Geological Sciences, MNS

At the School of Earth and Space Exploration, students in the geological sciences MNS degree are working with faculty and researchers in state of the art laboratories and in the field on all seven continents on Earth.    

Arizona State University is a world leader in the geological sciences. Our research interests range from volcanology, to seismology, and from geochemistry to planetary geology. We encourage our students to cross subject boundaries and pursue new understandings of our Earth and the universe beyond. 

Students in this program have access to NSF-funded labs and instruments including a Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (SIMS), an electron Microprobe, a NanoSIMS, an experimental volcanology lab, and the Experimental Petrology and Igneous Processes Center (EPIC).   

Our geological sciences MNS is especially suited for those seeking professional training rather than a research career. Students combine the creative strength of two or more areas of specialization in a tailored approach to the geoscience field. 

Graduate students in geological sciences become part of our NASA- and NSF-funded projects, studying the great unknowns of the Earth and our solar system. We are seeking to answer the most significant questions in science and setting the stage for a new era of exploration. 

50 Tenure/Tenure Track Faculty
40 Labs and Research Facilities
2-3 Years to Degree

Degree Overview

The MNS program provides students with an individualized professional graduate program in natural science with a concentration in geological sciences. This transdisciplinary degree requires 30 credit hours, including a wide-range of elective offerings, two core courses and an applied project. The ideal candidate will have an interest in transdisciplinary graduate training in the natural sciences.

How to apply

The majority of SESE’s admissions are for the fall semester. Spring admissions occur under special circumstances. Graduate admission to SESE consists of the following application dates for full consideration of funding and campus recruitment activities. Applications are encouraged before these dates. Applications received after these dates will still be considered, but generally at a lower priority for funding and visitation.

January 15 of the current year for fall admission
October 1 of the previous year for spring admission

To be eligible for admission to SESE’s graduate program applicants must:

  • have a bachelor’s degree
  • have at least a 3.0 GPA
  • demonstrate English proficiency via the TOEFL or IELTS, if necessary. More information regarding English proficiency and required scores can be found at

Most applicants will have a degree in an area related to the graduate degree they are seeking, although this is not a requirement. 

Click here to learn more about how to apply

The School of Earth and Space Exploration is committed to high-impact scientific discovery. We ask important questions with deep consequences as we explore the great unknowns of our Earth, our solar system, and the universe beyond.

- Lindy Elkins Tanton, Director


To earn the geological sciences MNS degree, students must complete 30 hours at the graduate level. Students take two core courses, 22 hours of electives, and six hours towards an applied project.

Requirements and electivesCredit Hours
Core courses2
Applied project6
Total hours required30

Courses and electives

Two core courses are required including a colloquium credit hour and a faculty research seminar credit hour. A minimum of 22 credit hours of electives are also required. Students are able to customize their elective courses and are required to submit a plan of study that details their selections after conferring with the supervisory committee. An additional six credit hours are required for an applied project. Students work with a supervisory committee to develop an applied project based on their backgrounds and goals. In some cases, undergraduate courses may be required to remove deficiencies.

SES 501 Colloquium (1 credit hour)
SES 502 Faculty Research Seminar (1 credit hour)

Students work with a supervisory committee to individualize their program based on their backgrounds and goals. Students are expected to emphasize coursework in two or more areas of specialization.

Students work with a supervisory committee to develop an applied project based on their backgrounds and goals. 

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