Steps toward completion of the M.S. in Geology program
- Requirements for Graduation
- Important Dates
- Recommended Schedule for M.S. Students Funded by the Department
- Frequently Asked Questions
Information on this page is summarized from the "Department of Geology M.S. Program Requirements" (printed copies may be obtained from the Graduate Coordinator). In addition, at least one chapter of your thesis/dissertation, in final form, should be examined by the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences for conformity to the rules before you complete and photocopy all the chapters. This will assure in advance the acceptance of your document.
Requirements for Graduation (See University Catalog for details) (revised Jan 15, 2013)
Minimum Graduate GPA that must be maintained
Graduate students are expected to maintain a 3.0 average GPA in all work attempted at Kent State. A student who fails to maintain a 3.0 average is subject to dismissal. In addition, in order to qualify for graduation, a 3.0 average must be maintained for all graduate coursework. Grades below C (2.0) are not counted toward completion of requirements for any advanced degree, but are counted in evaluating a student's grade point average. Only graduate course credits count toward a graduate degree. A graduate student who receives a combination of more than 8 credit hours of B- (2.7) or lower grades, or more than 4 credit hours of grades lower than C (2.0) is subject to dismissal.
Preparation for Study
Students enrolled in the graduate program are expected to have completed undergraduate or graduate course work in mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, stratigraphy, and a five-week or longer, geological field camp prior to the completion of their degree. These courses may be completed by applicants prior to entering the graduate program or while enrolled at KSU. If completed at the graduate level, these courses may count toward the graduate program of study.
Minimum number of Graduate Credit Hours needed
Number of Thesis I hours needed (GEOL 60199)
GEOL 60199 (Thesis I) hours are taken after successful completion of the thesis proposal and usually in the second year of study. In the event that graduation is delayed until some later term, the student must enroll for GEOL 60299 (Thesis II) continually, including summers, until graduation.
Minimum number of credit hours beyond the 6 required Thesis I Hours
Minimum number of credit hours of Formal Coursework needed
e.g., Six courses of 3 credits each, plus research orientation and college teaching (1 credit each)
Minimum number of 60,000 or higher level credit hours of Formal course work needed
This requirement is satisfied by taking any combination of 60,000-level or greater formal courses including research orientation; but excluding research and thesis hours. Note, also that you may take 50,000 level coursework in allied disciplines, including Biological Sciences, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, or Math & Computer Sciences, or in Civil Engineering (at U. Akron) by petitioning the Graduate Studies Committee. If successfully petitioned, these courses will apply toward the 13 hours required at the 60,000 or greater level.
Successful Thesis Proposal Defense
All Masters students are required to successfully complete an oral thesis proposal defense evaluated by their proposed thesis advisor and committee. The primary goal of the meeting is to refine the student's thinking and approach to the research and the method of carrying it out, and to facilitate input on these same matters from the Thesis Committee members. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Thesis Committee votes regarding approval or disapproval of the proposal. For full-time Master's students, the entire procedure should be completed prior to the end of the second semester of study. For part time Master's students, the procedure must be completed prior to the end of the semester in which the student completes 16 hours of credit toward the degree. Follow the College of Arts & Sciences Style Guide when writing the thesis.
File signed MS Proposed Program of Study Form with the Graduate Coordinator
Progress During the "Thesis Stage"
Each committee member must approve the final written thesis and oral thesis defense date. To ensure progress toward this goal, non-funded students are encouraged and all departmental and grant-funded M.S. students are required to hold an annual committee meeting (typically in late spring) with a majority of their committee including the advisor in attendance to review their progress and methodologies, and discuss strategies to address problems that may have arisen. The student must provide documentation of their annual progress through an annual report, power-point presentation, or research poster that will be included in their file.
File the Thesis Proposal Processing Form with Graduate Coordinator, and the Notification of Approved Thesis Topic with the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences and the Graduate Coordinator.
Public Oral Thesis Defense
With the approval of the advisor, the student must present the draft copy of the thesis to the committee members, providing at least 10 working days for the thesis to be read and evaluated. The thesis committee must meet to determine if the thesis is defensible in its current form or requires revisions. Once a defensible copy is provided to the committee, a date is set for the public oral thesis defense. The oral defense is open to the Kent State community and publicly announced at least 10 working days in advance of the event. All Masters students are required to successfully pass an oral thesis defense, which serves as a graded final examination (Pass/Fail). The grade given at the completion of the defense is final and cannot be changed without recourse to the academic appeals process (i.e., there are no second opportunities to defend the thesis). In extraordinary cases, if the committee determines that the student is running into difficulty during the exam, the committee can vote to suspend the defense. This suspension will involve a significant time lapse during which appropriate revisions must be made. At a later date, the defense can be continued. Presentation of their student research at a scientific meeting is recommended, but not required for graduation. Additional procedural details can be found in the Masters Thesis Defense Guidelines.
The Report of Thesis Final Examination must be completed directly after the Thesis Defense. File the completed Report of Thesis Final Examination and Application for Graduation forms in College of A&S, Office of Graduate Affairs, with a copy to the Graduate Coordinator, upon completion of this requirement. Complete the Department of Geology Graduate Student Check-Out Form and file with the Graduate Coordinator. The online Application for Graduation (first time only) is available in your FlashLine account, Student Tools, Graduation Planning Tools, "Application for Graduation".
There are several deadlines (including those for applying for graduation, completing the thesis/dissertation defense, and presentation of thesis/dissertation to the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences) that must be met in order to graduate in a timely fashion. If the student applies for graduation in one term and is delayed in finishing the work, it is necessary to file a re-application in the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences during the term in which graduation is anticipated. The re-application must be in the Office of Graduate Affairs by the deadline for application for graduation. Although reminders from the Graduate Coordinator and the Office of Graduate Affairs will be sent out, the Graduate Catalogue clearly stipulates that it is the responsibility of the student to meet the deadlines. Master's degree students will normally complete work within six calendar years after the students' first graduate registration at Kent State University.
Students must be continuously enrolled, including one summer term each year, prior to the completion of their degree. Please consult the Graduate Catalog for your enrollment term or the Department office for more information.
Departmental Scholarship Applications
Due by March 15
Application to Graduate
Due by 4:00 pm Friday of the first week of classes for the semester in which you wish to graduate
Thesis Defense Deadline
Typically about 5 weeks before commencement (look for the posted deadlines each semester)
Thesis Submission Deadline
Typically about 3 weeks before commencement (look for the posted deadlines each semester)
Recommended Schedule for M.S. Students Funded by the Department
Course work underway.
Select advisor and thesis topic.
Discuss selection of thesis committee with advisor.
Meet with advisor and committee to develop and submit the MS Proposed Program of Study Form
Committee meeting and proposal submitted by mid-semester break.
Thesis Proposal Processing Form completed and submitted to Graduate Coordinator.
Notification of Approved Thesis Topic form completed and submitted to the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences with a copy to the Graduate Coordinator.
Coursework and research continues.
Begin writing thesis following the Style Guide and Libraries and Media Services Guidelines for electronic preparation of your thesis or dissertation.
Hold a committee meeting.
Finish writing thesis. Defend thesis following the Masters Thesis Defense Guidelines.
Report of Thesis Final Examination form completed and submitted to the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences with a copy to the Graduate Coordinator.
Submit an Application for Graduation form.
Complete the Department of Geology Graduate Student Check-Out Form.
Graduate in August or December.
- MS Proposed Program of Study Form (Department form)
- Thesis Proposal Processing Form (Department form)
- Notification of Approved Thesis Topic (Graduate Studies form)
- Style Guide (College of Arts & Sciences forms)
- Masters Thesis Defense Guidelines (Graduate Studies form)
- Report of Thesis Final Examination (Graduate Studies form)
- Application for Graduation (first time only) Go to your FlashLine account, Student Tools, Graduation Planning Tools, Application for Graduation. If you encounter an error in FlashLine when trying to apply, use this form instead: Application for Graduation (College of Arts & Sciences form)
- Graduate Student Check-Out Form (Department form)
- Libraries and Media Services Guidelines for electronic preparation of your thesis or dissertation
Frequently Asked Questions
What options do I have when selecting formal coursework to fit my course of study?
The department requires 20 hours of formal coursework, of which 2 hours come from orientation and college teaching. That means you need 6 courses (assuming 3 credits each). Keep in mind that in addition to the formal courses offered in the department you have the following options available to help you develop the skills you need:
- You can take courses at the University of Akron, Cleveland State University, and Youngstown State Univeristy through the Memorandum of Understanding, without transfer. This widens your choice of coursework substantially. Fill out and submit this form well before you need to register for the desired course. Discuss this with the Graduate Coordinator and/or your Advisor.
- You can cross-train in coursework in allied fields. You may want to check out the GIS or Remote Sensing courses in Geography; the Wetlands, Limnology, and Ecology courses in Biological Sciences; the Environmental Chemistry courses in Chemistry; computer programming courses in Computer Science; or relevant courses in Physics. See the Registrar's website for available courses by semester.
- You can take up to 6 hours of research credit that count towards the minimum of 32 hours for the M.S. degree in Geology. You may petition the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) for an exception to this limit if you and your advisor feel that more than 6 hours of research credit are needed as a substitute for formal coursework in your program of study. The maximum allowed by the College of Arts and Sciences is 12 hours of research credit. Please note that Research hours do not count toward the total of required 13 hours of 60,000 level work.
Can I transfer geological coursework from another institution?
Yes, you can transfer up to 12 hours of graduate credit, graded B or higher, from an accredited institution, as long as the work was done within six years of the completion date of your M.S. in Geology.
Can I pursue two Masters degrees simultaneously or sequentially at KSU?
Yes, you can! You can share 12 hours of coursework between the 2 Masters programs.
Where can I go to get the thesis style guide and the necessary forms I will need as I progress through the program?
The KSU College of Arts & Sciences Style Guide and Instructions for Typing Theses and Dissertations is available in the College Office 108 Bowman Hall. You can also access these materials from this website (see above), or at the appropriate page in the Arts and Sciences website ( http://www.kent.edu/CAS/grad/gradforms.cfm). Libraries and Media Services also provides guidelines for preparing your thesis or dissertation to help you complete the process.
How can I efficiently plan my M.S. program, including thesis and coursework, so that I can finish the degree in a timely manner?
Remember that ultimately you are responsible for successful completion. Consult regularly with your advisor and committee members.