Department of Geosciences -- Graduate Degrees

See ISU's Graduate School for current and complete ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS. -- For more information about Geosciences Graduate degrees and funding contact the graduate advisor, Professor Michael McCurry ( Applicants interested in a Teaching or Research Assistantship must have complete applications in by January 15th.

The Geoscience program at Idaho State University has approximately 35 graduate students. Most come from colleges and universities from across the country, with a few from Idaho and a few from overseas. Some students enroll immediately after completing their undergraduate degree while others worked for several years before returning to school. This variety of backgrounds increases the diversity and expertise of the department and adds an important dimension to our program.

Graduate students typically complete their MS degree in 4-5 semesters. Coursework and RA or TA duties occupy their time during the first year, while thesis research is progressively more emphasized during the second year. As time permits, students pursue the numerous outdoor recreation opportunities which abound in the Pocatello region.

After graduation, all students in recent years have obtained positions in the Geosciences, generally within 2-6 weeks of completing their degree. Many obtain employment with environmental consulting firms or government agencies responsible for environmental stewardship. A few students pursue careers with mining and petroleum companies, some find teaching positions, and about 15% of our students go on to Ph.D. programs.

Graduate Degrees Offered

For more in-depth and current information on any of the following degrees please see the most current graduate catalog.

Student Support and Costs

Graduate students typically receive partial to complete financial support from a variety of sources. We begin reviewing graduate student applications for admission and assistantships on January 15, and strongly encourage applicants to submit all materials by that time.  However, we will continue to review applications submitted after January 15 and prior to the published Graduate School deadline.

There are approximately five to seven teaching assistantships available every year while research assistant positions are available depending on current grant funding. Teaching and research assistantships include a stipend and waiver of all tuition and fees and out-of-state fee waivers. Information regarding scholarships and work-study positions may be obtained through the Financial Aid office at Idaho State University. Students have obtained part-time work with mining, soil-testing or other companies based in Pocatello and nearby cities.

Admissions Requirements and Academic Procedures

Applicants must hold the degree of Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts or the equivalent as determined by the department. The student's course of study will be determined by consultation and possibly and entrance examination. Students will normally be required to complete as deficiencies at the undergraduate level any courses required for the B.S. in geology at Idaho State University. Continued enrollment in the program is contingent upon maintaining a 3.0 grade point average and continued progress toward the fulfillment of the degree.


  1. A letter of intent and statement of goals while in Graduate School.
  2. Three letters of recommendation. (No special format other than "Business Letter")
    . . . . Your letter of intent, statement of goals, and three letters of recommendation should be mailed to:
    Department of Geosciences
    Idaho State University
    921 S. 8th Ave, STOP 8072
    Pocatello ID 83209-8072
  3. GRE aptitude scores - 50th percentile or above in two of the three categories, or strengths clearly demonstrated in other components of the application.
  4. An ISU Graduate School application form with official GRE scores, official copies of transcripts from all previous coursework, and application fee should be submitted to the graduate school:
    Graduate School
    Idaho State University
    921 S. 8th Ave, STOP 8075
    Pocatello ID 83209-8075


    It is not necessary to have additional copies sent to the department. Once your application is complete and the fee has been paid the graduate school will forward all information to the department.

  5. Applicants interested in Teaching or Research assistantships are encouraged to have all materials in by January 15th. Applications submitted after January 15 but before published Graduate School deadline will be considered.
  6. Fall semester enrollment application deadline is April 1st.
  7. Spring semester enrollment application deadline is November 1st.
  8. Summer session enrollment application deadline is April 1st.
  9. Please notify the department of an application submitted to the graduate school. Call at 1-208-282-3235 or e-mail
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