Master's of Science in Geology

A group of students looking over a canyon

Program Information

Western Washington University offers a Masters program in Geology that aims to prepare students for professional employment in geoscience careers in the Pacific Northwest and beyond or for continuing graduate studies at the doctoral level. We specialize in structure/tectonics, petrology, volcanology, geomorphology, geophysics, hydrogeology and environmental/engineering geology, geothermal energy, sedimentology, planetary geology, and geoscience education.

This program normally leads to employment in consulting firms; in local, state, or federal government resource-based or planning agencies; and in teaching at community colleges or at a secondary level. The degree also serves as a foundation for graduate studies beyond the M.S. level, and for those interested in pursuing related careers, such as environmental law, natural resource management, or policy. The Department encourages an integrative, multi-disciplinary approach.


The M.S. program produces professional geoscientists with the ability to conduct original and meaningful scientific research. Graduates possess a broad grounding in geosciences and sophistication in their area of concentration.

Geology Graduate Student Research

Application Requirements

  • All applicants must complete the Graduate School's ApplyWeb application and pay the $100 application fee.
  • Within the application you will be prompted to upload an unofficial transcript from each institution attended. If admitted, you will be asked to provide official transcripts.
  • Additional application materials are specified below. Applications will not be forwarded to the department for review until all required materials have been received by the Graduate School.
  • International Applicants: Please review the requirements for information regarding Degree Equivalency, English Language Proficiency and student VISA requirements.

Additional Application Requirements

  • Three (3) Letters of Reference
  • Submit a written statement of purpose 1‐2 pages in length. Make sure the statement addresses the following:

    1. The geology specialization you are most interested in

    2. Experiences/personal qualities that will help you be successful in pursuing a graduate research project at WWU (Acknowledging that students apply to graduate school to learn and are not expected to be accomplished researchers upon arrival). Any research or teaching experience should be described

    3. How you see this M.S. degree as fitting into your career goals

    4. We also encourage discussion of goals related to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

      The statement should indicate preferred faculty or research associate adviser(s) within the department. Students are encouraged to review faculty research interests as described on the department website prior to contacting potential faculty advisers. Students are admitted into the program only upon agreement of a faculty adviser.

Tips for a successful application: Geology master's students at Western are accepted to work with a specific faculty member. Students are supported via research or teaching assistantships. As such, applicants are encouraged to contact prospective advisors to discuss funding and available projects.

For more general tips on applying to graduate school, view a webinar given by Dr. Jackie Caplan Auerbach: How to Apply to Graduate School