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Student Learning Outcomes

Broad Earth Sciences Graduate Program Goals

Upon graduating, students with a graduate degree (MS in Geology or PhD in Applied Earth Sciences) will:

  • Broadly understand and explain the significance of major research questions in one or more areas of earth sciences.
  • Formulate testable scientific hypotheses.
  • Carry out independent research in one or more subfields of earth sciences, using appropriate field, experimental, analytical, and/or computational methods.
  • Describe, synthesize, and interpret the results of a scientific investigation orally and in writing.

Student Learning Outcomes for the M.S. Degree Program

Students who graduate with an MS degree* will achieve the following objectives:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to synthesize current research questions and approaches in one or more subfields of Earth Sciences by critical evaluation of primary scientific literature.
  2. Write a research proposal that presents a testable hypothesis, outlines the types of data needed to test the hypothesis, and describes how the collected data will be used to test the hypothesis.
  3. Devise and implement a field, experimental, analytical, and/or computational plan aimed at collecting and analyzing the data necessary to address a specific scientific question.
  4. Communicate research results to peers via poster or oral presentation, or publication in peer-reviewed journals, meeting abstracts, and/or technical reports.
  5. Write and defend their research results (orally or in poster format) to demonstrate mastery of the material and an ability to communicate the results and significance of their work.

*numbers 1-5 apply to thesis-option MS graduates. Number 1 applies to non-thesis option MS graduates.

Student Learning Outcomes for the PhD in Applied Earth Sciences

Students who graduate with a Ph.D. in Applied Earth Science will achieve the following objectives:

  1. Conduct independent research under the supervision of a research advisor to design, test, and analyze the results of original laboratory and/or field experiments.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to read, interpret, and incorporate the results of primary literature into the research design.
  3. Employ rigorous approaches to sampling design and data collection, replication of experimental results, set up of experimental controls, and organization of raw data.
  4. Summarize, describe and analyze patterns in data, interpret results and draw conclusions from data to defend or refute a hypothesis.
  5. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of applied earth sciences through successful completion of preliminary and qualifying examinations.
  6. Document an original contribution to applied earth sciences through publication of peer-reviewed results, and presentation and defense of an original dissertation.