UHM Dept. of Earth Sciences banner, sunset
over Diamond Head, (c) Ken H Rubin

Graduate Degree Programs


The Masters of Science and Doctoral programs in Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS) enable students to gain advanced knowledge, develop professional skills, and learn cutting-edge methdologies through specialized course work and by conducting research. Study and research are in numerous disciplinary cores including geophysics and tectonics, marine and environmental geology, volcanology/geochemistry/petrology, mineral physics and earth materials, remote sensing, planetary science, and space technology are pursued with advisors in the Dept. of Earth Sciences or the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. Students have access to a wide array of field sites, and world-class laboratory, computing, and ship-based research facilities.

Students with EPS graduate degrees (both MS and PhD) pursue careers in industry, government, or in colleges and universities. Geoscience frontiers and challenges of the future including assessing the causes and risks of natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, land and beach degradation, sea level rise); understanding past and future climates, unraveling the evolution and composition of Earth's core, mantle, and crust; gaining knowledge about and managing natural resources (water, mineral, energy, beaches); and discovering processes of planetary bodies within, or well beyond, our solar system.

Degrees Offered

Graduate Assistantships: The majority of our graduate students are supported by reseach assistantships (RAs), which come with a stipend and tuition waiver. As such, admission into the EPS graduate program is very competitive. Successful applicants demonstrate strong academic and professional preparation as well as interests that align with the research endeavors of faculty mentors. Prospective students are encouraged to review the webpages of faculty within Earth Sciences and HIGP and contact those whose research activities align with the students interests. Teaching assistantships (TAs) often supplement RA funding and allow students to gain professional teaching experience.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: SOEST is actively seeking to increase the diversity of our haumāna (student population). We strongly encourage applications by individuals from underrepresented groups, including (but are not limited to) those representing the intersections of race, ethnicity, cultural background, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and physical ability. #GRExit To encourage a wider applicant pool and facilitate a more equitable screening process, GRE scores are no longer required and will not be formally considered during the evaluation process. Furthermore, the first 50 applicants who submit complete applications are eligible to request a $50 reimbursement to help offset the cost of the application fee.

EPS Student work

For Current Students