Master's Degree in Volcanology

Those wishing to study volcanology can complete a master's in geology or a related subject and focus on volcanology topics or research. Continue reading to find out more. Schools offering Geographic Information Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Earn a Master's in Volcanology

Most colleges and universities offer volcanology study through research and specialization options available as part of master's of geology programs. Almost all master's programs in geology require a bachelor's degree with some geology credits, and take one to three years to complete. Courses commonly covered within a master's in geology or similar program are as follows:


In a volcanology course, students study how volcanoes work. Topics covered may include volcanic features, significance, recognition and mechanics of eruption. Students will likely cover current volcanoes and complete research assignments.

Tectonics and Seismology

In this course, students study the internal structure of the earth as it relates to the tectonic plates. Students will learn about heat flow, geomagnetism gravity, and how to interpret both acoustic and seismic signals from volcanoes. Some programs may separate tectonics and seismology into several course options, while other may offer them as one.


Classes in geochemistry cover many topics, depending on the specific program. Courses will likely cover processes that are responsible for chemical compositions. Students will need to apply these processes to geological problems and articulate comprehension. Other topics covered could include thermodynamics, weathering, and mineral deposits.

Hydrological Systems

In this course, students analyze groundwater flow. Within the course, students will learn theories and characteristics of groundwater flow, as well as investigate current groundwater problems and solutions. Students may use computer modeling to complete course objectives.

Environmental Change

Most programs will feature a course discussing environmental changes. This course may cover current topics including air quality, ocean chemistry, and meteorological events. Students will research and analyze historical events to better understand the effect of humans on the world.


Most master's programs for geology subject areas consist of at least one course involving fieldwork. Some programs may offer up to 9 credit hours in field work. Students should expect to gather and interpret data while in the field, as well as learning about resource development and protection.

Admittance Requirements for a Master's in Volcanology

Almost all programs will require a bachelor's degree, although some schools offer a five-year program to those with only a high school diploma or GED. Many programs require a GPA of 3.0, a professional resume, references, and a GRE score. If a student does not have a bachelor's in a geography-related area, they may be required to complete prerequisite courses before being accepted (if those classes were not met previously). Program entry requirements can differ, but many do also require a personal statement articulating a student's objectives.

What Can You Do with a Master's in Volcanology?


Geoscientists may be seismologists, geophysicists, and others who study the Earth's physical characteristics in order to learn more about it. Geoscientists often work in the field conducting studies, collecting samples, and preparing reports. Although entry-level positions may only require a bachelor's degree, most employers prefer a candidate with a master's degree.

Environmental Scientist or Specialist

Environmental scientists and specialists analyze and solve problems relating to the environment. At minimum, candidates need an undergraduate degree, but graduate degree holding candidates are typically preferred.


Hydrologists study water movement across and through the Earth's crust and look for ways to minimize harmful effects. Hydrologists collect water samples to test for levels of pollution or other properties. Some positions require a bachelor's degree, but many entry-level hydrologists already hold a master's degree to ensure they have sufficient knowledge to do their job effectively.

Mining or Geological Engineer

Geological engineers look for mineral deposits, assess potential sites, and plan extractions. A master's degree enables applicants to show their knowledge in geology, and may allow them to obtain a better position.

Natural Science Manager

Natural science managers supervise and manage scientists and team members. They are responsible for maintaining accuracy, labs, and compliance. Many managers gain their position after work experience, but they often hold a master's degree as well.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Geoscientist $91,130 6%
Environmental Scientist or Specialist $71,130 8%
Hydrologist $79,370 7%
Mining or Geological Engineer $92,250 3%
Natural Science Manager $123,860 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Those who wish to focus in volcanology can obtain a master's degree in geology, geoscience, or a similar field within two years. An MS in Geology, or an equivalent, enables a job-seeker to find employment as a geoscientist or even as a geological engineer.

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:

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