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 data management 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. For additional requirements, regulations, and procedures for all graduate programs, please see All Graduate Students. Students pursuing the MSSG degree must complete:

  • A minimum of 14 courses (minimum of 40-42 credit hoursdepending on course selection) to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate-level study (graduate semester credit hours, coursework at the 500-level or above).
  • A minimum of 24 graduate semester credit hours must be taken at Rice University.
  • A minimum of 24 graduate semester credit hours must be taken in standard or traditional courses (with a course type of lecture, seminar, laboratory, lecture/laboratory). 
  • A minimum residency enrollment of one fall or spring semester of part-time graduate study at Rice University.
  • A maximum of 2 courses (6 graduate semester credit hours) from transfer credit. For additional departmental guidelines regarding transfer credit, see the Policies tab.
  • A 3-6 month internship. Instead of a thesis, at the conclusion of their internship, students must present their internship project in both oral and written form as part of the Professional Master’s Project (NSCI 512). Part-time students who already work in their area of study may request approval to fulfill the internship requirement by working on a specific, pre-approved project with their current employer.
  • The requirements for one area of specialization (see below for areas of specialization). The MSSG degree program offers three areas of specialization:
  • A minimum overall GPA of 2.67 or higher in all Rice coursework.
  • A minimum program GPA of 2.67 or higher in all Rice coursework that satisfies requirements for the non-thesis master’s degree.

Note: Some of the listed courses are not offered every year, and some may also have prerequisites or require instructor permission.

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 program's academic advisor, or where applicable, the department or program's Director of Graduate Studies. Course substitutions must be formally applied and entered into Degree Works by the department or program's Official Certifier. Additionally, these must be approved by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the MSSG Degree40-42

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
Core Science Courses
EEPS 5483D SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA INTERPRETATION3
EEPS 579HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS ANALYSIS4
EEPS 583DATA MANAGEMENT AND DATA GOVERNANCE3
EEPS 659WELL LOGGING AND PETROPHYSICS3
Cohort Courses
NSCI 501PROFESSIONAL MASTER'S SEMINAR (2 semesters required, 1st semester)1
NSCI 501PROFESSIONAL MASTER'S SEMINAR (2 semesters required, 2nd 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
A three to six month internship is required 2
Area of Specialization
Select 1 of the following Areas of Specialization (see Areas of Specialization below):18-20
Energy Data Management
Geology
Geophysics
Total Credit Hours40-42

Footnotes and Additional Information

Areas of Specialization

Students must complete a minimum of 6 courses (minimum of 18-20 credit hours, depending on course selection) to satisfy the requirements for one area of specialization. 

Area of Specialization: Energy Data Management 

Students must complete a minimum of 6 courses (minimum of 18-20 credit hours, depending on course selection) to satisfy the requirements for the MSSG degree program's Energy Data Management area of specialization. 

Core Requirements (for the Area of Specialization: Energy Data Management) 1
EEPS 584DATA SCIENCE ENVIRONMENTAL AND GEOSCIENCES3
EEPS 585COMPUTATIONAL AND DATA SCIENCE IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY3
EEPS 586DATA SCIENCE METHODS AND DATA MANAGEMENT3
Elective Requirements (for the Area of Specialization: Energy Data Management)
Select a minimum of 3 courses (minimum of 9 credit hours) from the following: 2,39-11
ENGINEERING ECONOMICS
ENERGY SYSTEMS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
GRADUATE TOOLS AND MODELS - DATA SCIENCE
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER NETWORKS
APPLIED MACHINE LEARNING AND DATA SCIENCE PROJECTS
ENERGY ECONOMICS I
CLIMATE OF THE COMMON ERA
GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
ENERGY POLICY
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
ENERGY MARKET ORGANIZATION
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LAW
OPERATIONS STRATEGY
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
FOUNDATIONS OF PROJECT AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT
PROBABILITY
Total Credit Hours18-20

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Area of Specialization: Geology

Students must complete a minimum of 6 courses (minimum of 18-20 credit hours, depending on course selection) to satisfy the requirements for the MSSG degree program's Geology area of specialization.

Core Requirements (for the Area of Specialization: Geology)
EEPS 630SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY3
or EEPS 530 SILICICLASTIC DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
EEPS 654INTRODUCTION TO SEISMIC INTERPRETATION: STRUCTURAL STYLES AND SEISMIC STRATIGRAPHY3
or EEPS 661 STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF TECTONIC SYSTEMS
Elective Requirements (for the Area of Specialization: Geology)
Select a minimum of 4 courses (minimum of 12 credit hours) from the following: 112-14
ENERGY SYSTEMS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
APPLIED SEDIMENTOLOGY I
SILICICLASTIC DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
THEORETICAL GLOBAL SEISMOLOGY I
HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION
HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
SEMINAR: QUANTITATIVE PETROLEUM SYSTEMS ANALYSIS 2
SPECIAL TOPICS IN EARTH, ENVIRONMENTAL & PLANETARY SCIENCES
GEOCHEMISTRY OF EARTH'S SURFACE
SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY
CLIMATE DYNAMICS
CLIMATE OF THE COMMON ERA
GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
EXPLORATION GEOPHYSICS
INTRODUCTION TO SEISMIC INTERPRETATION: STRUCTURAL STYLES AND SEISMIC STRATIGRAPHY
ENVIRONMENTAL & APPLIED ROCK PHYSICS
GLOBAL TECTONICS
STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF TECTONIC SYSTEMS
TECTONOPHYSICS
GEOMECHANICS
EARTH SYSTEMS MODELING I: PHILOSOPHY AND FUNDAMENTALS
FOUNDATIONS OF PROJECT AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT
Total Credit Hours18-20
Footnotes and Additional Information

Area of Specialization: Geophysics

Students must complete a minimum of 6 courses (minimum of 18-20 credit hours, depending on course selection) to satisfy the requirements for the MSSG degree program's Geophysics area of specialization.

Core Requirements (for the Area of Specialization: Geophysics)
EEPS 650GEOPHYSICAL DATA ANALYSIS: DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING3
EEPS 651GEOPHYSICAL DATA ANALYSIS: INVERSE METHODS3
Elective Requirements (for the Area of Specialization: Geophysics)
Select a minimum of 4 courses (minimum of 12 credit hours) from the following: 112-14
ENERGY SYSTEMS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
THEORETICAL GLOBAL SEISMOLOGY I
HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION
SPECIAL TOPICS IN EARTH, ENVIRONMENTAL & PLANETARY SCIENCES
GEOCHEMISTRY OF EARTH'S SURFACE
SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY
CLIMATE DYNAMICS
CLIMATE OF THE COMMON ERA
GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
EXPLORATION GEOPHYSICS
ENVIRONMENTAL & APPLIED ROCK PHYSICS
GLOBAL TECTONICS
STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF TECTONIC SYSTEMS
TECTONOPHYSICS
GEOMECHANICS
EARTH SYSTEMS MODELING I: PHILOSOPHY AND FUNDAMENTALS
FOUNDATIONS OF PROJECT AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT
Total Credit Hours18-20

Footnotes and Additional Information  

Policies for the MSSG Degree 

Professional Science Master's Graduate Program Handbook

The General Announcements (GA) is the official Rice curriculum. As an additional resource for students, the Professional Science Master's Program publishes a graduate program handbook, which can be found here: https://gradhandbooks.rice.edu/2021_22/Professional_Science_Masters_Handbook.pdf

Admission

Admission to graduate study in subsurface geoscience is open to qualified students holding a bachelor’s degree (BA or BS degree) in a related science or engineering program that included coursework in general chemistry, general physics, calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations. Completed coursework in geology and/or geophysics is preferred, as well as completed coursework in computer skills and some programming. Scores from the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required. 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.

Program Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the MSSG degree should be aware of the following program-specific transfer credit guidelines:

  • No more than 2 courses (6 credit hours) of transfer credit from U.S. or international universities of similar standing as Rice may apply towards the degree.
  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director on an individual case-by-case basis. 

Additional Information 

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

Opportunities for the MSSG Degree 

Fifth-Year Master's Degree Option for Rice Undergraduate Students 

In certain situations and with some terminal master's degree programs, Rice students have an option to pursue a master’s degree by adding an additional fifth year to their four years of undergraduate studies.

Advanced Rice undergraduate students in good academic standing typically apply to the master’s degree program during their junior or senior year. Upon acceptance, depending on course load, financial aid status, and other variables, they may then start taking some required courses of the master's degree program. A plan of study will need to be approved by the student's undergraduate major advisor and the master’s degree program director.

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

  • must complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree and the master's degree independently of each other (i.e. no course may be counted toward the fulfillment of both degrees).
  • should be aware 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).
  • more information on this Undergraduate - Graduate Concurrent Enrollment opportunity, including specific information on the registration process can be found here.

Rice undergraduate students completing studies in science may have the option to pursue the Master of Science in Subsurface Geoscience (MSSG) degree. For additional information, students should contact their undergraduate major advisor, the faculty MSSG program director, and the Professional Science Master's (PSM) program director. 

Additional Information 

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