Economic Geology Master's Degree Programs

The field of economic geology is relatively new and so there are very few specific programs available. This article offers a survey of the entry requirements, core courses, and potential careers for graduate degree programs related to the field of economic geology. Schools offering Economics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Comparing Economic Geology Master's Degrees

Master of Science in Geology

In a Master of Science in Geology program, students take core classes in geoscience and data analysis. They can also choose electives to zero-in on their interest in the economic side of geology. To apply, students must have a bachelor's degree in geology (or a significant amount of undergraduate geology coursework), GRE test scores, a statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation from previous college professors. This2-3 year program focuses on geology research and culminates with students defending their research thesis before a panel of academic experts (although some programs allow students to take a comprehensive exam in lieu of a thesis).

Professional Master's Degree (PSM) in Economic Geology

The PSM in Economic Geology is designed for professional geologists who would like to build on their technical training and management skills to advance their careers in mineral industries and mining. Students study a range of mine-related topics like mine discovery, production, and closure. Unlike a regular master's degree, applicants do not need to take the GRE test or complete a thesis as part of the program. Instead, applicants generally hold a bachelor's degree in geology and/or a few years of experience working in the mining industry. Some students receive funding from their employer to complete this one year program.

Master of Arts in Natural Resource Management

Students who are interested in the management and sustainability side of economic geology should consider an MA in natural resource management. This program shares the same emphasis on global sustainability issues but has a broader scope. Students can choose to focus on mineral resources, but they may also learn about issues related to other natural resources like water, oil, and electricity. This 2-3 year program prepares graduates for careers in sustainability research, environmental policy-making, and natural resource management.

Master of Science in Applied Geoscience

Applied geoscience is an interdisciplinary program that allows students to tailor their degree to their unique research interests and career goals. Students learn how to apply scientific knowledge into real-world decision-making with a range of classes on professionalism, data analysis, and project management. Within the scientific side of the degree, students can choose to focus on geology, hydrology, soil studies, oceanography or another subdiscipline of geoscience. Graduates work for corporations that sell natural resources (oil, gas, mining, industries, etc.), government agencies (Environmental Protection Agency, state parks, etc.) and nonprofits (Nature Conservancy, environmental sustainability interest groups, etc).

Degree Program Program Length Program Requirements Related Careers
MS Geology 2-3 yearsBachelor's Degree//GRE test scoresIndustrial Geologist
Geology teacher
Professional Master's in Economic Geology1 yearBachelor's degree
Relevant work experience
Environmental Consultant
Mine manager
MA Natural Resource Management 2-3 yearsBachelor's degree
GRE test scores
Soil conservationist
Natural resource specialist
MS Applied Geosciences 2-3 yearsBachelor's degree
GRE test
Natural resources specialist
Senior geologist

Earning a Master's Degree in Economic Geology

While there is no specific undergraduate degree prerequisite, some programs expect students to have completed undergraduate coursework in geology, chemistry and/or calculus. To apply, students should send in their GRE test scores, undergraduate degree transcripts, resume, letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose essay. While degree requirements and course lengths vary across these programs, they share a few core courses:

Mineral Deposits

The starting point for experts in economic geology is an advanced understanding of mineral resources, including their genesis, classification, exploration, development and environmental concerns related to their extraction and use. Students learn the latest techniques in mineral exploration and assess their impact on the environment. Students also explore the complex issues surrounding mineral extraction by studying case studies of mining sites.

Field Geology

Geology is a hands-on field, thus it is important for graduate students to gain real-world experience in the mining industry and university-funded research. To this end, students may have opportunities to complement their academic studies with fieldwork experiences. Through these classes, students learn how to use the equipment, collect data and make good use of the academic analysis tools they studied in class.

Research Methods

Geologists are responsible for providing a link between academic research and real-world applications of geology in policy-making, conservation, and the mining industry. To this end, students practice the research methods most commonly used in the lab and in fieldwork, like relative and absolute dating, geological mapping, and numerical modeling.

Because Economic Geology is a new field, it is hard to find master's degrees dedicated to it. However, there are a number of related master degree programs that offer graduate students the chance to build skills and pursue research in this exciting new field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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