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Geochemistry


Degrees Offered

  • Professional Masters in Environmental Geochemistry
  • Master of Science (Geochemistry)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry)

Program Description

The Graduate Program in Geochemistry is an interdisciplinary program with the mission to educate students whose interests lie at the intersection of the geological and chemical sciences. The Geochemistry Program consists of two subprograms, administering two M.S. and Ph.D. degree tracks and one Professional Master's (non-thesis) degree program. The Geochemistry (GC) degree track pertains to the history and evolution of the Earth and its features, including but not limited to the chemical evolution of the crust and mantle, geochemistry of energy and mineral resources, aqueous geochemistry and fluid-rock/fluid-mineral interactions and chemical mineralogy. The Environmental Biogeochemistry (EBGC) degree track pertains to the coupled chemical and biological processes of Earth's biosphere, and the changes in these processes caused by human activities.

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy

1.  Geochemistry degree track

Prerequisites

Each entering student will have an entrance interview with members of the Geochemistry subprogram faculty. Since entering students may not be proficient in both areas, a placement examination in geology and/or chemistry may be required upon the discretion of the interviewing faculty. If a placement examination is given, the results may be used to establish deficiency requirements. Credit toward a graduate degree will not be granted for courses taken to fulfill deficiencies.

Requirements

The Master of Science (Geochemistry degree track) requires a minimum of 36 semester hours including:

Course work24.0
Research credits12.0
Total Hours36.0

To ensure breadth of background, the course of study for the Master of Science (Geochemistry degree track) must include:

CHGC503INTRODUCTION TO GEOCHEMISTRY4.0
CHGC504METHODS IN GEOCHEMISTRY2.0
Master of Science (Geochemistry) students select two of the following:3-4
ADV PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY I
INTRODUCTION TO AQUEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY
MINERALOGY AND CRYSTAL CHEMISTRY
GEOCHEMISTRY THERMODYNAMICS AND KINETICS
NUCLEAR AND ISOTOPIC GEOCHEMISTRY

In addition, all students must complete a 1-2 hour laboratory course selected from several available. Master of Science (Geochemistry degree track) students must also complete an appropriate thesis, based upon original research they have conducted. A thesis proposal and course of study must be approved by the student's thesis committee before the student begins substantial work on the thesis research.

The requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry degree track) program will be established individually by a student's thesis committee, but must meet the minimum requirements presented below. The Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry degree track) program will require a minimum of 72 credit hours. At least 24 hours must be research credit and at least 18 hours must be course work. Up to 24 hours of course credit may be transferred from previous graduate-level work upon approval of the thesis committee. Research credits may not be transferred. Students who enter the Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry degree track) program with a thesis-based Master of Science degree from another institution may transfer up to 36 semester hours, upon approval of the thesis committee, in recognition of the course work and research completed for that degree.

Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry degree track) students must take:

CHGC503INTRODUCTION TO GEOCHEMISTRY4.0
CHGC504METHODS IN GEOCHEMISTRY2.0
CHGC514GEOCHEMISTRY THERMODYNAMICS AND KINETICS3.0
Laboratory course1.0
Select two of the following:3-4
ADV PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY I
INTRODUCTION TO AQUEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY
MINERALOGY AND CRYSTAL CHEMISTRY
NUCLEAR AND ISOTOPIC GEOCHEMISTRY

Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry degree track) students must also complete an appropriate thesis, based upon original research they have conducted. A thesis proposal and course of study must be approved by the student's thesis committee before the student begins substantial work on the thesis research.

Master of Science (Geochemistry degree track) and Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry degree track) students resident in the Department of Chemistry and Geochemistry or the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering shall adhere to the seminar rules and requirements of the department of residence.

2. Environmental Biogeochemistry (EBGC) degree track

Prerequisites

A candidate for an M.S. or Ph.D. in the EBGC degree track should have an undergraduate science or engineering degree with coursework including multivariable calculus, two semesters each of physics and chemistry, and one semester each of biology and earth science.  Applicants who do not fulfill these requirements may still be admitted, but will need to undergo an entrance interview to establish deficiency requirements.  Credit toward a graduate degree will not be given for undergraduate courses taken to fulfill deficiencies. 

Requirements

Required Curriculum:  A thesis proposal and thesis are required for all M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the EBGC degree track.  M.S. thesis advisors (or at least one co-advisor) must be members of the EBGC subprogram.  Ph.D. thesis committees must have a total of at least four members.  Ph.D. advisors (or at least one of two co-advisors) and one additional committee member must be members of the EBGC subprogram. M.S. students will be expected to give one public seminar on their research; Ph.D. students are required to give at least one in addition to their thesis defense presentation.

In addition, both M.S. and Ph.D. students in the EBGC degree track must complete the following coursework:

1. Two required classes:
CHGC503INTRODUCTION TO GEOCHEMISTRY4.0
CHGC504METHODS IN GEOCHEMISTRY2.0
2. One chemistry-focused class, chosen from the following list:
CEEN550PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY3.0
CHGC509INTRODUCTION TO AQUEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY3.0
CEEN551ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIC CHEMISTRY3.0
3. One biology-focused class chosen from the following list:
CEEN560MOLECULAR MICROBIAL ECOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT3.0
CEEN562APPLIED GEOMICROBIOLOGY3.0
CHGC562MICROBIOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT3.0
4. One earth science-focused class chosen from the following list
CHGC514GEOCHEMISTRY THERMODYNAMICS AND KINETICS3.0
(New class) Geochemical Modeling
(New class) Earth Surface Geochemistry
5. One class focusing on analytical methods in environmental/biogeochemistry chosen from several available, including:
CHGC506WATER ANALYSIS LABORATORY2.0
GEGN530CLAY CHARACTERIZATION1.0

 

Total credits required for M.S.:  36

Total credits required for Ph.D.: 72 (at least 18 of coursework)

The student’s thesis committee may specify additional course requirements and makes final decisions regarding transfer credits.

 

Comprehensive Examination

Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) students in both degree tracks must take a comprehensive examination. It is expected that this exam will be completed within three years of matriculation or after the bulk of course work is finished, whichever occurs earlier. This examination will be administered by the student's thesis committee and will consist of an oral and a written examination, administered in a format to be determined by the thesis committee. Two negative votes in the thesis committee constitute failure of the examination.

In case of failure of the comprehensive examination, a re-examination may be given upon the recommendation of the thesis committee and approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Only one re-examination may be given.

Tuition

The Master of Science (Geochemistry) and Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) programs have been admitted to the Western Regional Graduate Program. This entity recognizes the Geochemistry Program as unique in the region. Designation of the Geochemistry Program by Western Regional Graduate program allows residents of western states to enroll in the program at Colorado resident tuition rates. Eligible states include Alaska, Arizona, California ,Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Professional Masters in Environmental Geochemistry

Introduction

The Professional Masters in Environmental Geochemistry program is intended to provide:

  1. an opportunity for CSM undergraduates to obtain, as part of a fifth year of study, a Master in addition to the Bachelor degree; and
  2. additional education for working professionals in the area of geochemistry as it applies to problems relating to the environment.

This is a non-thesis Master degree program administered by the Environmental Biogeochemistry subprogram of the Geochemistry program, and may be completed as part of a combined degree program by individuals already matriculated as undergraduate students at CSM, or by individuals already holding undergraduate or advanced degrees and who are interested in a graduate program that does not have the traditional research requirement. The program consists primarily of coursework in geochemistry and allied fields with an emphasis on environmental applications. No research is required though the program does allow for independent study, professional development, internship, and cooperative experience.

Application

Undergraduate students at CSM must declare an interest during their third year to allow for planning of coursework that will apply towards the program. These students must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0. Students majoring in other departments besides the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering and the Department of Chemistry and Geochemistry may want to decide on the combined degree program option earlier to be sure prerequisites are satisfied. Applicants other than CSM undergraduates who are applying for this non-thesis Master degree program must follow the same procedures that all prospective graduate students follow. However, the requirement of the general GRE may be waived.

Prerequisites

Each entering student will have an entrance interview with members of the Geochemistry faculty. Each department recognizes that entering students may not be proficient in both areas. A placement examination in geology and/or chemistry may be required upon the discretion of the interviewing faculty. If a placement examination is given, the results may be used to establish deficiency requirements. Credit toward a graduate degree will not be granted for courses taken to fulfill deficiencies.

Requirements

A minimum of 30 credit hours are required, with an overall GPA of at least 3.0. The overall course requirements will depend on the background of the individual, but may be tailored to professional objectives.

A 10 credit-hour core program consists of:

GEGN466GROUNDWATER ENGINEERING *3.0
CHGC503INTRODUCTION TO GEOCHEMISTRY4.0
CHGC509INTRODUCTION TO AQUEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY3.0
Total Hours10.0

In addition, 14 credit hours must be selected from the list below, representing the following core areas: geochemical methods, geographic information system, geological data analysis, groundwater engineering or modeling, hydrothermal geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, physical chemistry, microbiology, mineralogy, organic geochemistry, and thermodynamics. This selection of courses must include at least one laboratory course.

CEEN560MOLECULAR MICROBIAL ECOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT3.0
CHGC504METHODS IN GEOCHEMISTRY2.0
CHGC506WATER ANALYSIS LABORATORY2.0
CHGC527ORGANIC GEOCHEMISTRY OF FOSSIL FUELS AND ORE DEPOSITS3.0
CHGC555ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIC CHEMISTRY3.0
CHGC562MICROBIOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT3.0
CHGC563ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY2.0
CHGC564BIOGEOCHEMISTRY AND GEOMICROBIOLOGY3.0
CHGC610NUCLEAR AND ISOTOPIC GEOCHEMISTRY3.0
CHGN503ADV PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY I4.0
GEGN532GEOLOGICAL DATA ANALYSIS3.0
GEGN575APPLICATIONS OF GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS3.0
GEGN581ANALYTICAL HYDROLOGY3.0
GEGN583MATHEMATICAL MODELING OF GROUNDWATER SYSTEMS3.0
GEGN683ADVANCED GROUND WATER MODELING3.0
GEOL512MINERALOGY AND CRYSTAL CHEMISTRY3.0
GEOL530CLAY CHARACTERIZATION1.0
GEOL550INTEGRATED BASIN MODELING3.0

Laboratory courses:

CHGC506WATER ANALYSIS LABORATORY1-2
or GEOL530 CLAY CHARACTERIZATION

An additional 6 credit-hours of free electives may be selected to complete the 30 credit-hour requirement. Free electives may be selected from the course offerings of the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, the Department of Chemistry and Geochemistry, or the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and may also be independent study credits taken to fulfill a research cooperative, or other professional development experience. A course program will be designed in advanced through consultation between the student and an advisor from the Geochemistry Committee of the Whole.

CHGC503INTRODUCTION TO GEOCHEMISTRY4.0
CHGC504METHODS IN GEOCHEMISTRY2.0
CHGC505INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY3.0
CHGC506WATER ANALYSIS LABORATORY2.0
CHGC509INTRODUCTION TO AQUEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY3.0
CHGC511GEOCHEMISTRY OF IGNEOUS ROCKS3.0
CHGC514GEOCHEMISTRY THERMODYNAMICS AND KINETICS3.0
CHGC527ORGANIC GEOCHEMISTRY OF FOSSIL FUELS AND ORE DEPOSITS3.0
CHGC555ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIC CHEMISTRY3.0
CHGC562MICROBIOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT3.0
CHGC563ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY2.0
CHGC564BIOGEOCHEMISTRY AND GEOMICROBIOLOGY3.0
CHGC598SPECIAL TOPICS1-6
CHGC610NUCLEAR AND ISOTOPIC GEOCHEMISTRY3.0
CHGC698SPECIAL TOPICS1-6

 

Professors

Wendy J. Harrison, Geology and Geological Engineering

Murray W. Hitzman, Charles F. Fogarty Professor of Economic Geology

John McCray, Civil and Environmental Engineering

James F. Ranville, Chemistry and Geochemistrty

Richard F. Wendlandt, Geology and Geological Engineering

Associate Professors

Linda A. Figueroa, Civil and Environmental Engineering

John D. Humphrey , Geology and Geological Engineering

John R. Spear, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Bettina M. Voelker, Chemistry and Geochemistry

Assistant Professors

Christopher P. Higgins, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Nigel M. Kelly, Geology and Geological Engineering

Thomas Monecke, Geology and Geological Engineering

Alexis Navarre-Sitchler, Geology and Geological Engineering

Jonathan O. Sharp, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Professors Emeriti

John B. Curtis, Geology and Geological Engineering

Donald L. Macalady , Chemistry and Geochemistry

Patrick MacCarthy, Chemistry and Geochemistry

Samuel B. Romberger, Geology and Geological Engineering

Thomas R. Wildeman, Chemistry and Geochemistry

Associate Professors Emeriti

L. Graham Closs, Geology and Geological Engineering

E. Craig Simmons, Chemistry and Geochemistry