Graduate Program

Sitting around the campfire on Santa Cruz Island

Sitting around the campfire on Santa Cruz Island

Looking over the topology

Looking over the topology

Jim Boles leads a field trip to Santa Cruz Island

Jim Boles leads a field trip to Santa Cruz Island


The Department of Earth Science offers programs leading to the Masters of Science in Earth Science, and Ph.D. degrees in a variety of areas of specialization. The Earth Science program offers study in geochemistry, geophysics, geomorphology and Quaternary geology, petrology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, tectonics, structural geology and crustal evolution, and paleobiology.

Students determine their individual program of study in consultation with their primary advisor and thesis committee, in accordance with their special interests and needs. The Faculty Graduate Advisor is available to all students for consultation on all other matters. The Graduate Program Coordinator (telephone 805-893-3329) can help with all questions regarding degree requirements and general administrative matters.

Students are responsible for consulting the campus General Catalog and quarterly Schedule of Classes for University requirements, registration procedures and fee deadlines. If you enter with a BA/BS degree, and are aiming for a Ph.D., you will concentrate on coursework in your first few quarters. During this time you should also select and begin to organize a dissertation research program. The Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Exam (advancement to candidacy) must be taken within one academic year of completing the comprehensive exam (by December 1 of your third year). We expect you to finish the Ph.D. within 3 to 5.5 years of full-time study. Students entering with a completed MA/MS degree are expected to complete their degrees in less time.

MS students should arrange their studies to finish in not more than two years.

For more detailed information on our graduate program, see the graduate handbook.


Useful Links

Earth Science Graduate Handbook                        UCSB Graduate Student Handbook

General Catalog                                                      TA Handbook

Schedule of Classes                                                 Graduate Forms & Petitions


Graduate Program Advisor
Susannah Porter

Graduate Program Coordinator
Yann Ricard

Webb 1006

Contact Info
Phone: (805) 893-3329
Fax: (805) 893-2314

Graduate Program Handbook

Career Graduate Placement
Alumni Job Placement (pdf)

Advising Hours
Monday - Friday
9am - 12pm & 1pm - 4pm

Appointments Strongly Recommended

Welcome Prospective Graduate Students!

Earth Science Graduate Program applications and supplemental materials are due by or on January 8th.  Please see the admissions info under the graduate program of our website for details and/or contact Yann Ricard, via email or telephone (805) 893-3329.

Graduate education is a great way of attaining your future career goals. Our graduate program is currently ranked among the best in the country. We offer Masters and Doctoral degrees in Earth Science. Our priority is to provide students an unparalleled academic experience, such that by completion of the program they are exceptional Earth scientists and scholars. If you are considering graduate studies in Earth Science, please read our page on Guide to Graduate Studies.

Academic Excellence — Our campus is experiencing phenomenal growth in research activity and academic excellence. US News and World Report ranked our graduate program 8th in Geology and 23rd in Earth Science amongst all universities in the country. In related fields, both Physics and Materials Science were ranked first in the nation. Our graduate students take part in cutting edge research and draw from the experience of an Earth Science faculty that includes five members of the National Academy of Sciences. UCSB excels at interdisciplinary research and prides in its 6 Nobel laureates.

Personal Attention — Our focus is on quality. With a lower graduate student/faculty ratio (2/1) than the other top-10 earth sciences programs, we really listen to each graduate student and provide a remarkable level of individual support and guidance.

Quality of Life — And then there is Santa Barbara where you will enjoy a quality of life you'd be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Sitting on an active plate margin, with immediate access to islands, ocean, beaches, deserts, and mountains, Santa Barbara enjoys the active geology and mild climate that enables you to work comfortably in the field year-round.

Community — We think there is something special about this department; a warm community of people who love to work and play together. You'll see what we mean when you visit.

For assistance with your graduate school application, please contact:
Yann Ricard, Graduate Program Coordinator , via email or telephone (805) 893-3329.

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