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Master of Arts
Austin provides an ideal base from which to conduct research projects in all aspects of geological science. From the University's central location in Texas there is access to exposures of Phanerozoic clastic and carbonate sediments and Precambrian igneous and metamorphic basement rocks. Numerous field-intensive studies for master's and doctoral degrees are in progress at any one time, both in Texas and in other states. Field research is also currently being done in Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Italy, Chile, the North Sea, and elsewhere.
Research facilities include the Joseph C. and Elizabeth C. Walter Geology Library and Tobin International Map Collection, located in the Geology Building. A seismic data processing system and graphics devices are housed on-site, as are numerous IBM-compatible and Macintosh microcomputers; the facilities of Academic Computing and Instructional Technology Services are also available. Experimental equipment includes a 1-m x 1.5-m x 10-m flume for sediment transport studies and an experimental petrology laboratory containing hydrothermal pressure apparatus and one-atmosphere gas mixing furnaces. Analytical equipment includes a JEOL scanning electron microscope with energy dispersive spectrometer; Siemens and automated Rigaku X-ray diffractometers; a single crystal diffractometer; a JEOL 733 Superprobe (electron microprobe) with color imaging processor; a Jobin Yvon 70P inductively coupled plasma spectrometer; a USGS-type gas flow fluid inclusion stage; a Nuclide luminoscope; a state-of-the-art clean lab for preparation of samples for rubidium-strontium, uranium-lead, and samarium-neodymium isotopic analysis; an NBS-type solid-source mass spectrometer; a gas-source mass spectrometer for conventional potassium-argon dating; another gas-source mass spectrometer for hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon stable-isotope analysis; a Perkin-Elmer atomic absorption spectrophotometer; and a high-resolution computed X-ray tomographic scanner--the only instrument of its kind in an academic setting--used for nondestructive three-dimensional examination of geologic samples. More than 120,000 specimens are available in the vertebrate paleontology collections housed at the J. J. Pickle Research Campus. Additional support for research includes a well-equipped petrographic laboratory staffed by a technician and containing a Logitech thin section machine, another thin section laboratory for student use, a machine shop, an electronics shop, and a wet chemistry laboratory. The department staff includes an electronics technician, a drafting technician, an analytical chemist, a photographer, and a machinist.
Areas of active research in the Department of Geological Sciences include studies in sedimentary depositional systems; structural geology; regional tectonics; hydrogeology; seismology; paleomagnetism; seismic reflection and refraction; isotope and trace-element geochemistry; sedimentary geochemistry; igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic petrology; ore deposits and mineral resources; and vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology. Cooperative research projects are underway with the Center for Space Research, the Institute for Geophysics, and the Bureau of Economic Geology.
The preliminary education of students who intend to become candidates for a graduate degree in geological sciences usually includes credit for suitable courses in general geology, paleontology, mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, stratigraphy, optical mineralogy, field geology, physics, chemistry, biology, computer sciences, and calculus. Geophysicists are expected to have a sound foundation in both mathematics and physics.
The department offers both the Master of Science in Geological Sciences and
the Master of Arts. The Master of Science in Geological Sciences requires
twenty-four semester hours of coursework and a thesis; it is designed for those
doctoral study or seeking employment in which research and problem-solving skills
are essential. The Master of Arts degree program requires thirty hours of
and a report; it is designed for students who wish to enhance their technical
Paleontologists and biostratigraphers must include suitable preparation in the comparative morphology and genetics of living organisms. Students without the necessary foundation for advanced study and research may be required to take additional coursework. Additional requirements, policies, and procedures are described in a brochure available from the graduate adviser's office.
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Mailing address: Graduate Program, Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1101