3.0 on the last 90 undergraduate credits. Research assistantships are most often granted to second year students who are working on projects supported by external grants to Geological Sciences faculty. In addition to designated departmental assistantships, the university offers reductions in out-of-state tuition to qualified candidates in areas of diversity, leadership and academics. As part of the regular graduate school application, you MUST complete the Graduate Assistantship section of the application. Second year students must reapply for support using the Assistantship Application to be considered for support for their second year.

Persons of disability may make arrangements for reasonable accommodations and printed material in alternative format by calling 509-963-2701 or by leaving a message on TDD 509-963-3323. Central Washington University is an AA/EEO/Title IX Institution.