Earth and Quaternary Sciences: Thesis Option (Accelerated MS)

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Fast-track your education and career in the earth sciences. Earn your bachelor’s plus your master’s degree with the Earth and Quaternary Sciences Accelerated Master’s (4+1) Program at Indiana State University.

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Program Availability

The Earth and Quaternary Sciences Accelerated Master’s is a traditional, on-campus program offered on the Indiana State University campus in Terre Haute, Indiana. The program is open to eligible U.S. and international undergraduate students enrolled in bachelor’s degrees at Indiana State University.

Why Choose the Earth and Quaternary Sciences Accelerated Master’s Program at Indiana State?

If your educational and career goals include earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in an earth sciences field, then the Earth and Quaternary Sciences Accelerated Master’s program is an ideal pathway, saving you time and money.

Go Further Faster

As a student completing a bachelor’s degree at Indiana State University, you may be eligible to participate in the Earth and Quaternary Sciences Accelerated Master’s (4+1) program. This degree option enables you to combine undergraduate and graduate courses and begin your master’s during your senior year of undergraduate study. This dual enrollment pathway enables you to complete your Master of Science (MS) in Earth and Quaternary Sciences one year after completing your bachelor’s degree. This program includes a thesis.

It is important to contact an academic advisor early in your studies to determine your eligibility, discuss program and GPA requirements, and plan your program of study.

Alumni Mentor Program

Networking and connecting with alumni who have similar interests is a key tool for success. The advice and interaction that our Alumni Mentor Program offers will help you prepare for job searches and a successful career. As a graduate student, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of this program.

Learn from Our Excellent Faculty

You will benefit from small class sizes that enable you to work one-on-one with faculty who have teaching and research experience covering a broad range of environmental and geoscience topics. Faculty work closely with students to achieve research and learning goals.

Research facilities include laboratories for remote sensing/GIS, climatology, urban environment and sustainability, environmental geology, biogeochemistry, geomorphology, biogeography, spatial analysis, paleoceanography, marine science, micropaleontology, sedimentary petrology, dendrochronology, geoarchaeology, archaeology, and bioanthropology.

What You’ll Learn in the Earth and Quaternary Sciences Program

The Earth and Quaternary Sciences Accelerated MS combines exciting interdisciplinary courses and research options to provide a strong background in geology and the geosciences. A thesis is required.

Our program emphasizes hands-on learning in the field and the lab, with a focus on applied, interdisciplinary research in areas such as environmental geology, geochemistry, geoarchaeology, biogeochemistry, oceanography, geomorphology, climatology, paleoecology, dendrochronology, biogeography, and geobiology, among others. Courses are also offered in the more traditional areas of stratigraphy, petrology, geohydrology, volcanology, economic geology, remote sensing/GIS, and physical geography.

Earth and Quaternary Sciences (Thesis Option) (Accelerated M.S.) 

Career Possibilities for Earth and Quaternary Sciences Graduates

The Earth and Quaternary Sciences Accelerated MS provides the strong background needed to pursue careers with government and private geoscience agencies or to continue graduate studies at the doctoral level.

Our graduates are extremely successful in securing university-level academic positions as well as high-salaried, decision-making positions with the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, CIA, ESRI, Inc., ERDAS, Inc., British Geological Survey, Indiana Geological Survey, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and environmental firms.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of geoscientists is projected to grow 5% from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage was $87,480 in May 2022. Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 6%, with a median annual wage of $76,480 in May 2022. Employment of geographers is projected to remain steady from 2022 to 2032. The median annual wage was $88,900 in May 2022.

A white female student in a white lab coat looks towards the camera in a lab.

Saving Wild Rice Through Geology

Through internships and research projects in the Geology program, Indiana State alumna Elynor Head, ’23, helped to save a species of wild rice from extinction.

Read about Elynore Head’s field experiences.


Indiana State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Higher Learning Commission