In the graduate program at Berkeley's Department of Earth and Planetary Science, we seek to support our students' ideas and ambitions, to encourage and develop their potential, and to challenge their assumptions. The central objective of our graduate program is to encourage creative thinking and develop the capacity for independent and original research in Earth and Planetary Science. Graduate students are formally accepted into the Earth and Planetary Science program with a guarantee of full tuition and stipend support throughout their graduate studies, and they work directly toward a Ph.D. Thus, a master's degree is not a prerequisite for the Ph.D. program although those who have graduate experience at the master's level are encouraged to apply.
EPS Graduate Programs
The department offers a Ph.D. degree in Earth and Planetary Science. The central objective of the graduate program is to encourage creative thinking and develop the capacity for independent and original research. The program emphasizes the quantitative application of mathematics, physics, and chemistry to geological problems. Students will find the program an excellent opportunity to develop skills in theoretical and experimental analysis, and to blend these skills with careful with field and laboratory research. During their graduate careers, students are encouraged to participate in research with several faculty members, or colleagues outside the Department.
Prospective students are expected to have a broad background in the general sciences in addition to their interest in Earth and Planetary Science. Our graduate students have a range of academic backgrounds with some having undergraduate degrees in Earth Science and others with training in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or astronomy.
Graduate students are formally accepted into the Earth and Planetary Science program, and they normally work directly toward a Ph.D. In the first year, the student takes courses and conducts independent research under the guidance of the faculty in order to define specific topics for further study. During the second year, all students intending to work towards a Ph.D. degree must prepare and defend two research propositions at the oral qualifying examination conducted by a committee of four faculty members, including one examiner from another department. The potential for completing research of superior quality must be demonstrated at this time, and at least one of the student's current research projects would normally be presented during the examination. Also, a broad level of competence in the geological and related sciences would be expected. They should also become active professionals, presenting papers at meetings, giving seminars and publishing articles in professional journals. Completion of the Ph.D. is expected by the end of the fifth year.
Fifth Year Master's Degree - restricted to UCB EPS undergraduates only.
The Master of Arts degree requires 24 semester units of upper division and graduate courses with at least 12 units of graduate coursework, followed by a comprehensive oral examination. The M.A. program is open only to students who have completed their undergraduate degree in our department. Applicants must fill out this program planning form and upload it to their application.
Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must pass the oral qualifying examination by the end of the second year and complete a thesis to the satisfaction of the appointed thesis committee. Students must have two research propositions to present at the qualifying examination, each developed under the supervision of a different professor on substantially different topics.
UC Berkeley Graduate Division - Information for Prospective Students