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Current Students

The MS Programs are designed to be completed in 2 years. During both years, students take classes selected in coordination with their research advisor. During the first year, students will develop a proposal for research and start research. During the second and following years, students conduct research, write their thesis and defend.

First year tasks

  • Discuss with your Committee Chair specific work to undertake for your Thesis or Project, and develop a written Proposal describing the work.  Please follow the format indicated in the description below for the text.  Environmental Sciences students are expected to follow the American Chemical Society (ACS) format standards for references, and Geology students are expected to follow the Geological Society of America Bulletin (GSAB) format standards for their references.  Any exceptions to this practice must be approved in advance by the Graduate Coordinator.

    MSEES, MSES, or MSG Thesis or Project Proposal Description.
    ACS reference guide
    GSAB reference guide

    It will be necessary to follow these formats in your thesis, so it saves time to put them in the correct format with the proposal.

  • In discussion with your Committee Chair, identify two other faculty members who agree to serve as Committee Members.  It is helpful to let the Graduate Coordinator know who the Committee Members are as soon as you have them identified.  Once your Committee Chair agrees that your Thesis or Project Proposal is ready, circulate it to your Committee Members to get their feedback, and make any further revisions necessary to get their approval. 

  • NEW PROCESS for students starting Fall 2022: In discussion with your Committee Chair and Members, develop a plan of coursework that fulfllls your degree requirements (Graduate Plan), and list those on your myCAP.   When the Proposal and Graduate Plan are ready to be approved by the Committee, the Committee Chair emails the Graduate Coordinator (with a copy to the student), and confirms the names and emails of the committee members.  The Graduate Coordinator circulates an approval form for signatures.  Once all approving signatures are collected, the Graduate Coordinator approves the Graduate Plan on the student’s PAWS, which  advances the student to Candidacy.  Being advanced to Candidacy allows the student to enroll in Research and Thesis/Project courses.

  • For students enrolled prior to Fall 2022, the old process is followed, which only differs from the one described above in that the Graduate Plan is filled out with consultation of the Committee Chair.  Please contact the Graduate Coordinator for the Graduate Plan form.  Signatures on that form indicate approval of the course plan, and of the Proposal.

  • If you choose to do an internship, identify internship possibilities, and discuss with the agency or company the specific terms of the work involved.  When you have identified an internship, have your internship supervisor fill out the Internship agreement letter.

  • Maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA for all courses taken to satisfy the requirements for the degree.

  • Be aware that full-time status consists of 8 units of 5000- or 6000- level courses, which may make a difference to any financial assistance you are getting.  Please see the details in the University Bulletin.  

  • Graduate students are required to be continuously enrolled, per state regulations.  If no coursework is available, a graduate student can register for Continuous Enrollment (zero units) to maintain continuity.

  • Satisfy the Writing Requirement for Graduate Candidacy.  This can be done by a rubric score of 4.0 or better on a required paper in CHEM/GEOL 6000, or an acceptable thesis or project proposal.

Timeline for producing a Thesis or Project

File a Graduate Check -- here is the tutorial for how to do this online:

Candidates for degrees to be awarded must request a graduation requirement check to the Office of the Registrar at least one semester prior to the end of the term of their expected graduation.  Advancement to Candidacy is required before the grad check can be requested. 

The semester before the one in which you plan to graduate

First draft of your Thesis or Project to your Committee Chair, as early in the semester as you can manage.  Allow two weeks for them to read your draft and provide feedback.  Make the changes as quickly as you thoughtfully can, and give the revised draft back for review.  Repeat this process as many times as needed to get a strong, well-written, clear draft produced.  Remember that your Committee Chair’s primary responsibility is to help you present the science of your work.  You are expected to be able to produce clear, correct, well-organized writing on your own.  Any questions you have on these issues, please discuss with your Committee Chair prior to submitting your draft.  The Graduate Writing Center is also a valuable resource, so please make use of it as needed.  It is located in COE 310, please go to the Graduate Writing Center for instructions on making an appointment and other information.

No later than the first week (preferably as early as possible) of the semester in which you plan to graduate

Once you and your Committee Chair are in agreement about your draft being in good shape, your Committee Chair sends the draft to the other members of your Committee.  Please communicate with your Committee members at least two weeks in advance to expect to get your draft.  They will then have two weeks to review your draft and provide you with feedback.  As before, make the changes as quickly as you thoughtfully can, and give the revised draft back for further review.  Repeat this process as needed to result in a finished product that all committee members are satisfied with, and are willing to sign the Committee Certification Form that needs to accompany your Thesis or Project when submitted to Graduate Studies, after the Defense is held, and all content changes have been made.

First 6 weeks of the semester in which you plan to graduate

Consultations with Graduate Studies – make up to two appointments with a thesis reviewer about formatting and citations.  These are optional, but very helpful, and speed up the process later on.

Thesis or Project Defense

Once you and your committee are getting close to agreement on needed content changes, find a time that works for all of you that is at least three weeks in advance, and contact the Coordinator to locate an available room (COVID-19 version: schedule a Zoom conference).  Notices need to be posted at least two weeks in advance, so that other interested people can attend.  The defense needs to be scheduled well before the 7th week, so you  have time to make any final content changes in time to submit to Graduate Studies for format review.  The Committee Certification Form needs to accompany your thesis/project when submitted to Graduate Studies, after the Defense is held, and all content changes have been made. The Committee's signatures on this form indicate their final approval of the content. Contact the Graduate Coordinator to initiate the Committee Certification Form.

Please also refer to Graduate Studies Deadlines for complete information.

By the end of the 7th week of the semester in which you plan to graduate

Committee Certification Form – This electronic form must be submitted with signatures along with the Thesis or Project to Graduate Studies for format review.  A faculty signature on this form indicates that the faculty member is satisfied with the content.  All committee signatures must be collected before the Program Coordinator can sign it.  Content cannot be changed once submitted. Contact the Graduate Coordinator to initiate the Committee Certification Form.

By the end of 15th week of the semester in which you plan to graduate

Publication deadline.  All format corrections must be made by this deadline.