Subsurface Geoscience

Subsurface Geoscience

Dagmar Beck
Program Director

André W. Droxler
Faculty Director

The professional master's degree in Subsurface Geoscience is designed for students who wish to become proficient in applying geological knowledge and geophysical methods to finding and developing reserves of oil and natural gas.

Students can specialize in 2 focus areas: 1) geology or 2) geophysics.

  • The geology focus area prepares students to be explorationists, with strong skills in using seismic and other geophysical methods along with geological principles to find oil and natural gas.
  • The geophysics focus area prepares students to become technical experts in aspects of exploration seismology.

This degree is 1 of 5 degrees in the professional science master’s (PSM) program at Rice housed in the Wiess School of Natural Sciences. These master’s degrees are designed for students seeking to gain further scientific core expertise coupled with enhanced management and communication skills. These degrees instill a level of scholastic proficiency that exceeds that of the bachelor’s level, and they create the cross-functional aptitudes needed in modern industry. This program will allow students to move more easily into management careers in consulting or research and development, design, and/or marketing within oil-and gas-related industries.

A coordinated MBA/MSSG degree is offered in conjunction with the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business.

Subsurface Geoscience does not currently offer an academic program at the undergraduate level.


André W. Droxler


John B. Anderson
Gerald R. Dickens
Alan Levander
Julia Morgan
Fenglin Niu
Dale S. Sawyer
Colin A. Zelt

Associate Professors

Helge Gonnerman

Assistant Professors

Jeff Nittrouer

Adjunct Faculty

Vitor Abreu
Gary Gray
Mitch Harris
Malcom Ross
Erik Scott

For Rice University degree-granting programs:
To view the list of official course offerings, please see Rice’s Course Catalog
To view the most recent semester’s course schedule, please see Rice's Course Schedule

Description and Code Legend 

Note: Internally the university uses the following descriptions, codes, and abbreviations for this academic program. The following is a quick reference: 

Course Catalog/Schedule 

  • Course offerings/subject codes: Courses from various subjects may apply toward the graduate degree.

Program Description and Code

  • Earth Science: EEPS

Undergraduate Degree Description and Code

  • Master of Science in Subsurface Geoscience degree: MSSG

Undergraduate Degree Program Description and Code

  • Degree Program in Bioscience and Health Policy: SGEO