Graduate Studies

Welcome to the Graduate Studies Site of The Department of Geology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM).

The main purpose of this page is to provide general information about procedures and admission requirements to the Master’s degree program in the Department of Geology. Also included is information on entrance requirements, costs/fees, options for economic assistance, and sources of additional information.



Research in the Department of Geology focuses primarily on investigations into geological, geochemical, and geophysical processes within the circum-Caribbean region.

Seismology and Hazards Group:

GeophysicsSolid Earth, Near surface, and exploration seism

Earthquake relocations using Ocean Bottom Seismometers (Lopez)

Seismology of the Caribbean (Lopez, Vanacore)

Tsunami modeling, earthquake hazards, PR Seismic Network operations (Huerfano, Lopez, Vanacore)

Computational and Deep Earth Seismology (Vanacore)

Landslides and Mass Wasting Hazards (Joyce)

Volcanic hazards and monitoring in Central America, the Lesser Antilles, and Mexico (Rodriguez)

Tectonics and Geodynamics Group:

Crustal Deformation of Plate Boundary Zones using GPS geodesy (Lopez)

Puerto Rico and Caribbean Plate Tectonics (Joyce, Santos, Lopez, Asencio, Hughes)

Stratigraphy of island arc sedimentary-volcano sequences (Santos)

Structural and Geochronologic evolution of the Appalachian orogen (Hughes)

Lithospheric evolution during rifting (Hudgins)

Surficial Earth Systems Group:

Carbonate sedimentology, petrology and diagenesis focused on Tertiary rocks (Ramirez)

Holocene coastal geology and Holocene coral reefs (Ramirez, Joyce)

Environmental Remote Sensing and GIS (Gilbes)

Karst hydrology, caves, and solutional landforms (Miller)

Tropical geomorphology of the Caribbean (Miller, Joyce, Hughes)

Volcano-atmosphere interactions (Rodriguez)

Earth and Planetary Evolution Group:

Aqueous alteration of primitive meteorites and mineral-fluid interactions (Chizmadia)

Magma chamber modeling (Hudgins)

Seismic imaging of Earth’s Interior from crust to core (Vanacore)

Evolution of the volatile budget in the mantle (Hudgins)



—GEOL 5005:  Marine Geology Ramírez
—GEOL 5006:  Sedimentation Ramírez
—GEOL 5020: Geophysics
—GEOL 5026:  Global Plate Tectonics López
—GEOL 5565:  Earthquake Seismology López, Vanacore
—GEOL 5605:  Geologic Hazards Joyce
—GEOL 5979:  Adv. Structural Geology and Tectonics Hughes
—GEOL 5990:  Adv. Stratigraphy and Sedimentology Santos
—GEOL 5993:  Adv. Geochemistry Chizmadia
—GEOL 5998:  Adv. Petrology Hudgins
—-Only 9 credits of 5XXX level courses can apply to MS requirements—–
—GEOL 6105:  Ground Failure in the Tropics Joyce
—GEOL 6107:  Geology and Tectonics of the Caribbean López
—GEOL 6115:  Volcanic Hazards Rodríguez
—GEOL 6116:   Seismic Reflection Exploration
—GEOL 6120:  GNSS and its applications in the Geosciences López
—GEOL 6145:  Microfacies Analysis Ramírez
—GEOL 6147:  Geology of Carbonates Ramírez
—GEOL 6205:  Advanced Seismology López, Vanacore
—GEOL 6215:  Environmental Geology Asencio
—GEOL 6225:  Adv. Remote Sensing in Geology Gilbes
—GEOL 6228:  Structural Analysis of Deformed Terrains Hughes, Joyce
—GEOL 6992:  Special Problems in Stratigraphy Ramírez, Santos
—GEOL 6993:  Special Problems in Geophysics



• The committee strongly encourages each potential candidate to contact a potential advisor for funding opportunities, research projects, and availability in a given research lab.

• Bachelor of Science degree in Geology or Earth Sciences from an accredited institution.

• Minimum 2.80 grade point average (those with a GPA between 2.50 and 2.79 may be considered at the discretion of the Geology Department Graduate Committee).  HAVING A GPA ABOVE 2.80 DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOUR ENTRANCE TO THE PROGRAM.

• Statement of interest detailing communication between student and potential advisor(s).

• All other documents required by the Graduate School.

• Students who do not meet these requirements can sometimes be admitted provisionally until the completion of deficiencies as defined by the Geology Graduate Admission Committee.  Courses taken as deficiencies will not count towards the graduate degree requirements listed below.



Applying to the Geology MS Degree Program should always be done with prior contact and discussion with a potential advisor.  See above for research concentrations of faculty in the department.

APPLICATIONS ARE ONLY MADE KNOWN AND AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT FROM THE GRADUATE SCHOOL AFTER THEY ARE 100% COMPLETE. This means that an applicant should verify with their potential advisor, a member of the graduate committee, or the departmental director and the Office of Graduate Studies that their application has been forwarded to the Department.

Each candidate is evaluated by the Graduate Committee and a decision is reached whether to admit or to reject.  The department director informs the graduate school and the applicant of the decision.  The graduate admissions process here does not make offers of admission during a similar timeframe as most US universities.  For admission in the fall semester (August), a decision may not be made until May of the same calendar year.  For admission in the spring semester (January), a decision may not be made until late November of the prior calendar year.  For this reason and for your personal planning purposes, it is of utmost importance that you consult with your potential advisor on the real likelihood of your acceptance.


Almost all graduate students are admitted with no guarantee of any type of funding from the department or university. One notable exception would be the case of international students, who may receive some type of guarantee in order to acquire a student visa.  Graduate students within their first 2 years of study qualify for possible Teaching Assistant duties: once again these are not guaranteed.  According to Section 7.2.1 of Certification 05-62, in cases of merit the director of Graduate Studies, by recommendation of the student’s advisor and the departamental director can extend the assistantship up to two more years, of which only one year can be from institutional funds. Tuition waivers exist for students with Teaching Assistantship duties. Students are encouraged to work on projects with advisors that currently have external funding for Research Assistantships or to apply for outside fellowships or external funding of any type.



1.  A student enrolled in the Master’s Degree program in Geology needs to approve a minimum of thirty-two (32) credit hours subsequent to the bachelor’s degree.

2.  three (3) to six (6) credit hours are for research for the Master’s thesis (GEOL 6999)

3.  two (2) credit hours are for graduate seminars (GEOL6505 & GEOL 6506)
4.  three (3) credit hours are for the course GEOL 6107 Geology and Tectonics of the Caribbean.

5.  fifteen (15) to eighteen (18) credit hours have to be approved in geology courses (amount depends on number of credits given for research),

6.  six (6) credit hours in courses outside of their field of specialization. The latter courses may be taken outside of Geology, or in areas within Geology but in specializations distinct from that of the student’s major.

7. Students will not be permitted to take more than six (6) credit hours of Special Topics to satisfy their graduation requirements.

8. As per university regulations, students will only be allowed to take a maximum of nine (9) credit hours in 5000 level courses.

9. Up to 9 credits of 5xxx or higher level classes that were passed with A or B during undergraduate degree study in the University of Puerto Rico can be applied toward your 32-credit requirement, even if the course were used to meet undergraduate requirements. (Part of Amendment 15-21 to Certification 09-09)

For more Information visit:

UPRM Graduate Studies Applicant Information Page (

Graduate Student Regulations GradSchool Certification
Assistantship Regulations
Geology Department Graduate Student Guidelines and TIME LINE

TA stipend amounts 2015-2016 (

UPRM Graduate Studies Costs (

American citizens from outside PR (

Tuition waiver form for students with Teaching Assistantships (

Tuition waiver form for students with Research Assistantships (

UPRM Graduate Catalog (

Or contact Graduate Committee:

President:  Dr. Stephen Hughes ( [at]
Coordinator:  Dr. Fernando Gilbes (fernando.gilbes [at]
Representative:  Dr. Thomas Hudgins (thomas.hudgins [at]
Alternate Representative:  Dr. Alberto Lopez (alberto.lopez3 [at]

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