Geology (MS), CSU Bakersfield

Information for this profile was provided by CSU, Bakersfield. Information is also available on the program website. CSU Bakersfield is a university with graduate programs, primarily masters programs. Students in this program are pursuing a MS degree.

Program Design & Assessment


The Department of Geology offers a comprehensive graduate program leading to the Master of Science in Geology degree. A Petroleum Geology and a Hydrogeology option are available for the MS degree. The program is intended to prepare students for professional positions in the petroleum industry, the environmental and geotechnical consulting industries, government agencies, and for graduate studies at the doctoral level. A broad range of faculty research interests, the proximity of the campus to the petroleum industry, easy access to diverse geological environments, and a range of modern research facilities permit the student to select from a wide spectrum of research topics.

Strengths of this program

Graduates with degrees in Geology have excellent employment opportunities both locally and elsewhere in petroleum and minerals exploration, water resources, land use, and waste disposal management. Visit our website at

Research facilities include: (1) a Hitachi S-3400 variable pressure scanning electron microscope equipped with Oxford Inca energy dispersive x-ray spectrometer and Gatan ChromaCL live color catholuminescence imaging system; (2) a geochemistry lab with a Perkin Elmer Elan 6100 ICP-MS, a Cetac LSX-200 Laser Ablation system, a Microwave Digester, an Ion Chromatograph, and a GC/MS; (3) petrographic microscopes including luminescence and epifluorescence; (4) geophysics equipment including a paleomagnetism lab, 12-channel seismograph, magnetometer, gravimeter, and electrical resistivity meter; (5) a Rigaku X-Ray diffractometer; (6) a PC lab with software including GeoGraphix and ArcGIS for petroleum reservoir modeling and geographical information systems (GIS), and industry-provided seismic datasets; and (7) a wide range of field hydrology equipment. The California Well Core Sample Repository, containing cores and samples from more than 5,000 wells from both on- and offshore California and 1,500 catalogued micropaleontological samples, is located on campus.

Types of students served

Program Goals

The goals of this program are as follows:

At the completion of their geology degree programs students will have basic knowledge and understanding of the content of modern geology, will have acquired knowledge and demonstrated skills to collect and analyze Earth's minerals and rocks, and will understand the philosophical, mathematical and physical science foundations of geology. The ten detailed student learning objectives that support these broad goals can be found at

The learning goals were informed by the following resources:

How program goals are assessed

Design features that allow goals to be met

Alumni Careers

Graduation rate

Careers pursued by our alumni

Courses and Sequencing

Diagram of course sequencing and requirements

A minimum of 45 units of course work is required for the MS in Geology.

Entry into the program

Acceptance as a Classified Student indicates that all prerequisite course work has been completed, that a formal Plan of Study has been developed, and that the student's progress in graduate level courses warrants continuation in the program. Specific requirements for Classified Status are:

  1. Completion of 60 units in Geology; the last 40 units must be courses above the introductory level. Required courses (or their equivalents) are Mineralogy, Sedimentation and Stratigraphy, Petrology and Petrography, Structural Geology, and a summer field course in Geology.
  2. Completion of the following prerequisite courses in cognate areas: Principles of General Chemistry I & II, Basic Principles of Newtonian Physics, Basic Principles of Maxwellian Physics, Elementary Statistics or Basic Principles of Contemporary Physics, Calculus I & II, Laboratory Experience.
  3. Satisfactory completion of GRE (Advanced Test in Geology) and other examinations or course work which may be assigned by the Graduate Committee of the Department.
  4. Formal acceptance of the student's plan of Study by the Graduate Committee of the Department.
Students may also be admitted under a "Conditionally Classified Standing" in which they will be required to complete "conditions" specified by the Graduate Committee. More details can be found on the program's website.

Core courses

  • GEOL606 - Advanced Sedimentary Petrology or GEOL610 - Low Temperature Geochemistry
  • GEOL604 - Advanced Sedimentation or GEOL609 - Advanced Stratigraphy
  • GEOL585 - Research Methods and Strategies
  • GEOL690A - Master's Thesis I
  • GEOL690B - Master's Thesis II
For students choosing the Petroleum Geology option, the following are required:
  • GEOL460 - Petroleum Geology
  • GEOL570 - Oil Field Development
For students choosing the Hydrogeology concentration, the following courses are required:
  • GEOL475 - Hydrogeology
  • GEOL555 - Contaminant Hydrogeology


All students need at least 15 additional units from the following (all courses are 5 units unless noted):
  • GEOL420 - Environmental Geochemistry
  • GEOL450 - GIS for Natural Sciences
  • GEOL460 - Petroleum Geology
  • GEOL475 - Hydrogeology
  • GEOL477 - Special Topics in Geology (variable credit)
  • GEOL515 - Paleoclimate of Western North America
  • GEOL525 - Applied Hydrogeochemistry
  • GEOL555 - Contaminant Hydrogeology
  • GEOL570 - Oil Field Development
  • GEOL577 - Advanced Topics in Geology (variable credit)
  • GEOL580 - Advanced Research Participation (variable credit)
  • GEOL604 - Advanced Sedimentation
  • GEOL605 - Advanced Micropaleontology
  • GEOL606 - Advanced Sedimentary Petrology
  • GEOL607 - Advanced Structural Geology
  • GEOL609 - Advanced Stratigraphy
  • GEOL610 - Low Temperature Geochemistry
  • GEOL625 - Shallow Subsurface Exploration Methods
  • GEOL650 - Groundwater Flow Modeling
  • Appropriate graduate level classes in related fields

Other key features of this program:

Supporting Materials

CSU Bakersfield Undergraduate Geology Curricula (Acrobat (PDF) 48kB Jan11 10)