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. 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 (39-43 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 Seminar. 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.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.67 in required coursework. 

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.) Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the MSSG Degree39-43

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
Core Science Courses
ESCI 5583D SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA INTERPRETATION3
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 1
Area of Specialization
Select 1 of the following Areas of Specialization (see Areas of Specialization below):21-24
Energy Data Management
Geology
Geophysics
Total Credit Hours39-43

Footnotes and Additional Information

Areas of Specialization

Students must complete a minimum of 7 (21-24 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 7 courses (21-24 credit hours, depending on course selection) to satisfy the requirements for the MSSG degree program's Energy Data Management area of specialization. 

Core Requirements
Select 4 courses from the following: 112-13
TOPICS IN COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE (must be taken for 3 credit hours)
TOOLS AND MODELS FOR DATA SCIENCE
INTRODUCTION TO DATABASE SYSTEMS
DATA SCIENCE ENVIORNMENTAL AND GEOSCIENCES
DATA MANAGEMENT AND DATA GOVERNANCE
SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA PROCESS
Elective Requirements
Select at least 9 credit hours from the following: 19-11
INTRODUCTION TO OPERATIONS RESEARCH AND OPTIMIZATION
ENGINEERING ECONOMICS
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 Hours21-24

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Area of Specialization: Geology

Students must complete a minimum of 7 courses (21-22 credit hours, depending on course selection) to satisfy the requirements for the MSSG degree program's Geology area of specialization.

Core Requirements
ESCI 626INTERPRETATION OF REGIONAL 2-D SEISMIC DATA3 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
Select 15 credit hours from the following: 115
GEOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES
TOPICS ON CARBONATES
SILICICLASTIC DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
CARBONATE DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
APPLIED SEDIMENTOLOGY II
SEMINAR: QUANTITATIVE PETROLEUM SYSTEMS ANALYSIS 2
HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION
HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA PROCESS
INTERPRETATION OF REGIONAL 2-D SEISMIC DATA
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 Hours21-22
Footnotes and Additional Information

Area of Specialization: Geophysics

Students must complete a minimum of 7 courses (21 credit hours) to satisfy the requirements for the MSSG degree program's Geophysics area of specialization.

Core Requirements
ESCI 564SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA PROCESS3
ESCI 640GEOPHYSICAL DATA ANALYSIS: DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING3
or ESCI 641 GEOPHYSICAL DATA ANALYSIS: INVERSE METHODS
Elective Requirements
Select 15 credit hours from the following: 115
GEOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES
SILICICLASTIC DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
CARBONATE DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION
HYDROCARBON SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA PROCESS
SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY
GEOPHYSICAL DATA ANALYSIS: DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING
GEOPHYSICAL DATA ANALYSIS: INVERSE METHODS
EXPLORATION GEOPHYSICS
GIS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS
STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF TECTONIC SYSTEMS
MANAGING ENERGY TRANSITIONS
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
Total Credit Hours21

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/2018_19/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 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).    

Additional Information 

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