Can you picture yourself roaming the Alaskan wilderness looking for new sources of gold, copper, and other economic minerals? Are you interested in investigating and helping to solve the environmental problems associated with exploiting hydrocarbon energy resources using state-of-the-art procedures such as fracking and horizontal drilling? Would you like to help communities develop new groundwater supplies?

The emphasis of the 30-semester-hour MS program in geology is in coastal geology, environmental geology, hydrogeology, and solid Earth geology. It attracts students, in part, due to the location near North Carolina's coastal system that includes extensive barrier islands and the second largest estuarine system in the United States. However, because our civilization is based upon acquisition and wise development of natural resources such as oil, gas, and minerals, increased emphasis has recently been placed on these sub-disciplines.

Students in the program conduct research that contributes to the discovery and proper management of these resources and are encouraged to take advantage of state-of-the art laboratories, analytical equipment (X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, ICAPES), field equipment, and research vessels enabling pursuit of a wide variety of projects. The department teaches and trains students in areas of great societal and global significance, such as environmental geology, economic geology, hydrogeology, climate change, structural geology, and petroleum geology. The importance of geology to the nation's future is reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate of an 18-percent job growth for earth scientists from 2008 to 2018.

ECU Advantage

Due to the variety and balance of courses offered, students are able to undertake thesis research in their preferred area of the geological sciences, but to also take a selection of courses that enable them to obtain employment in other areas. Over the past decade, 94 percent of graduates within ECU's program have become gainfully employed as geologists. They have secured careers in environmental regulations, hydrogeologic investigation, mineral and petroleum discovery and exploitation, wetland mitigation, flood prediction, pollution abatement, and environmental site audits. Because students are involved in faculty research programs, they have the opportunity to conduct research in a wide variety of geologic and geographic settings, including overseas.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Reide Corbett (201-A Graham Building; 252-328-1367; corbettd@ecu.edu)

The department offers a master of science in geology with both a thesis and non-thesis option. In the non-thesis option, a major paper is substituted for the thesis and 3 s.h. additional course work is required. Course prerequisites listed are for ECU courses; equivalent courses from other schools will be accepted. The Department of Geological Sciences is a participating department in the East Carolina University Institute for Coastal Science and Policy and in the coastal resources management PhD program.

The degree requires a minimum of 30-33 s.h. of credit as follows.

Thesis option requirements are as follows:
    Nonthesis option requirements are as follows:
      For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

      Careers With This Degree

      Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

      • Geology/Earth Science, General
      • Geoscientists
      • Hydrologists
      • Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers
      • Scientific and Technical Services
      • Education and Training
      • Geology/Earth Science, General

      Career Opportunities

      ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

      NC Tower

      This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

      • Self-employed;
      • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
      • Work outside of North Carolina.

      US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

      This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

      Degree-specific internships

      For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.