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Graduate Research Basics

The graduate program in the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown is rated among the top programs in the nation and the world. Our faculty members, nationally and internationally acknowledged leaders in their fields, engage in externally supported research which is defining the direction of inquiry in the next 5-10 years. Five primary research areas follow nationwide themes:

  1. paleoclimate,
  2. environmental sciences,
  3. properties and processes of geological materials,
  4. dynamics of the solid Earth
  5. the Planetary Perspective.

Faculty and students conduct experimental, theoretical, and/or field studies, with a goal to define and quantify the geological processes which shape our planet. The diverse interests of faculty and students drive a wide range of studies, and increased interactions across departmental lines have been developed with areas such as Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics. Needs and interests of the individual student guide coursework; our intent is for students to develop breadth as well as depth of research.

The Department is a truly diversified community. Emphasis on collaborative and interdisciplinary research fosters a collegial exchange of scientific knowledge and expertise. Frequent Department functions (such as field trips, lunch time talks, weekly seminars, social gatherings, and the student GeoClub) encourage opportunities for friendly interactions at all levels between faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and support staff.

Graduate Studies

The Department of Geological Sciences offers integrated programs of graduate study and research leading to the Ph.D. degree. Strong undergraduate science training (e.g., biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, mathematics, or physics) is recommended. Enrollment is limited to 50 graduate students (generally equal men/women) to ensure effective use of research facilities and close student-faculty contact. Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree is established by passing the Preliminary Examination (end of the fifth semester with a Bachelor's, or fourth semester with a Master's).

For details about the admissions process, visiting the department, support, and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ's), please visit our "For Prospective Students" page.