Geology (GEOL)

Graduate Degree Program
College: Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences


The Department of Geology offers programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. On a full time basis, the M.S. normally requires two to three years of work, which includes courses, the completion of an M.S. research thesis, and an oral defense of the thesis. On a full time basis, the Ph.D. commonly requires three to four years of work, if conducted after the completion of an M.S. program, or four to five years from the time of admission if pursued directly from the Bachelor level. The Ph.D. program normally includes course work, a qualifying examination and proposal defense, a dissertation, and an oral defense and examination of the dissertation.

Our students are required to engage in independent and original research under a mentoring program that promotes creative thinking. This is most commonly achieved via the collaboration between students and faculty in ongoing research programs. Geology is concerned with the Earth, its origin and evolution and the origin of life, and the processes by which Earth’s atmosphere, surface and interior have been and continue to be modified. To pursue these topics we have developed research strengths in four themes: Geochemistry, which involves investigations of low- to high-temperature processes operating from Earth’s surface to it’s core and within the Solar System; Solid Earth Science, which is the study of the minerals, rocks, and structures that constitute Earth, and the tectonic and other processes by which they are formed and altered; Surficial Processes and Environments, which involves the study of active and past fluxes (and reservoirs) of water, dissolved components, and sediment on Earth’s surface and the interactions of these fluxes with the biosphere and atmosphere; and, Geophysics, which includes investigations of Earth’s interior structure and dynamics, as well as planetary physics. These areas are not mutually exclusive, and students are encouraged to develop a program that suits their interests. Developing areas within the Department include planetary geology and forensics.

Although students will choose an advisor within the Department of Geology, they may also wish to take advantage of research opportunities provided by collaboration with other departments on campus, such as Mathematics, particularly the Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation Program (AMSC), Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Physics, Geography, and Chemistry, as well as other institutions in the area including the Smithsonian Institution, United States Geological Survey, NASA, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Geophysical Lab and National Institute of Standards and Technology. The Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center is a collaborative venture between the Departments of Geography, Geology and Atmospheric and Ocean Science on Campus, and the Earth Sciences Directorate at NASA Goddard. This wealth of in-house and collaborative resources positions our graduate students with an unmatched spectrum of opportunities and gives them access to a strong multi-disciplinary program of international stature.

Our current student demographics are diverse, with an approximate 50:50 mix of male and female students of which 10-20% are minority students. Approximately 60% of our graduate students are Ph.D. candidates (the remaining are M.S. students), and some of the M.S. students will petition to become Ph.D. candidates following the successful completion of their M.S. degree program. Other M.S. candidates are focused solely on the M.S. degree, which is the commonly held degree for practicing professionals in government and industry.

Our graduate students benefit from the opportunities of working within an advanced graduate program. Our graduates go on to distinguished post-doc, research and applied positions in academic, government and industrial settings. We proudly acknowledge having placed our students into prestigious post-doc positions and government laboratories and we highlight their publications (see, presentations at national and international meetings (see and awards (see

Financial Assistance

Graduate students are eligible for Departmental teaching assistantships, Graduate School fellowships and grant-supported fellowships and research assistantships. In addition, some curatorial, library and other part-time work is sometimes available.


See the Department of Geology Web page at URL for additional information. The Department’s Graduate Studies in Geological Sciences also provides additional information on the requirements, examinations, faculty research interests and publications, research facilities and financial aid. Copies are available from:

Graduate Coordinator
1118 Geology Building
8000 Regents Drive
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Telephone: 301.405.4065

Courses: GEOL

General Requirements

Program-Specific Requirements

  • Letters of Recommendation (3)

Qualified students with a B.S. degree in geology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, engineering or other related sciences are invited to apply for admission to the graduate programs. Our graduate degree program in geophysics welcomes students with undergraduate degrees in physics and or astronomy having little to no background in geology. Coursework expectations for students applying to the program is at least a year of calculus, a semester of physics for science majors, and for those in the in geology and geochemistry track a year of chemistry or its equivalent. 

Application Deadlines

Type of Applicant Fall Deadline Spring Deadline
Domestic Applicants
US Citizens and Permanent Residents January 5, 2024 N/A
International Applicants
F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas; A, E, G, H, I and L visas and immigrants January 5, 2024 N/A


Program Website:
Application Process:

The Department maintains a suite of state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for research, including: three solid source mass spectrometers, six gas source mass spectrometers, with inlet devices for inorganic and organic isotope analyses, single and multicollector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometers (ICP-MS), three UV lasers for in situ analyses with gas-source and plasma mass spectrometer, two chemical clean labs, with ion chromatographic facilities, JEOL 8900 superprobe with an Oxford instrument mini-cathodoluminescence detector, Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopes, color image analysis system, fluid inclusion stage, high temperature and high pressure equipment for dry or hydrothermal experiments, diamond anvil cell facilities, including laser heating and external heating, two triaxial deformation apparatii with flow through capacity and acoustic emission recording, flame and graphite furnace atomic absorption equipment, spectrophotometers, HPLC with fluorescence detector, UV lamps and monochronometer for photochemistry, anoxic chamber, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) computational laboratory, electromagnetic and acoustic doppler velocity meters, laboratory and field hydrogeology equipment, campus drill rig, microstructures and fabrics analysis instruments, research microscopes with reflectance capabilities, rock preparation and mineral separation laboratories, computer network with direct access to supercomputer facilities, nitrogen Permeameter 400, helium Porosimeter 300, Solaris Impedance Meters.

Further information is found at the following URL

Last Name First/Middle Name Graduate Faculty Status Academic Credentials Positions
Arevalo JR Ricardo David Full Member B.S., University of Florida, 2005; Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2010 Associate Professor, Geology
Ash Richard Associate B.S., Queen Mary College, University of London, 1986; Ph.D., Open University, United Kingdom, 1990. Assistant Research Scientist, Geology
Behn Mark Special Member B.S, Bates College, 1996; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002 University Affiliate, Geology
Belt Kenneth T. Special B.S., Towson University, 1973; M.S. Towson University, 1983; Ph.D. University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2012. University Affiliate, Geology
Bleacher Jacob E. Special Member B.A., Franklin & Marshall College, 2000; Ph.D., Arizona State University, 2006 University Affiliate, Geology
Brown Michael Full Member B.A., University of Keele, 1969; Ph.D., 1975. Professor, Geology
Caddick Mark Special Member B.S., University of Bristol, 2000; Ph.D., University of Cambridge, 2004 University Affiliate, Geology
Candela Philip A. Full Member B.S., City University of New York-Brooklyn College, 1977; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1982. Professor Emeritus, Geology
Carlson Richard Walter Special Member B.A., University of California-San Diego, 1976; Ph.D., University of California-San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanology, 1980 University Affiliate, Geology
Corrigan Catherine M. Special Member B.S., Michigan State University, 1995; M.S., Michigan State University, 1998; Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University, 2004. University Affiliate, Geology
Dragovic Besim Special B.A., Boston University, 1999; M.S., University of Connecticut, 2003; Ph.D., Boston University, 2013. University Affiliate, Geology
Duan Shuiwang Associate B.S., Chengdu University of Science & Technology, 1994; M.S., The Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1997; Ph.D., Tulane University, 2005. Assistant Research Scientist, Geology
Evans Michael N. Full Member B.A., Harvard University, 1992; Ph.D., Columbia University, 1999. Associate Professor, Geology
Associate Professor, Applied Mathematics & Statistics, and Scientific Computation
Farquhar James Full Member B.S., Washington and Lee University, 1987; M.S., University of Chicago, 1990; Ph.D., University of Alberta, 1995. Professor, Geology
Finlayson Valerie A. Special Member B.A., Michigan State University, 2009; M.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011; Ph.D., University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 2017. Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geology
French Melodie Special Member B.A., Oberlin College, 2006; M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009; Ph.D., Texas A&M University-College Station, 2014 University Affiliate, Geology
Helz George R. Full Member B.A., Princeton University, 1964; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University-University Park, 1970. Professor Emeritus, Chemistry
Affiliate Professor, Geology
Huang Mong-Han Full Member B.S., National Taiwan University, 2005; M.S., National Taiwan University, 2006; Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley, 2014 Assistant Professor, Geology
Hurford JR Terry Special Member B.S., University of Arizona, 1998; Ph.D., University of Arizona, 2005 University Affiliate, Geology
Jackson Matthew Special B.S., Yale University, 2001; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008. University Affiliate, Geology
James Bruce R. Full Member B.A., Williams College, 1973; M.S., University of Vermont, 1979; Ph.D., 1981. Professor Emeritus, Environmental Science and Technology
Affiliate Professor, Geology
Kaufman Alan Jay Full Member B.A., Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, 1982; B.S., 1982; M.S., Indiana University-Bloomington, 1986; Ph.D., 1990. Professor, Geology
Kaushal Sujay S. Full Member B.A., Cornell University, 1997; Ph.D., University of Colorado, 2003. Associate Professor, Geology
Kearney Michael Full Member B.A., Univ. of Illinois, 1973; M.A., Western Illinois Univ., 1976; Ph.D., Univ. Western Ontario, 1981. Professor, Environmental Science and Technology
Affiliate Professor, Geology
Kohn Matthew J. Special Member B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1986; M.S., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1989; Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 1981 University Affiliate, Geology
Labidi Jabrane Special M.S., University Paris Diderot/ Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France, 2009; Ph.D., University Paris Diderot/ Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France, 2013. University Affiliate, Geology
Lathrop Daniel P. Full Member B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1987; Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin, 1991. Professor, Geology
Professor, Physics
Professor, Chemical Physics
Lekic Vedran Full Member A.B., Harvard University, 2004; Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2009. Associate Professor, Geology
Assistant Professor, Applied Mathematics & Statistics, and Scientific Computation
Mantovani Fabio Special Member M.S., Universita degli Studi di Ferrara, 2001; Ph.D., University of Siena, 2006 University Affiliate, Geology
Martin Emily S. Special Member B.A., Wheaton College, 2006; M.S. Northwestern University, 2009; Ph.D., University of Idaho, 2015. University Affiliate, Geology
Mazarico Erwan Special Member B.S., Ecole National Superieure de L'aeronauti, 2004; M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2004; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008 University Affiliate, Geology
McCoy Timothy Special Member B.S., Eastern Illinois University, 1986; M.S., University of New Mexico-Albuquerque, 1990; Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1994 University Affiliate, Geology
McDonough William F. Full Member B.A., University of Massachusetts-Boston, 1979; M.S., Sul Ross State University, 1983; Ph.D., Australian National University-Canberra, 1988. Professor, Geology
Minarik William Special Member B.S., St. Olaf College, 1984; M.S., University of Washington, 1989; Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,, 1983. University Affiliate, Geology
Montesi Laurent G. J. Full Member B.S., Pierre et Marie Curie University, 1994; M.S., Paris-Sud University, 1996; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002. Professor, Geology
Associate Professor, Applied Mathematics & Statistics, and Scientific Computation
Newcombe Megan Full Member B.A., M.S., University of Cambridge, 2009; Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2016. Assistant Professor, Geology
Penniston-Dorland Sarah Full Member B.A., Harvard University, 1986; M.Ed., Harvard University, 1990; M.S., University of Texas-Austin, 1997; M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1999; Ph.D., 2005. Associate Professor, Geology
Piccoli Philip Michael Associate B.A., University of Montana, 1984; M.S., University of Pittsburgh, 1987; Ph.D., University of Maryland-College Park, 1992. Research Scientist, Geology
Prestegaard Karen L. Full Member B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1976; M.S., University of California-Berkeley, 1979; Ph.D., 1982. Associate Professor, Geology
Puchtel Igor S. Associate M.S., Moscow Geological Prospecting Academy; Ph.D., Russian Academy of Sciences-Moscow, 1992. Research Scientist, Geology
Schmerr Nicholas Full Member B.S. Beloit College, 2001, Ph.D. Arizona State University, 2008. Assistant Professor, Geology
Smith Deborah K. Associate B.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1972; B.A., San Francisco State University, 1981; PhD., University of California-San Diego, 1995 University Affiliate, Geology
Thomas Amanda Special Member B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007; Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley, 2012 University Affiliate, Geology
Vidon Phillipe Special Member B.S., Pierre & Marie Curie University, 1995; M.S., National Institute of Agronomy, 1997; Ph.D., York University, 2004. University Affiliate, Geology
Wagner Lara Special Member B.A., Columbia University, 1996; Ph.D., University of Arizona, 2005 University Affiliate, Geology
Walker Richard J. Full Member B.S., College of William & Mary, 1979; M.S., State University of New York-Stony Brook, 1981; Ph.D., 1984. Professor, Geology
Wylie Ann G. Full Member B.A., Wellesley College, 1966; Ph.D., Columbia University, 1972. Professor Emerita, Geology
Zeng Ning Full Member B.S., University of Science and Technology-China, 1987: M.S., University of Arizona, 1991; Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1995. Professor, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science
Affiliate Associate Professor, Geology
Zhu Wenlu Full Member B.S., Peking University, 1986; M.S., 1989; Ph.D., SUNY-Stony Brook, 1996. Professor, Geology
Associate Professor, Applied Mathematics & Statistics, and Scientific Computation
Ziegler Susan Special B.S., University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1993; Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 1998. University Affiliate, Geology
Zou Haibo Special Member B.S., Nanjing Normal University, 1986; M.S., Nanjing Normal University, 1989; Ph.D., Florida State University, 1999 University Affiliate, Geology
Šrámek Ondřej Special Member B.S., Charles University in Prague, 2000; M.S., Charles University in Prague, 2002; M.Phil., Yale University, 2006; Ph.D., École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (France) & Charles University in Prague, 2007. University Affiliate, Geology