Graduate Program

The graduate program in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department is designed to prepare students for research, industry, consulting, teaching, and numerous other career paths, including business and law. The aim is to develop habits of critical analysis and thorough documentation; skills in quantitative field, computational, and/or laboratory research; and proficiency in one or more fields of research. The fundamental requirements for admission to the program are substantial evidence of superior scholarship, dedication and determination to do quality work, and aptitude for original research. Preparation in the basic sciences equivalent to the requirements for the Earth sciences bachelor’s degree at UCSC is expected and, for non-undergraduate Earth sciences majors, achieving breadth of knowledge across the Earth and planetary sciences is expected. Excellent scholars from other disciplines, including chemistry, physics, engineering, biology, or astronomy are both eligible and encouraged to apply. Gaps in knowledge can be made up through coursework.

UCSC awards both the Master of Science (M.S.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. The M.S. degree may be the terminal degree for some seeking careers in industry, government, and teaching at the secondary level. It may also be an initial step toward the Ph.D. degree, in which the student gains knowledge and confidence in carrying out and completing a more complex scientific project.