Master of Science in Earth Sciences Program By University of Oregon |Top Universities

Master of Science in Earth Sciences

Master of Science in Earth Sciences

  • QS World University Rankings
    651-700
  • Study Level Masters
  • Duration 24 months
The Department of Earth Sciences offers programs of graduate study leading to Master of Science (MS), Master of Arts (MA), and doctor of philosophy (PhD) degrees with opportunity for research in a wide variety of specialty fields. Course work is designed to meet individual needs, and students may pursue independent research in geobiology, geochemistry, geodesy, geomechanics, geomorphology, geophysics, mineralogy, petrology, volcanology, paleontology, stratigraphy, sedimentary petrology, structural geology, and ore deposit geology. The master’s degree program requires two years or more for completion. Graduate study in earth sciences is offered in five broad areas: volcanology-petrology-geochemistry, stratigraphy-surface processes, paleontology-paleopedology-geobiology, structural geology-geophysics, economic geology (mineral deposits). Volcanology-Petrology-Geochemistry: The department has excellent analytical and other research facilities for studies in these sub disciplines, and the volcanic and metamorphic terrane of the Northwest offers unsurpassed opportunities for field studies. Active research programs are diverse and include studies of eruption dynamics, magma volatile inventories, and magma theology; experimental studies of igneous phase equilibria and trace element partitioning; calculations of multi component equilibria in aqueous systems and volcanic gases; and studies of igneous protogenesis. Stratigraphy–Surface Processes: The stratigraphic record of tectonically active sedimentary basins indicates the dynamic interactions among basin subsidence, sediment input from eroding sources, evolution of depositional systems, and active faulting and folding that govern these processes. Research in this area combines field-based stratigraphic, sedimentologic, and geomorphic analysis with provenance studies and concepts derived from theoretical models to decipher the complex structural and climatic controls on the filling histories of active basins. Paleontology-Paleopedology-Geobiology: Studies of fossil soils, plants, and vertebrates aim to reconstruct life on land and its role in global change. Global changes of interest include Neogene paleoclimate and paleoenvironment of ape and human evolution in East Africa, environmental effects of terminal Cretaceous impact and dinosaur extinction in Montana, consequences of mass extinction and methane clathrate degassing at the Permian-Triassic boundary, and the effect of early land plants and forests on weathering and atmospheric composition during the early Paleozoic. Geobiology focuses on the interaction of microorganisms with the geologic environment and the ways life forms affect geological processes, such as weathering and mineralization. Structural Geology–Geophysics: Graduate work in the structural geology–geophysics area involves the study of the earth’s dynamic processes. Seismic imaging techniques using regional arrays provide tools for understanding regional tectonics. Studies of upper-mantle and lithosphere structure beneath the Rocky Mountains and in the Pacific Northwest seduction zone are providing essential constraints, unavailable from surface geology, for detailed dynamical models of plate-lithosphere deformation. Structural geology focuses on applying modern field and analytical techniques to solving problems in Cenozoic tectonics and active faulting. Detailed field mapping, trench logging, and geomorphic analysis are combined with seismic array data, land- and space-based geodetic data, and theoretical modeling to address problems including Oregon’s Basin and Range province and coastal deformation, active tectonics of the San Andreas Fault system, and seismic risk along the Pacific margin of the United States and southeast and central Asia.