Computational Earth Science MS

Image credit NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

This MS degree in Computational Earth Science program is aimed at both Earth science graduate students who want to develop expertise in computational research, and graduate students with a background in Computer science who would like to apply those skills to the Earth sciences.

The demand for professional labor force skilled in Earth sciences, alongside scientific computation has grown tremendously over the last decade, and all indications are that such growth will further accelerate in the near future.

Our program in Computational Earth Science aims to provide students with the skills required to enter the 21st century professional workforce, thus making them highly desirable prospect for employment in industry, government and national laboratories, or to continue on to a doctoral program in the Earth sciences or computational fields. 

Degree Requirements

The program requires a total of 30 graduate credits, distributed across four program components in addition to the completion and public defense of an MS research thesis (for thesis track) or a capstone project (for non-thesis track). The courses include hands-on work with Earth Science data and Computational techniques. 

Graduate Course Descriptions

Graduate Course Availability


Within each program component, the courses are to be selected based on the student’s specific interest:

1)  Required Core Computational Earth Science courses (9-10 credits)

2)  Foundational courses in Computational Earth Science (6 credits min.)

3)  Enrichment courses in Earth Science and related fields (6 credits min.)

4)  Enrichment courses in Computational Science and related fields (6 credits min.)

5)  MS thesis or capstone project (1-3 credits) during which students complete independent work in Computational Earth Science project design, analysis, problem solving and gain research experience. For the thesis option, a designated faculty member, the thesis advisor, and a thesis committee closely supervise student, and require the preparation of a thesis proposal, approval and completion of a thesis, followed by a successful oral presentation and defense. For the non-thesis option the culminating capstone experience of a supervised research project will enable students to conduct guided research with mentoring from a faculty mentor, allowing them the opportunity to deeply study their specialty area of Computational Earth Science.

The program will not require an internship component. However, the department will advise all students about career options and internship opportunities in their first semester to allow for internship application and participation. Our faculty have an extensive network and collaborations with researchers at national laboratories and federal government agencies, which will facilitate the identification of suitable internships and mentors, for enhanced experience.