Master of Science in Subsurface Geoscience (MSSG) Degree

Program Learning Outcomes for the MSSG Degree

Upon completing the MSSG degree, students will be able to:

  1. Become proficient in applying geological and geophysical knowledge and methods.
  2. Develop business and management skills, and obtain practical skills valuable to the energy industry. 
  3. Develop written, oral, and visual communication skills to bridge the gap between science and business. 

Requirements for the MSSG Degree

The MSSG degree is a non-thesis master's degree. For general university requirements for non-thesis masters degrees, please see Non-Thesis Master's Degrees. Students pursuing the MSSG degree must complete:

  • A minimum of 14 courses (39-41 credit hours) to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A 3-6 month internship. Instead of a thesis, students must present their internship project in both oral and written form in the Professional Master’s Seminar. Part-time students who already work in their area of study may fulfill the internship requirement by working on an approved project with their current employer.
  • The requirements for one area of specialization (see below for areas of specializations). The MSSG degree offers two areas of specialization:
  • A minimum of 30 credit hours at the 500-level or above.

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this degree program. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the PSM (Professional Science Masters) program director and the MSSG advisor (or official certifier). Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the MSSG Degree39-41

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
NSCI 501PROFESSIONAL MASTER'S SEMINAR (required for 2 semesters, fall semester)1
NSCI 501PROFESSIONAL MASTER'S SEMINAR (required for 2 semesters, spring semester)1
NSCI 511SCIENCE POLICY, AND ETHICS3
NSCI 512PROFESSIONAL MASTER'S PROJECT1
NSCI 610 / ENGI 610MANAGEMENT FOR SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING3
Three to Six Month Internship
Practical experience is offered via a 3 to 6 month work immersion. 1
Area of Specialization
Select 1 of the following area of specializations (see below for areas of specialization):30-32
Geology Specialization
Geophysics Specialization
Total Credit Hours39-41

Footnotes and Additional Information

Area of Specialization: Geology

Students must complete a total of 10 courses (30-32 credit hours depending on course selection) to satisfy the requirements for the MSSG degree program's Geology area of specialization.

Core Requirements
Select 7 from the following:21-22
GEOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES
TOPICS ON CARBONATES
HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
3D SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA INTERPRETATION
DECISION MAKING AND ECONOMICS IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
INTERPRETATION OF REGIONAL 2-D SEISMIC DATA
SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY
EXPLORATION GEOPHYSICS
Elective Requirements
Select 3 from the following (see also Additional Electives course list below): 19-10
SILICICLASTIC DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
CARBONATE DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
APPLIED SEDIMENTOLOGY II
SEMINAR: QUANTITATIVE PETROLEUM SYSTEMS ANALYSIS 2
HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION
MODERN EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY
3D SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA INTERPRETATION
SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA PROCESS
UNCONVENTIONAL ENERGY EXPLORATION
GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF TECTONIC SYSTEMS
Total Credit Hours30-32
Footnotes and Additional Information

Area of Specialization: Geophysics

Students must complete a total of 10 courses (30-31 credit hours depending on course selection) to satisfy the requirements for the MSSG degree program's Geophysics area of specialization.

Core Requirements
Select 7 from the following:21-22
MODERN EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY
3D SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA INTERPRETATION
SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA PROCESS
DECISION MAKING AND ECONOMICS IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
INTERPRETATION OF REGIONAL 2-D SEISMIC DATA
GEOPHYSICAL DATA ANALYSIS: DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING
GEOPHYSICAL DATA ANALYSIS: INVERSE METHODS
EXPLORATION GEOPHYSICS
Elective Requirements
Select 3 (minimum of 9 credit hours) from the following (see also Additional Electives course list below):9
GEOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES
SILICICLASTIC DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
CARBONATE DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION
HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY
GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF TECTONIC SYSTEMS
MANAGING ENERGY TRANSITIONS
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
Total Credit Hours30-31

Additional Electives for Both Specializations

The following courses are additional electives that can be used to satisfy the requirements in both specializations.1

CAAM 378INTRODUCTION TO OPERATIONS RESEARCH AND OPTIMIZATION3
CEVE 528 / ENGI 528ENGINEERING ECONOMICS3
COMP 556 / ELEC 556INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER NETWORKS4
ECON 601ENERGY ECONOMICS I4
ESCI 652GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS3
GLBL 543ENERGY POLICY3
MGMT 611GEOPOLITICS OF ENERGY1.5
MGMT 661INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LAW3
MGMT 670OPERATIONS STRATEGY1.5
MGMT 676SOCIAL ENTERPRISE1.5
STAT 518PROBABILITY3
STAT 615REGRESSION AND LINEAR MODELS3
Footnotes and Additional Information
 

Policies for the MSSG Degree 

Subsurface Geoscience Graduate Program Handbook

The General Announcements (GA) is the official Rice curriculum. As an additional resource for students, Subsurface Geoscience publishes a graduate program handbook, which can be found here: 
http://gradhandbooks.rice.edu/2017_18/Professional_Science_Masters_Handbook.pdf.

Admission

Admission to graduate study in subsurface geoscience is open to qualified students holding a bachelor’s degree in a related science that includes coursework in geoscience, general chemistry, physics, calculus, and differential equations. Department faculty evaluate the previous academic record and credentials of each applicant individually.

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities.

For additional information, please see the Subsurface Geoscience website: https://profms.rice.edu/

Opportunities for the MSSG Degree 

Fifth-Year MSSG Degree Option for Rice Undergraduate Students

Rice undergraduate students have an option to pursue the MSSG degree by adding an additional fifth year to their four undergraduate years of science studies. Advanced Rice undergraduate students in good academic standing may apply to the graduate program during their junior year. Upon acceptance, depending on course load, financial aid status, and other variables, they may then start taking required core courses of the Subsurface Geoscience program during their senior year. A plan of study based on their particular focus area will need to be approved by the PSM (Professional Science Masters) program director and the MSSG advisor. 

As part of this option and opportunity, Rice undergraduate students:

  • must complete the requirements for their bachelor's degree and the MSSG degree independently of each other (i.e. no course may be counted toward the fulfillment of both degrees). 
  • should be aware that there could be financial aid implications, if the conversion of undergraduate coursework to that of graduate-level reduces their earned undergraduate credit for any semester below that of full-time status (12 credit hours).    

For additional information, please see the Subsurface Geoscience website: https://profms.rice.edu/