University of Missouri

Geological Sciences Department of Geological Sciences Department of Geological Sciences

Program Quick Links

Undergraduate Program
BS - Geological Sciences
BA - Geological Sciences
Minor in Geology

Graduate Program
MS - Geological Sciences
PhD - Geological Sciences

MU Course Catalog  
MU Class Offerings


Graduate Program

Applying to Our Graduate Program

We welcome applications from students who have completed at least a 4-year undergraduate degree in the geological sciences or closely related fields. Before applying, you should review and be familiar with our graduate program of study for the MS or PhD degrees, the research strengths of our program, graduate courses we teach (courses numbered ≥7000 at this link), and our faculty members.  We strongly encourage you to contact faculty members in our department whose research interests are closest to your own.  All of our faculty members are happy to hear about your research-academic interests and to answer questions you may have about their research programs and the potential for support and research funding. This is particularly important for international applicants. Further information for potential international graduate applicants.

Application Procedures and Expectations

You can complete your application through the ApplyYourself system by clicking the following link: MU Online Graduate Application for Admission and following the instructions.

Note that by completing the on-line Graduate Application for Admission you (and we) will be able to monitor the status of their application at any point from this web-based system.

The following items can be completed or uploaded and submitted online:

  • Unofficial copies of transcripts from every college or university you have attended. If you are accepted to our graduate program, you will be required to submit official copies of transcripts.
  • Your resume can be uploaded with your online application (optional, but recommended).
  • Your Personal Statement describing your background, your specific interests in the Geological Sciences, your motivations, career goals, research interests, and an explanation of why you want to pursue graduate studies in the Geological Sciences at the University of Missouri. You should also indicate specific faculty members in our department who you have contacted about pursuing your graduate studies at MU.
  • Three recommendation letters.  Your referees can use the ApplyYourself form to submit a letter electronically through your online application, or they can complete the Letter of Reference form linked here and send the completed form directly to our department.
  • A copy of your official GRE scores.  However, note that your official GRE scores must also be submitted directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the MU Graduate Admission Office (210 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211).
  • International Applicants should submit a copy of your official TOEFL or IELTS score. Your official TOEFL or IELTS scores (sent directly from the Educational Testing service) must also be submitted directly to the Graduate Admission Office (210 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211).
  • GPA*, GRE*, TOEFL, IELTS Score Guidelines (typical minimum levels expected): 
    Cumulative GPA = 3.0 or above;
    GRE-Quantitative ≥ 50th percentile (≥ 55th for doctoral students);
    For native English speakers: GRE-Verbal ≥ 40th percentile
    * We give GRE percentile scores and GPA for your last 60 hours equal emphasis in our evaluation.  Although an overall 3.0 GPA is a minimum, high GPA/60 or high GRE scores may offset lower scores in other measures. GRE verbal scores for non-native English speakers are considered in the context of reported TOEFL or IELTS scores.
  • For international students to be considered for admission, we require TOEFL total scores = 550/80 (paper/internet) or an IELTS overall score = 6.5

You may work on various parts of your online application before submitting it. When you do submit your application, a non-refundable application-processing fee of $65.00 US for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents or $90.00 US for Non-Resident Aliens (International applicants) is required.

Submission Dates and Financial Support

We do not have a deadline for applications.  However, to be considered in our first round of admissions and financial support offers for the Fall Semester, we should receive your completed application no later than January 31st.  Most of our admissions and available financial support are completed for students beginning their studies during the Fall Semester.   We do infrequently admit and support students starting during the Spring Semester (beginning in January).  If you are interested in a January admission, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies and specific faculty members whose research interests match your own, to determine the potential for January admission.

When we have received your completed application, you will be considered for admission, based upon the timing noted above, and be informed of our decision.  If you are accepted, we also will consider you for financial support. The department currently sponsors 14 teaching assistantships, which are the principal form of financial support for graduate students.  Individual faculty members may also have Research Assistantships (RA’s) available from research grant funds for specific projects.  A nine-month teaching assistantship (TA) pays $16,771 to an incoming Masters student and $20,147 to an incoming PhD student for the 2016-2017 academic year, including funds from departmental scholarships.  These figures are also minimum for RA support levels.  Summer scholarships are available in addition.  A waiver of both out-of-state and in-state educational fees is also granted.  Students with TA or RA support are also eligible for a comprehensive health-care insurance program for graduate students, which is optional, but students with full TA or RA support qualify for a 100% subsidy of this expense.  More information about this insurance is available at – Student Medical Insurance. The present workload for teaching assistants is three introductory geology laboratories per week plus attendance at the relevant lectures, grading, and exam sessions.  All TA’s and RA’s are provided office space within the building and wired (Ethernet) internet access.  The only fees you pay when you enroll for classes are several miscellaneous fees, which total about $500 for a 9-hour (full-time enrollment) semester.  An explanation of each of these fees is available at – Student Services Fees.

The availability of financial support for Master's theses and Doctoral dissertations is an important consideration when choosing where to pursue a graduate degree.  As noted above, some of our faculty members have research assistantships with which they support their students.  Departmental scholarships to support student research are also available.  Last year, most of our graduate students who were actively working on their thesis or dissertation research received financial support from one of these sources.


We look forward to reviewing your online application submission.  After everything has been received, we will notify you that your application is complete.  If we are nearing our Fall Semester admission review date (January 31st), and we are missing parts of your application, we will let you know via e-mail.

For more general information about MU as a prospective Graduate School applicant, click on:

Information for prospective MU Graduate Applicants

Information for prospective international MU Graduate Applicants

If you have questions about our Department process, or would like to schedule a visit to our department, do not hesitate to contact us through the contact page linked to my name below.

Sincerely yours,
Paco Gomez
Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor of Geological Sciences

Department of Geological Sciences | 101 Geology Building | Columbia, MO 65211-1380
Phone: 573-882-6785 | Fax: 573-882-5458 | General inquiries:

Department of Geological Sciences | College of Arts and Science | University of Missouri
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This file last modified Tuesday, 03-Jan-2017 11:43:30 CST