Geoscience Graduate Program

Graduate Program Mission & Objectives

Graduate Program Collage 2

Our overall objective is to create an environment in which students:

1. Gain a deeper appreciation of the interconnectedness of the biological and the physical environments of the Earth;

2. Learn to solve complex multidisciplinary problems by interacting with investigators from different fields within geosciences while developing the expertise needed to contribute to team solutions and

3. Communicate effectively both with scientific peers in diverse fields within geosciences and with the public in order to improve the level of public awareness and understanding needed to intelligently shape public policy toward a sustainable future.

Our mission is to offer transdisciplinary programs of instruction and research that advance understanding of the interaction of biological, chemical, geological, and physical processes, including feedback mechanisms, at all spatial and temporal scales. It centers around the processes that have shaped the Earth through geologic time, continue to shape the environment today, and which provide the basis for understanding the present and future impact of human activity on the planet.

Degrees Offered

The Department of Geosciences offers graduate studies in the field of geosciences, leading to the degrees of Masters of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. At the masters level there are two options available:

1. Plan A: requires 15 credits of advanced course work and completion of a research project, the results of which are reported in a thesis.
2. Plan B: requires 30 credits of advanced course work and a final examination. No research project is required

Since the program is research oriented, most Masters students are in the Plan A-program.

Academic Requirements

Students entering the program are expected to have a strong background in one of the basic sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, geology, applied math). We particularly look for talented and motivated students who are committed to graduate studies. For admittance with Regular status, you must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and have a 3.0 (B) grade point average in the last two years of your undergraduate education. Your application must include official college transcripts, three (3) letters of recommendation, and a statement of your interests and goals. Scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are also required and the subject test is recommended. Foreign students whose native language is not English must submit their TOEFL score.

Course Offerings

Please visit the graduate student catalog for the most up to date information on our graduate course offerings.

You can find the GSCI course listings in the graduate catalog here.

Life in the Department

The Department of Geosciences is located on the 1st and 2nd floors of Beach Hall on the main Storrs campus.  Our faculty and graduate students have offices and labs here, and our main office is located in Beach Hall 225.

The graduate student body usually consists of 10-25 students. Students come from around the country, as well as internationally, although approximately half are from the New England region.

UConn offers limited graduate housing on-campus, and many graduates live in apartments, houses, and condos around the Storrs area. An on campus shuttle system makes it easy to get around the Storrs area.  Storrs is a rapidly growing area with a variety of restaurants, shopping and entertainment within the immediate area.

Center faculty come to us from a variety of different programs and departments, to make the program truly interdisciplinary.  We strive to provide resources and support for our graduate student body with various events throughout the year that promote faculty/graduate student interaction and collaboration.

The majority of our students receive funding through the department, mostly in the form of graduate assistantships in which they work as teaching assistants in our undergraduate courses.

To learn about our current graduate students and their research, click here!

How To Apply

All application materials should be submitted directly to the UConn Graduate School.  Please visit their website at for all the necessary information for applying to the Geosciences graduate program.  On the Graduate School Website you will find information about applying, funding, housing and other resources for prospective graduate students at UConn.

Your application should consist of five or six parts (depending on whether TOEFL is required):

  1. The formal application form provided by the Graduate School together with the application fee
  2. All transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended
  3. TOEFL and TSE scores are also required for non-native English speakers
  4. Formal copies of GRE scores for the General test
  5. Three academic letters of reference from faculty members who best know you and your work
  6. Your personal essay (2 pages)

While most of the application is self-explanatory, you may find the following pointers helpful:

  • Transcripts and test scores: These must be formal (certified) copies.
  • Letters of recommendation: The individuals who furnish your letters of reference should provide candid evaluations of your aptitude, training, motivation, scholarly promise, teaching talent, and ability to express yourself orally and in writing. Detailed comments are much more useful to the Admissions Committee than broad generalizations.
  • Personal Essay: We require all applicants to provide a personal essay, which should be no more than two pages long. This statement should include reasons for undertaking graduate study, your short-term and long-term plans, and what specific projects or research you would like to undertake as a graduate student. For the latter you will find it useful to establish contacts with specific prospective faculty advisors in our program. Your essay should also highlight your motivation for doing graduate work, any relevant training or professional experiences you have had, and academic honors, scholarships, fellowships or other awards you have received. You may also want to discuss your academic strengths and any weaknesses you perceive. The objective is to provide as complete a picture of you as an individual as possible to the Admissions Committee, including and stressing information that goes beyond just numbers and scores. Detailed and well thought out comments are much more valuable to the Committee than generalizations.

Submitting your application:

Submission prior to January 10 is strongly encouraged for fall admission. The corresponding application deadline for spring admission is October 1 . Applications submitted after these target dates will receive full consideration for admission to graduate school, but late applicants may miss opportunities for teaching assistantships and scholarships.

Important note: All materials are to be submitted directly to the Graduate School! The Graduate School encourages online submission of your actual application, but everything that is not submitted online (e.g. letters of reference, personal essay, etc.) must be mailed to the following address:

University of Connecticut Graduate School
438 Whitney Road , Ext., Unit 1006, Storrs, CT  06269