"Students in the Professional Master’s Program benefit from Rice’s highly recognized academic resources enhanced with professional components that together foster the development of essential science, communication, and management skills. The (Subsurface Geoscience) track creates a rare breed of well-prepared professionals possessing the wide range of abilities necessary to devise innovative and pragmatic approaches to tackle difficult industry problems."Students in the Professional Master’s Program benefit from Rice’s highly recognized academic resources enhanced with professional components that together foster the development of essential science, communication, and management skills. The (Subsurface Geoscience) track creates a rare breed of well-prepared professionals possessing the wide range of abilities necessary to devise innovative and pragmatic approaches to tackle difficult industry problems."
– André Erlich, Chief Information Officer, Schlumberger Ltd. (retired)
The Subsurface Geoscience program is geared for students who would like to become proficient in applying geological knowledge and geophysical methods to find and develop reserves of oil and natural gas.
The core requirements for the degree are strong courses in geophysical exploration methods, management and policy courses, communication skills, and an industrial internship. Students select a group of elective courses from a focus area (see below), or from a variety of other courses related to their interest.
The Geology focus area prepares students to be "explorationists," with strong skills in using seismic and other geophysical methods along with geological principles to find oil and natural gas.
The Geophysics focus area prepares students to become technical experts in aspects of exploration seismology.
Courses in the Departments of Earth Science, Statistics, Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, Computational and Applied Mathematics, and Economics as well as in the Jones School of Management have been incorporated into the curriculum. Students will enroll in two courses team-taught by industry leaders. Petroleum Industry Economics and Management introduces students to essential components of financial decision making in the energy business, emphasizing risk analysis, and Modern Industrial Exploration Techniques exposes students to advanced techniques currently used in the exploration industry.
The Subsurface Geoscience degree requires a total of 40 credit hours, not including the internship:
Science Core Courses - 22 hours Cohort Courses - 9 hours Elective Courses - 9 hours
TOTAL - 40 hours
Applicants for the Professional Master's in Subsurface Geoscience must have:
B.A. or B.S. degree in a related science or engineering program that included coursework in general physics, chemistry, calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations.
Completed coursework in geology and/or geophysics is preferred.
Scores from the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Completed coursework in computer skills and some programming is preferred.
Required Cohort courses (9 hrs):
NSCI 501 Professional Master’s Seminar (F, S) [required for two semesters] NSCI 511 Science Policy & Ethics (S) NSCI 512 Professional Master's Project (F, S) NSCI 610 Management in Science and Engineering (F, S)
A three- to six-month internship under the guidance of a hosting company, government agency, or national laboratory is required. At the conclusion of this internship, students must present their internship project in both oral and written forms as part of the Professional Master’s Project.
There are two focus areas in the Subsurface Geoscience Track: Geology and Geophysics.
GEOLOGY FOCUS AREA
Required Courses (22 hours):
ESCI 334 Geological Field Methods ESCI 615 Petroleum Geology ESCI 617 Petroleum Industry Economics and Management ESCI 626 Interpretation of regional 3D seismic data ESCI 627 Sequence Stratigraphy ESCI 558 3D Seismic Reflection Data Interpretation ESCI 636 Well Logging and Petrophysics ESCI 642 Exploration Geophysics
NOTE: Not every course is offered every year. Other courses can be used as substitutes with the permission of a faculty advisor. Some courses may require prerequisites or instructor permission.
Students will choose three electives (9 hours):
Recommended Electives (9 hours):
ESCI 550 Modern Exploration Technology ESCI 564 Seismic Data Processing ESCI 504 Siliciclastic Depositional Systems ESCI 506 Carbonate Depositional Systems ESCI 544 Hydrocarbon Exploration (AAPG Imperial Barrel competition) ESCI 558 3D Seismic Reflection Data ESCI 567 Unconventional Energy Exploration ESCI 663 Structure and Evolution of Tectonic Systems
Substitutions for required or elective courses may be approved by the Track Advisor.
GEOPHYSICS FOCUS AREA
Required Courses (22 credits) - Students choose from:
ESCI 615 Petroleum Geology ESCI 617 Petroleum Industry Economics and Management ESCI 550 Modern Exploration Technology ESCI 558 Seismic Reflection Data Interpretation ESCI 624 Interpretation of Regional 2-D Seismic Data ESCI 640 Geophysical Data Analysis: Digital Signal Processing ESCI 641 Geophysical Data Analysis: Inverse Methods ESCI 642 Exploration Geophysics ESCI 564 Seismic Data Processing
Recommended Electives (9 credits):
ESCI 334 Geological Field Methods ESCI 627 Sequence Stratigraphy ESCI 636 Well Logging and Petrophysics ESCI 663 Structure and Evolution of Tectonic Systems ESCI 506 Carbonate Depositional Systems ESCI 504 Siliciclastic Depositional Systems ESCI 544 Hydrocarbon Exploration (AAPG Imperial Barrel competition) ESCI 567 Unconventional Energy Exploration MGMT 610 Fundamentals of the Energy Industry
Additional Electives for both focus areas:
COMP 556 Introduction to Computer Networks CEVE 528 Engineering Economics and Management ESCI 654 Geographic Information Science STAT 518 Probability and Statistics STAT 615 Introduction to Statistical Computing and Computer Models CAAM 378 Introduction to Operations Research ECON 601 Energy Economics MGMT 661 International Business Law MGMT 674 Production and Operations Management MGMT 676 Social Enterprise POST 501 Energy Policy
Please note: The General Announcements (GA) is the official Rice curriculum. In the event that there is a discrepancy between the GA and any other websites or publications, the GA shall prevail as the authoritative source.
Graduates of the Professional Master's Program at Rice University are employed currently by a wide variety of petroleum exploration and production companies, and by petroleum service companies.
Internship providers, Employers, and Program Supporters include:
Anadarko, Apache, Baker Hughes, BHP Billiton, CGG Veritas, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, DownUnder Geosolutions, ExxonMobil, Fairfield, Halliburton Landmark, HESS, Hart Energy, Hilcorp, ION Geophysical, INEXS, In-Depth Geo, Kerogen Explorations, Schlumberger, Hillcorp, Inc., Lynn Inc., Marathon Oil, MicroSeismic, Inc., Oasis Petroleum, Occidental Petroleum, Paradigm, PGS, Repsol, Shell, Schlumberger, Southwestern Energy, Statoil, Roxanna Oil, Southwestern Energy, Task Geosciences, Total E&P, Turkish Petroleum Co., Weatherford, and others.
Admission to graduate study in subsurface geoscience is open to qualified students holding a bachelor’s degree in a related science that includes coursework in geoscience, general chemistry, physics, calculus, and differential equations. Department faculty evaluates the previous academic record and credentials of each applicant individually.
To apply, please send the following items:
Completed application (apply online).
Three personal letters of recommendation - recommenders can now submit their letters online.
General GRE scores (use the code 6609 for Rice; do not worry about a department code).
Official transcripts from all universities attended.
TOEFL scores (if required).
Cost & Fees
The Professional Master's Program requires three semesters of tuition (total of $54,000) and a nominal fee to continue full-time student status during the semester that the student is involved in his or her internship.