Earth Sciences M.S.


Details regarding admission to graduate standing, financial aid, examinations, and the requirements for the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are available from the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department graduate studies webpage. Additional details can be found at the UC Santa Cruz Division of Graduate Studies.


Course Requirements

Plan 1 Thesis M.S. Track.

In their first year, all thesis-track graduate students register for:
EART203Introductory Teaching Seminar


EART204Earth and Planetary Sciences Foundations


EART206Great Papers in the Earth Sciences


And, in consultation with the graduate advising committee, choose at least one subject course focusing on specific Earth and planetary sciences content and one course focusing on quantitative analysis (from a list in the EPS Graduate Handbook).

In subsequent years, all students participate in:
EART293Graduate Research Seminar


Other course requirements are tailored to the individual student’s academic background, professional experience, and plans for research. Master’s degree students must take a minimum of 35 quarter units of graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses (at least 20 of which are graduate-level and not including EART 297, Independent Research) including the courses mentioned above.

Plan 2 Coursework M.S. Track.

The coursework M.S. track is a professional program designed to allow students to increase their breadth, quantitative depth, or emphasis on a particular specialty; to provide the student with a stronger background toward competition for jobs or an enhancement of skills for current employment (e.g., K–14 teaching); and to allow students from other disciplines (e.g., biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, environmental studies) to acquire advanced training in Earth and planetary sciences. Prior to the first quarter of study, students meet with their faculty adviser to develop a study plan of at least nine 5-credit courses, and a statement of objectives. Of these courses, only one can be from the EART 280-EART 290 series, and at least 20 credits must come from graduate courses numbered EART 200-EART 279. One of the nine courses can be an independent study involving a focused research project. It is expected that the course plan will comprise a minimum of 45 quarter credits at the graduate-level and quantitative, upper-division, undergraduate-level elective courses. The course plan must be approved by the graduate representative.

Pre-Qualifying Requirements

Prospective students are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test and have the scores sent electronically to the UC Santa Cruz Division of Graduate Studies.

Foreign Language Requirements

There is no foreign-language requirement other than demonstrated proficiency in English. Applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

Teaching Experience

It is recommended that all thesis-track graduate students attain some teaching experience while at UC Santa Cruz.