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 39-41 credit hoursdepending on course selection) to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate-level study (coursework at the 500-level or above).
  • A minimum of 24 credit hours must be taken at Rice University.
  • A minimum residency enrollment of one fall or spring semester of part-time graduate study at Rice University.
  • 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 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 Degree39-41

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
Core Science Courses
ESCI 549DATA MANAGEMENT AND DATA GOVERNANCE3
ESCI 5583D SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA INTERPRETATION 13
ESCI 615DECISION MAKING AND ECONOMICS IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY3 or 4
or ESCI 545 HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
ESCI 636WELL 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):18-19
Energy Data Management
Geology
Geophysics
Total Credit Hours39-41

Footnotes and Additional Information

Areas of Specialization

Students must complete a minimum of 6 courses (minimum of 18-19 credit hours, depending on area of specialization) 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 credit hours) 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
ESCI 530DATA SCIENCE ENVIRONMENTAL AND GEOSCIENCES3
ESCI 570COMPUTATIONAL AND DATA SCIENCE IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY3
ESCI 571DATA 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
ENGINEERING ECONOMICS
GRADUATE TOOLS AND MODELS - DATA SCIENCE
INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER NETWORKS
ENERGY ECONOMICS I
GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
ENERGY POLICY
MANAGING ENERGY TRANSITIONS
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
GEOPOLITICS OF ENERGY
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LAW
OPERATIONS STRATEGY
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
PROBABILITY
Total Credit Hours18

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Area of Specialization: Geology

Students must complete a minimum of 6 courses (minimum of 18-19 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)
ESCI 626INTRODUCTION TO SEISMIC INTERPRETATION: STRUCTURAL STYLES AND SEISMIC STRATIGRAPHY3 or 4
or ESCI 663 STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF TECTONIC SYSTEMS
ESCI 627SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY3
or ESCI 504 SILICICLASTIC DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
or ESCI 516 TOPICS ON CARBONATES
Elective Requirements (for the Area of Specialization: Geology)
Select a minimum of 4 courses (minimum of 12 credit hours) from the following: 112
SILICICLASTIC DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
CARBONATE DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
APPLIED SEDIMENTOLOGY II
TOPICS ON CARBONATES
SEMINAR: QUANTITATIVE PETROLEUM SYSTEMS ANALYSIS 2
HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION
HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA PROCESS
INTRODUCTION TO SEISMIC INTERPRETATION: STRUCTURAL STYLES AND SEISMIC STRATIGRAPHY
SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY
EXPLORATION GEOPHYSICS
GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF TECTONIC SYSTEMS
MANAGING ENERGY TRANSITIONS
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
Total Credit Hours18-19
Footnotes and Additional Information

Area of Specialization: Geophysics

Students must complete a minimum of 6 courses (minimum of 18 credit hours) to satisfy the requirements for the MSSG degree program's Geophysics area of specialization.

Core Requirements (for the Area of Specialization: Geophysics)
ESCI 640GEOPHYSICAL DATA ANALYSIS: DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING3
ESCI 641GEOPHYSICAL 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
SILICICLASTIC DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
CARBONATE DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION
HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA PROCESS
SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY
EXPLORATION GEOPHYSICS
GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF TECTONIC SYSTEMS
MANAGING ENERGY TRANSITIONS
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
Total Credit Hours18

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/2019_20/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.

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

Rice students have an option to pursue the Master of Science in Subsurface Geoscience (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 MSSG 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 advisor, the Professional Science Master's (PSM) program director, and the MSSG 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.    

Additional Information 

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