Master's Degree Programs in Environmental Geology

This article discusses the typical admission requirements and common courses that students seeking admission to a master's degree program in geology (with an environmental geology concentration) should know about. Schools offering Environmental Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Degree Information for Master's Degree Programs in Environmental Geology

An environmental geology master's degree will equip students to study, analyze, and understand the naturally occurring as well as anthropologically derived environmental hazards on earth. Graduate programs in environmental geology are not that common so students may need to pursue a master's degree in geology with a concentration in environmental geology. Such a program can typically be completed in two years of full-time study and might cover courses such as those mentioned below.

Soil Science

Upon completing this course, students will come away with a solid and comprehensive understanding of the different types of soils found on earth and the ways in which they affect environmental assessment processes. The physics and chemistry of soil formation, soil geomorphology, soil contaminants, and the management techniques for extant soils are some of the major topics that will be covered in class. The chemical makeup of different types of soil and the ways in which they interact with and support biological life will also be discussed and analyzed.

Environmental Hydrogeology

Students taking this course will get the opportunity to study subsurface hydrologic systems and investigate various aspects of the groundwater environment, including hydraulic connectivity, porosity, and their relationship to typical geologic materials. Darcy's law will be discussed and examined in class, as well as the continuity equation, which in turn will help students gain a better understanding of the general flow equations. Typical hydraulic testing methods used to form estimations of aquifer parameters will be analyzed and applied to help solve water resource problems. The basic mechanisms that shape the behavior of normal regional flow systems will also be studied.

Regulation and Policy

Providing students with an overview of the various environmental problems, regulations, and ecological solutions that need to be dealt with for the creation of a sustainable environment on earth is the purpose of this course. The role of environmental scientists in industries and agencies is highlighted and the practical, as well as theoretical aspects of environmental education in the realm of geology, are outlined in class. The policies formed by the government and the ways in which they are applied by businesses and companies involved in the extraction and utilization of geological resources are also studied.

Natural Resources and Natural Hazards

In this course, the key natural resources utilized by humanity as well as the physical and chemical processes by which these resources are produced by nature and society, are studied and analyzed. The natural hazards created or enhanced through the processes of resource extraction, refinement, and utilization are highlighted. The primary physical, chemical, and geological dynamics in the context of human resource utilization and the Earth System are analyzed by students taking this course, along with the resultant natural hazards such as floods, droughts, heatwaves, and disease outbreaks.

Environmental Due Diligence

The purpose of this course is to enable students to gain the knowledge and skills that they will need to facilitate the evaluation of environmental liability and contamination, which is an essential skill needed for employment in the field of environmental consulting. In the context of real-estate acquisition and project management, this course will cover topics such as landowner liability protections, environmental contamination assessment, evaluation of historical maps and aerial photography, and the identification of area-specific environmental issues. Students will also learn to prepare environmental reports for individual real-estate properties as well as industrial projects covering large swathes of land.

Laboratory Methods for Geobiology

Students taking this course will gain practical experience in visualizing, enumerating, and cultivating groundwater micro-organisms. They will also learn to study microbial community diversity, biodegradation of organic contaminants, and mineral dissolution through biomineralization with the help of molecular and geochemical laboratory techniques. Practical activities might include the collection of water samples so that micro-organisms sensitive to environmental changes in temperature and oxygen levels might be preserved and studied for years to come.


This course helps students learn how to apply the methods of geophysical exploration to evaluate, prevent, and mitigate the environmental issues and problems occurring below the surface of the earth. The discussion of environmental case histories and the development of fundamental geological principles using magnetic, seismic, gravity, electrical, radar, and electromagnetic methods is emphasized. Near-surface geophysics techniques such as environmental remediation, groundwater analysis, natural resource detection, and archeology are also studied in class.

Master's Degree Programs in Environmental Geology: Admission Requirements

Students who are interested in pursuing a master's degree in environmental geology should have completed a four-year bachelor's degree (or a foreign equivalent) from an accredited institution, in a relevant field or domain. A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 and GRE scores earned within the last five years might also be required for admission to such a program. Along with their application form (and the associated fee), applicants should also submit a statement of purpose in essay format, two or more letters of recommendation from faculty members familiar with their past academic work, and an updated CV or resume.

In conclusion, students who want to gain admission to an environmental geology master's program offered by a reputed university or institution should fulfill all or most of the above-mentioned admission requirements. In order to earn the degree, they might have to take courses such as natural resources and natural hazards, geophysics, and hydrogeology.

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.

Popular Schools

  • University of Utah

    Campus Locations:

    • Utah: Salt Lake City
  • Yale University

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: New Haven
  • Western Connecticut State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Danbury
  • West Virginia University

    Campus Locations:

    • West Virginia: Morgantown
  • Wesleyan University

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Middletown
  • Washington University in St Louis

    Campus Locations:

    • Missouri: Saint Louis
  • University of Tulsa

    Campus Locations:

    • Oklahoma: Tulsa
  • University of Toledo

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Toledo
  • University of Southern Mississippi

    Campus Locations:

    • Mississippi: Hattiesburg
  • University of Rochester

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Rochester