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Geology Graduate Program


The geology graduate program is offered through the School of Geology, Energy & the Environment. One of the options for students within the School is the pursuit of a traditional MS in geology. Our current strengths are in structural geology and tectonics, sedimentary geology, petroleum geology, igneous and metamorphic petrology, geomorphology, meteoritics and planetary geology, paleontology and GIS. If you are interested in finding out what our students have recently done, please click here to check for TCU geology theses information.

We offer five or more graduate courses every semester, which typically consist of five to ten students per class, however the more popular classes (many of the petroleum-related classes) may have as many as 24 students as these are often offered at the junior/senior and graduate level. The current graduate course catalog is listed here.

We expect our students to have a general interest in geology and have some knowledge of different subfields within geology that are attractive as potential research areas. Most students complete projects that are local with easily accessible field areas in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Mississippi. In the past, students have also worked in Scotland, southern Africa, Peru, the Baja Peninsula and the Sierra Nevada in California. A number of students are completing studies without a field component where they are conducting subsurface studies (structural and stratigraphic). In addition, we have students working on projects in meteoritics, sequence stratigraphy, fluvial geomorphology, physical volcanology, paleontology, and carbonate petrology.

Program Requirements: With respect to our general program requirements, we expect an overall undergraduate GPA above 3.0 and GRE score of more than 300 (Verbal & Quantitative on the new GRE scoring system) or more than 1000 according to the old scoring system. We will also evaluate the GPA of the last 60 hours taken in addition to the GPA within the student’s geology classes. We require a number of basic courses that every student must have taken before enrolling at TCU:

Geology courses

  • Introductory or physical geology
  • Historical geology
  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Sedimentology
  • Structural geology
  • Field geology (preferred) or field methods in geology.

Associated science courses:

  • Minimum one semester of calculus
  • Two semesters of physics and/or chemistry (i.e. one semester of chemistry and one semester of physics would be enough).
  • A second semester of Calculus, Physics and Chemistry is desirable.

Application deadlines: Application deadlines for the College are flexible, but apply by February 1 for maximum consideration for Fall admission and by September 1 for maximum consideration for Spring admission. We may still consider applications after these deadlines, but even qualified applicants may be turned down if we have filled the program. Only in rare cases do we consider applications for the spring semester, as funding is limited for spring applicants.
Application process: General information for all applicants: For a complete application the following documents and information are needed:

  • A completed online application. For the online graduate application, please go to the TCU Graduate Studies webpage.  Then click on Admission/Graduate Admission/To Apply/Apply Now/Create Your Account. Please read all instructions before submitting your application.
  • Three letters of recommendation (the online application will prompt you for information regarding your references.)
  • Transcripts of all colleges attended (upload unofficial copies via the online application. If you are admitted to the program a single copy of all official transcripts will be required. Students must submit English translations of transcripts.)
  • Personal Statement of Purpose (upload via the the online application. Essay – 1,000 words or less, that describes your motivation and goals for graduate study, career ambitions, and the specific ways TCU may fit those.)
  • GRE/TOEFL scores (input scores in Testing Information section in the online application, then request ETS to send official scores to TCU Graduate Studies, institutional code 6820) [Requirement for GRE is a minimum score of 300 (new scale) or 1000 (old scale); TOEFL is a minimum score of 80 IBT.]
  • Application fee of $60 (payment via online application.)

For international applicants only:

  • TOEFL is required of all international students – applicant may request a telephone interview with the department for possible waiver of the TOEFL.
  • For U.S. permanent resident: Please confirm that you are a permanent resident of the United States by emailing a scanned copy of your green card to
  • For non-permanent residents, please email the completed International Student and Scholar Form to The International Student and Scholar Form can be found here:
  • Admitted students will also be required to provide proof of financial support by filling out and returning the following form. Students on full Teaching Assistantships (see below) do not have to use this form. The Financial Statement for International Students can be found here:
  • For additional information for international students, refer to the International Student Services (ISS) web pages (

Any regular mail correspondence should be sent to the following address:

College of Science and Engineering Attn: Graduate Studies
TCU Box 298960
Fort Worth, Texas 76129

Program Details: Most graduate students plan to complete their degrees in four semesters (two years), which is feasible for full-time students. Most classes are held during the day. However, we are trying to offer at least one or two evening classes per semester. All students in the program must complete a Master’s thesis as part of their degree requirements. We have funding available (up to $3,000) for all graduate students (regardless of whether the student holds a Teaching Assistantship or not) to defray costs for thesis research. Please click here for information about geology theses completed in our program.
Graduate students must complete 30 credit hours in order to graduate. These hours include a mix of course work and independent study. More information about general graduate requirements can be found here. Based on the cost per credit hour the total tuition cost at TCU is currently $20,100 per academic year (does not include the cost-of-living expenses).

Teaching Assistantships: Tuition and fees are waived for those students who receive full financial support in the form of teaching assistantships, which is the only form of financial support that we offer. These positions are competitive, and currently seven of our graduate students receive financial support in the form of teaching assistantships. Teaching assistant positions are for a total of two years (four semesters) and include a full tuition waiver and a $16,000/year stipend. Teaching assistants generally teach three introductory lab classes in the afternoons to non-science majors and are provided with an Apple Mac Mini computer in their office cubicle with according software.

Other Financial Aid: Other financial aid opportunities exist through the university. Interested students should contact the TCU Financial Aid office for more information (

Other important links: Graduate information for the College of Science & Engineering can be found here.