The department offers advanced degree programs: The Ph.D., the M.S., and a Professional Master’s Program in Subsurface Geoscience. The Ph.D. and regular M.S. programs are described below. For information on the Professional Masters Program see https://profms.rice.edu/
The Department of Earth Science has 21 full time faculty members, 12 post-docs and research scientists, ~60 graduate students, 18 Professional Masters students, and 13 administrative and technical staff. In addition to our regular faculty, about 20 professionals from the petroleum and environmental industries, NASA, the Lunar and Planetary Institute serve as adjunct faculty who advise students, conduct research, and teach graduate courses. Visiting scientists from the world over spend a few weeks to several years in residence for research with our faculty.
Rice is a private university with a substantial endowment. The University’s relatively small size promotes interdisciplinary study and research. The department has a large number of endowed fellowships for graduate students. Faculty research programs are funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), The Texas Advanced Technology Program, and the petroleum industry.
Thesis research and publication are the core of the M.S. and Ph.D. graduate degree programs. These programs are customized to individual students’ needs, interests, strengths, and academic backgrounds. A cross-disciplinary degree in computational science and engineering is available for students who wish to emphasize computational research in the earth sciences. The Department plays a key role in two Professional Master of Science programs: Subsurface Geoscience and Environmental Decision Making and Analysis.
We have strong ties to the oil and gas exploration and exploration-technology industry, and offer a Professional M.S. in Subsurface Geoscience that is geared toward the petroleum industry. Each fall, about a dozen oil and gas companies recruit students in our department for summer internships and full-time employment. Roughly two-thirds of our graduate alumni are employed in the oil industry; the other third pursue academic and other careers.
The department hosts a weekly seminar series with nationally and internationally known scientists from academia, government, and industry.
GeoUnion, the Earth science student organization, hosts additional speakers and is involved with campus and national organizations (AAPG, AGU, GSA, SEG, SEPM), and conducts an annual field trip.