Graduate Student Admissions and
Departmental Financial Support
Minimum standards for admission of graduate students to the Department of Geological Sciences are intended as guidelines for members of the Graduate Studies Committee in their assessment of applicants for admission and departmental financial support.
Departmental financial support includes Associate Instructor (AI) positions and departmental fellowships. Research Associate (RA) support may also be available from individual faculty members but is not considered here as "departmental financial support".
There are no stipulated course requirements for admission, but it is expected that applicants will possess a background of courses in allied sciences and mathematics, and preferably substantive, independent field experience in earth sciences. Research advisors may require students to take courses to supplement their baccalaureate degree if they lack appropriate depth in those areas.
A significant background of coursework (with a B average or higher) in allied sciences and mathematics would include:
- one year of university-level courses in TWO of these sciences: Chemistry, Physics, Biology
- mathematics through differential and integral calculus
- 6 credit hours of non-introductory courses (i.e., 300-level or higher)
A substantive foundation course including independent work similar to G429, Field Geology in the Rocky Mountains, a course taught at the IU Geologic Field Station in Montana. (Students can receive up to six hours of graduate credit for this IU course if field geosciences were not part of their baccalaureate degree.) Comparable field experience, if deemed equivalent to 6 credit hours, would include:
- field course(s) in geophysics, oceanography, zoology, or environmental sciences
- participation in a research project in geosciences which includes substantial independent field work
Admission and support are based on academic record, recommendation letters and a statement of research purpose. The Department's Committee for Graduate Study (CGS) reviews applications, aided by individual faculty in relevant research fields. The most important criteria are a strong academic record, prior research experience, and an expressed interest in the areas of faculty research activities.
Admission is not based on any prescribed formula or particular criteria. No single component of an academic record is paramount, nor do any aspects directly preclude consideration of admission. We evaluate the balance of applicants' records. Also, admission is not linked to study in particular research areas.
Minimum standards apply to students with degrees in Geological Sciences, as well as degrees in disciplines other than the Geological Sciences. Minimum standards apply to students applying for the M.S. or Ph.D. degree. Applicants with a Baccalaureate from a U.S. or non-U.S. Institution
- Minimum overall GPA of 3.0
- Minimum GPA of 3.0 in Geological Sciences (if applicable)
- At least one GRE score above 600
- 3 letters of recommendation from academic sources supporting admission
- Students whose native language is not English should have a minimum TOEFL score of 80 points at the time of application.
- Research-focused personal statement. This statement is particularly important for students applying for the Ph.D. degree, as it should include evidence of research fit with specific faculty in the Department of Geological Sciences.
Further Considerations for Admission
In exceptional cases, faculty may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for admission of a student who does not meet the minimum standards for admission. A student who meets our admission standards may be admitted to the graduate program in the department without guaranteed departmental financial support, and the student may apply to progress from "non-funded" to "funded" status in subsequent semesters.
Additional Information Regarding Graduate Studies in the Department
The TEPAIC Exam - Test of English Proficiency for International Associate Instructor Candidates - is administered in August (twice), January and late March of each academic year. Students whose native language is not English must pass the TEPAIC exam in the January examination in order to be considered for AI funding for the subsequent Fall semester. The examination is administered only at the Indiana University campus and can be taken only after the student is admitted into the graduate program in the Department of Geological Sciences.