Degree Requirements

The Department of Earth Sciences awards both MSc and PhD degrees in Earth Sciences. All aspects of the graduate curriculum, academic requirements, and regulations are provided in the Academic Policy Handbook (PDF), which applies to both degrees.


Both MSc and PhD degrees in the Department of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth require a written thesis. The MSc degree is a professional degree, and the MSc thesis is expected to report on research that is ultimately worthy of peer-reviewed publication. A PhD thesis is expected to report on research worthy of three or more peer-reviewed publications, the majority of which should be published or in review/revision by the time of completion of the PhD.


Specific coursework requirements are outlined in the Academic Policy Handbook (PDF). There is significant flexibility for individual students, in consultation with their advisor and thesis committee, to customize their own graduate training. In addition to departmental offerings, the EARS faculty recommends that students consider relevant courses in the Departments of Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics, as well as in the Thayer School of Engineering. Course offerings from these departments are described in the ORC and on respective departmental websites. 

Overall, foresight and prior consideration are necessary when deciding what graduate courses to take while at Dartmouth: many upper-level courses eligible for graduate credit within the Department of Earth Sciences and elsewhere on campus are normally offered only in alternate years. Thus, we suggest that each student develops a tentative graduate curriculum that spans two full years at a minimum in consultation with their advisor. 


EARS 200 Series

One of the exceptional aspects of the graduate program in the Department of Earth Sciences is its core curriculum 200 series. All first-year graduate students are required to enroll in EARS 201, 202, and 203 (in sequence), which are offered yearly in fall, winter, and spring terms. respectively. These courses provide an opportunity to build a spirit of collaboration among the members of an incoming cohort, as well as an introduction to regional geology/glaciology and the development of critical professional skills, including pedagogy, science communication, public speaking, and grant/proposal writing.


Upcoming Courses in the EARS Department – for a tentative list of upcoming courses offered by the Department of Earth Sciences. PLEASE NOTE: This is a tentative course schedule that is subject to constant modifications. Please make sure to check back on this regularly and always confirm with final updates from the ORC.


An essential element of graduate education at Dartmouth College is the experience gained in teaching other students. Each graduate student is required to TA at least one course before completion of their degree. The graduate students learn about effective teaching methods in EARS 201 and throughout their studies, and they have consistent access to many resources and workshops offered through the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning and the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

One of the exceptional teaching opportunities in the Department of Earth Sciences comes with our off-campus field program, also known as The Stretch. Graduate students are an essential part of the Stretch program, and as rotating TAs, they get to help teach and design field-based activities in a wide variety of locations in the western United States and Canada, including many of the National Parks, the Canadian Rockies, and the Grand Canyon.