Graduate degree programs

The School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) offers both MS and PhD degree programs in geological sciences and astrophysics, as well as a PhD program in exploration systems design. The degree requirements in each program strongly emphasize unique research. The extensive research topics available within SESE allow for flexibility in each degree in order to meet the interests and needs of individual students.

Degree Programs

PhD in Astrophysics
MS in Geological Sciences
PhD in Geological Sciences
*PhD in Exploration Systems Design
*In collaboration with Fulton Schools of Engineering


NOTE: SESE maintains excellent working relationships with other academic units in science and engineering, and many SESE faculty also serve on the graduate faculties of programs administered by other units. For example, the graduate programs offered by the Department of Physics may also be attractive to potential students interested in astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology due to the integrated nature of these fields with physics. Students interested in engineering might also wish to review graduate programs offered by the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.


Timeline for Graduate Study
Most students begin their graduate studies in the fall, but we will accept students in the spring semester pending special circumstances. A typical program requires at least two years of work for the MS degree and at least four years of work for the PhD. The MS degree is not a prerequisite for the PhD program.


Students in the MS and PhD programs take a minimum of 20 and 25 credit hours of formal coursework, respectively. The coursework plan of each student can vary. Students work with their faculty advisor(s) to tailor coursework plans to their research needs. First year students in both programs typically enroll in 9-12 credit hours of coursework in their first semester at ASU. All SESE students are required to enroll in GLG 591: Faculty Research Seminar in their first semester. Students must also take GLG500: SESE colloquium at some point during their program.