About the Program
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences offers a PhD degree in Earth and Planetary Science. The central objective of the graduate program is to encourage creative thinking and develop the capacity for independent and original research. A strong undergraduate background in the physical sciences is especially helpful, and a significant number of our graduate students have their training in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, or astronomy. Graduate students are formally accepted into the Earth and Planetary Science program, and they normally work directly toward a PhD.
The department offers a one-year MA program; however, admission to the program is available only to graduates of our bachelor's degree program in Earth and Planetary Science. We do not accept applications to the MA program from other majors or universities.
Admission to the University
Applying for Graduate Admission
Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. A complete list of graduate academic departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.
Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application can be found on the Graduate Division website.
The minimum graduate admission requirements are:
A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and
Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.
For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.
Where to apply?
Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.
Doctoral Degree Requirements
Candidates for the PhD degree must pass the oral qualifying examination by the end of the second year and complete a thesis to the satisfaction of the appointed thesis committee. Students must have two research propositions to present at the qualifying examination, each developed under the supervision of a different professor on substantially different topics. There are no required courses for the PhD program.
Master's Degree Requirements
The master of arts degree requires 24 semester units of upper division and graduate courses with at least 12 units of graduate coursework, followed by a comprehensive oral examination.
Research units can count toward the 24 total, but not toward the 12 grad level. 200-level seminars can only be counted toward the total 24 credits if they require active student participation in a focused topic area (e.g. pass/fail seminars in which students passively listen do not qualify).
EPS 255 (Department Seminar), EPS 260 (intro to faculty research for 1st-year PhD students), EPS 254 (BSL seminar), EPS 298 (BASC seminar), EPS 290 research group meetings, and similar seminars cannot be used to satisfy MA requirements.
EPS 256 (Earthquake of the Week) can be used if taken for a letter grade.
EPS 290 courses can be used only if they have a focus and title that distinguishes them from research group meetings. E.g. in Fall 2020 Bruce Buffett taught “Computational Methods in GFD” as EPS 290, and William Boos taught “Global Circulation of Planetary Atmospheres” as EPS 290; both could be used toward the grad-level MA credits.
EPS 280 (research with a faculty advisor) can be used for up to 6 units total, but may not be counted toward the 12 grad-level credits required for the MA (they can count toward the 24 unit total).
Your faculty advisor and the graduate student services advisor will need to approve your courses for the MA.
The MA program is open only to students who have completed their undergraduate degree in our department.
Please see here for an overview of our MA program.
|Electives, as per specialized study list||24|
12 units must be graduate courses
12 additional units may be graduate or upper division courses
|EPS 200||Problems in Hydrogeology||4|
|EPS 204||Elastic Wave Propagation||3|
|EPS 203||Introduction to Aquatic and Marine Geochemistry||4|
|EPS 207||Laboratory in Observational Seismology||3|
|EPS 209||Matlab Applications in Earth Science||2|
|EPS 210||Exploration, Ore Petrology, and Geochemistry||4|
|EPS 212||Advanced Stratigraphy and Tectonics||3|
|EPS 214||Igneous Petrology||4|
|EPS 216||Active Tectonics||3|
|EPS 217||Fluvial Geomorphology||4|
|EPS 220||Advanced Concepts in Mineral Physics||3|
|EPS 224||Isotopic Geochemistry||4|
|EPS 225||Topics in High-Pressure Research||2|
|EPS 229||Introduction to Climate Modeling||3|
|EPS 230||Radiation and Its Interactions with Climate||3|
|EPS 236||Geological Fluid Mechanics||4|
|EPS C241||Stable Isotope Ecology||5|
|EPS C249||Solar System Astrophysics||3|
|EPS 250||Advanced Topics in Earth and Environmental Sciences||3|
|EPS 251||Carbon Cycle Dynamics||3|
|EPS 254||Advanced Topics in Seismology and Geophysics||1|
|EPS 255||Advanced Topics in Earth and Planetary Science||1|
|EPS 256||Earthquake of the Week||2|
|EPS 260||Research in Earth Science||2|
|EPS 271||Field Geology and Digital Mapping||4|
|EPS C276||Seismic Hazard Analysis and Design Ground Motions||3|
|EPS C292||Planetary Science Seminar||1|
|EPS C295Z||Energy Solutions: Carbon Capture and Sequestration||3|
|EPS 298||Directed Group Study for Graduates||1-9|