- Admission decisions will be based on:
- Alignment with and advocacy from a potential advisor. Prospective students should reach out directly to faculty with relevant research interests to ensure that the faculty member is actively recruiting students and that a relevant research project can be identified.
- Academic preparation. An applicant to the M.S. program is expected to have demonstrated competency in the following college courses: one year each of calculus and chemistry and two semesters of physics and/or biology. In addition, the applicant is expected to have an undergraduate degree or equivalent in geology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, engineering, or the biological sciences. Students lacking some background in a particular area may be admitted provided they are prepared to complete courses, without graduate credit, in which they may be deficient.
- Scholarly potential (research, technical, oral communication, and written communication skills, acquired both from academic and non-academic settings).
- Persistence, motivation, and realistic self-appraisal.
- Potential to capitalize on their unique experiences, perspectives or talents to contribute to the scholarly community at UNH.
Earth Sciences (M.S.)
Earth Sciences (M.S.)
The demand for skilled geoscientists is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. This degree prepares you to meet the public and private sector demand for knowledgeable and analytical earth science professionals with strong scientific communication skills.
Credit Hours: 30-34 | Courses: 9-10 | Program Length: 2 years
Why get a master’s degree in earth sciences with a geochemical systems specialization?
Earth scientists enable society to engage in the responsible and prudent use of Earth’s resources and to understand and facilitate the mitigation of natural disasters and climate change. The demand for skilled geoscientists in the United States and worldwide is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. This M.S. degree, allowing you to specialize in geochemical systems, will prepare you for jobs in either the public or private sector that require knowledge of the geochemistry of bedrock, sediment, water, ice and air; laboratory analytical techniques; quantitative and geospatial data analysis; and scientific communication.
Why choose UNH’s earth sciences program?
Earth sciences students at UNH gain experimental, numerical and analytical skills in rigorous classes and research projects focused on sites in New England and around the world. Cutting-edge research experiences involve instrumentation such as scanning and transmission electronic microscopes, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometers, and ion chromatography. The Department of Earth Sciences is one of the key academic centers of UNH’s renowned programs in Earth and environmental sciences, with many students working with faculty in the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS), the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM), and the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering (SMSOE).
Potential career areas
- Computer modeling
- Consulting firms
- Data analysis
- Environmental hazard assessment
- Government agencies (e.g., EPA, USGS, NOAA)
- Natural resources
- Science journalism
- Surveying and cartography
- Water resource management
- Wetland delineation
56 College Road
214 James Hall
Durham, NH 03824
P: (603) 862-1718
Frequently Asked Questions
Many of our students receive funding from Teaching Assistantship (TA) or Research Assistantship (RA) positions. Contact potential advisors to discuss sponsorship.
For fall admission, apply by January 15 if seeking funding, and by April 1 for regular admission. For spring admission, apply by December 1. Admission decisions will be made a few weeks after those dates. Admission decisions do not guarantee funding; if funding is offered, a separate offer letter will be sent.
In person program. Most students are full-time students, although different arrangements may be possible depending on the selected research project. Contact potential advisors to discuss alternative arrangements.
Applicants are highly encouraged to reach out directly to faculty with relevant research interests to identify a relevant research project.
Curriculum & Requirements
The department of Earth Sciences offers a Master of Science degree with a specialization in Geochemical Systems. This program is intended for students with interests in all aspects of geochemistry: bedrock, sediment, water, ice, and air with particular emphasis on interpreting and modeling the interaction of these media (e.g., biogeochemistry, air quality, and climate change).
|Core Curriculum 1 Course||4|
|Elective I Course||3-4|
|ESCI 997||Seminar in Earth Sciences||1|
|Core Curriculum 2 Course||4|
|Elective 2 Course||3-4|
|ESCI 998||Proposal Development||1|
|Core Curriculum 3 Course||3-4|
|ESCI 899||Master's Thesis ( or Elective for Directed Research Option)||3-4|
|Elective 3 Course||3-4|
or ESCI 898
or Directed Research
An applicant to the M.S. program is expected to have demonstrated competency in the following college courses: one year each of calculus and chemistry and two semesters of physics and/or biology. In addition, the applicant is expected to have an undergraduate degree or equivalent in geology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, engineering, or the biological sciences. Students lacking some background in a particular area may be admitted provided they are prepared to complete courses, without graduate credit, in which they may be deficient. The program of study a student wishes to follow and the student's undergraduate major determine the level of preparation necessary. The preparation of each student is determined before the beginning of the first semester in residence in order to plan the course of study. Each entering student is assigned an academic adviser to assist in planning a program of study.
Students in the thesis option must satisfactorily complete at least 30 graduate credits, which include the credits accumulated in the core curriculum. Students in this option must complete a master's thesis (6 credits) and give an oral presentation of the results.
Students in the non-thesis option must satisfactorily complete at least 34 graduate credits, which includes the core curriculum, a 2-credit directed research project (ESCI 898 Directed Research), and a written and oral presentation of that research.
Geochemical Systems Specialization
The core curriculum for the specialization in geochemical systems normally includes:
|ESCI 997||Seminar in Earth Sciences (first year)||1|
|ESCI 998||Proposal Development (first year)||1|
|Select three of the following courses:||9-12|
or NR 844
|Select Master's Thesis or Directed Research:|
|Master's Thesis ( 6 credits)|
|Directed Research (2 credits)|
Students graduating with a MS in Earth Sciences (Geochemical Systems specialization) should achieve the following learning outcomes:
- Demonstrate a foundation of knowledge in Geochemical Systems that results in expertise and an understanding of the chemistry and chemical interactions of the Earth’s mantle, crust, or on the surface of the Earth in terrestrial, aquatic, or atmospheric environments at a range of timescales focused on, for example, biogeochemical processes that govern the distribution and cycling of elements and nutrients, processes that add and remove elements in various environments, or the chemical transformations and exchanges between the atmosphere, oceans, and solid Earth.
- Demonstrate specialized knowledge of a field within geochemical processes and elemental cycles on Earth sufficient to conduct substantive supervised research.
- Demonstrate basic knowledge of how the processes within this field interact with other related disciplines.
Research Methods and Analysis
- Identify and demonstrate knowledge of a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies typically used in geochemistry research.
- Discover and critically read published research in the Earth sciences and related fields of mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry, and biology.
- Frame empirical research and/or theory guided by prior knowledge.
- Implement a rigorous study using appropriate methods, measures and techniques.
- Critically evaluate and systematically analyze data to reach appropriate findings and interpretations
- Structure a coherent argument that rigorously presents and evaluates evidence to support claims.
- Review and cogently synthesize relevant literature.
- Write at a level and in a style of English consistent with that found in leading academic journals.
- Understand and properly use styles of citing, referencing, and formatting found in leading academic journals.
- Clearly convey research findings through oral presentation supported by appropriate digital media.
- Cogently summarize research and its significance to non-specialist audiences.
Professionalism and Pedagogy
- Prepare manuscripts that meet the standards of academic and research journals and respond appropriately to recommendations for revision.
- Demonstrate collaboration, leadership and teamwork.
- Create a welcoming environment that is supportive, inclusive and equitable.
- Make effective contributions to university, community and professional service.
- Communicate effectively to groups in a lecture format.
Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:
- Fall: Jan. 15 (for funding); April 1 (final)
- Spring: Dec. 1
- Summer: N/A
- Special: N/A
Application fee: $65
New England Regional: No
Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)
New Hampshire Residents
Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.
If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC.
If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.
If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:
- Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to email@example.com. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
- Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.
Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.
Letters of recommendation: 3 required
Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.
Personal Statement/Essay Questions
Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:
- Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
- Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.
All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.
Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.
Explore Program Details
Julie BrycePROFESSOREarth Sciences Undergraduate Coordinator
Rosemarie CameASSOCIATE PROFESSOREarth Sciences Graduate Coordinator
Jack DibbRESEARCH ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Stephen FrolkingRESEARCH PROFESSOR