Applied Geosciences, MSAG

This program provides both theoretical and technical expertise in geochemistry, geophysics, hydrogeology and engineering geology and includes essential project management skills, necessary for leadership in environmental remediation and pollution prevention. The program also facilitates preparation for professional licensure. This degree prepares students to take on a range of pressing environmental problems including approaches to mitigating soil and water contamination, solving waste disposal challenges and responding to human-induced natural disasters such as landslides and floods.


The Master of Science in Applied Geosciences (MSAG) degree is structured to give students a well-rounded grounding in applied scientific knowledge, as well as project management and leadership skills necessary to effectively put that knowledge into action in the field. To that end, the curriculum is structured with a combination of foundation courses and concentration electives, which allow students to focus on topics best suited to their interests and goals.

The MSAG requires the completion of 12 course units (CU) as follows:

Complete each of the following:
DYNM 619Organizational Project Management1
GEOL 620Applied and Environmental Geophysics1.0
GEOL 653Introduction to Hydrology1
GEOL 699Project Design1
Foundation Courses5
Select five course units of foundation courses: 1
Geochemistry Foundation Area
Aqueous Geochemistry
Fundamentals of Air Pollution
Engineering Geology Foundation Area
Engineering Geology: Rock Mechanics
Engineering Geology: Surficial Materials & Processes
Interpretation of Near-surface Geologic Structure for Engineering and Environment
Ground Water Hydrology Foundation Area
Fate and Transport of Pollutants
Environmental Groundwater Hydrology
Geocomputations Foundation Area
Modeling Geographical Objects
Modeling Geographical Space
Environmental Statistical Analysis
Geomechanics Foundation Area
Geomechanics: Solids
Geomechanics: Fluids
Professional Concentration3
Select three course units of electives in a professional concentration
Total Course Units12

Professional Concentration Courses (3 CU)

Students choose three elective courses within their area of professional concentration. These concentration courses allow students to acquire the skills and the critical perspective necessary to master an applied geosciences sub discipline, and will help prepare students to pursue the final Project Design.

Students choose from the following concentrations:

Individualized Professional Concentration Option

Occasionally a student’s interests do not fit within one of the three Master of Science in Applied Geosciences concentrations. In this case, they may develop an individualized concentration under the supervision of a faculty adviser. The proposed individualized concentration must be approved by the Program Director and the Faculty Committee.

Project Design Seminar (1 CU)

The Project Design is the culmination of the Master of Science in Applied Geosciences program, blending academic and professional experiences and serving to emphasize the skills and knowledge developed in the program. Students design a project drawing from their learning in and outside the classroom to demonstrate mastery of their concentration area.

Certifications and Licensure

Coursework in the program provides the academic depth needed for licensure as a Professional Geologist (PG) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition, students who complete the degree may shorten their “professional geological work” requirement fromfive years to four.

The program subsidizes and streamlines certification programs like OSHA’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER).

Field Opportunities

Experiences in the field, such as class trips and site visits, are critical components of the curriculum. Students will have the opportunity to participate in research projects being conducted by members of the Department of Earth & Environmental Science. These projects will provide experience working with geoscience professionals in the field, and will involve training in the use of relevant instrumentation, as well as data collection and analysis techniques.

Time Frame

Master of Science in Applied Geosciences students may enroll on either a part-time or a full-time basis. Time to graduation will vary depending on how many classes are taken each semester and whether summer classes are taken. Full-time students can complete the program in two years, taking three or four classes per semester. Part-time students typically complete their work in three years, taking one or two classes per semester. Individuals working full time are advised to take no more than two courses per term.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2021 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.