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M.A. Earth Sciences

The M.A. in Earth Sciences program is a flexible, research-based program with thesis and non-thesis options. Situated near the intersection of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and eastern plains, UNC provides you with extradordinary opportunities to conduct field research. 

You can gain high-level skills and expertise across multiple disciplines. You will work with outstanding faculty who can help you custome your master's program to build on your strength and meet your objectives. Our faculty members, and potential research advisors, have a broad range of research expertise and experience. 

With our board selection of graduate courses, diverse faculty and a variety of research specializations, we can offer you flexibility to find the perfect niche in the earth sciences. 

Research Projects

Depending on your chosen research project you can learn:

  • How to operate and collect data in the field
  • How to operate a drone, a total station, and other GIS tools and techniques
  • Lab analysis of rock and paleontological specimens including X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, mineral separation, and thin section preparation
  • Python, R, or Linux-based programing
  • Mineral analyses using an electron microprobe (off-campus) and isotopic analysis using LA-ICP-MS (also off-campus)
  • Scientific writing, manuscript preparation, and professional presentation skills

Program Snapshot

Credits required: 
30 credits 

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Current and Recent Research 

  • Developing Metrics and Protocols for Evaluating Restoration Success for the Little Thompson River, Haylie Brown, Advisor: Sharon Bywater-Reyes
  • Tectonic Setting and Timing of Deformation in the Big Thompson Canyon, Northern Colorado Front Range, Simone Müller, 2019, Advisor: Graham Baird
  • Alternative Conceptions, Initial Knowledge, and Self-Efficacy of the Novice Geologist Concerning Mineral Identification, Amanda Manzanares, 2019, Advisor: Steven Anderson
  • Investigating the relationship between emplacement history and lava surface roughness: Hawaii, California, and Mars, Davitia James, 2019 Advisor: Steven Anderson