The M.S. degree in geoscience is regarded by most hiring agencies as the working degree. The master's program in geoscience prepares students for employment in industry or for doctoral study. 

The Master of Science program in geoscience requires a minimum of 30 s.h. of graduate credit. Students may count up to 8 s.h. of research credit toward the 30 s.h. required for the degree. They must earn at least 24 s.h. toward the degree in University of Iowa courses taken after they enroll in the program. All entering students are required to enroll in EES:5070 Geologic Orientation during the fall semester of their first year in the graduate program. Students also must complete EES:5010 Geoscience Seminar Series each semester until they defend their thesis.

Throughout their graduate study, students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 3.00 in all course work required for their degree and in all graduate-level geoscience course work. Students whose grade-point average drops below 3.00 are placed on academic probation.

During the second semester of study, each student should propose an advisory committee of at least three faculty members to the department chair for approval. Thesis students are responsible for obtaining their advisory committee's approval of a suitable program of course work and for satisfactory development of research plans as outlined in a thesis proposal, which should be completed and approved by the department chair before the end of the second semester of full-time study. The thesis typically has depth and breadth similar to those of a published research paper. Thesis students must deliver a half-hour public presentation of their thesis, followed by an oral defense. They also are required to present their research at a local, regional, national, or international meeting approved by the department chair before they may graduate.

Students are encouraged to present their research at local, regional, national, or international meetings. The department provides partial funding for travel to such meetings.

Detailed information about graduate degree requirements and timelines for making satisfactory progress toward a degree is available under "Graduate Student Guidelines" on the Graduate Programs web page of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences website.

All geoscience graduate students must meet the admission and degree requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College (particularly sections IX, X, and XII). They also should acquaint themselves with the University calendar, for deadline dates and so forth.

Career opportunities are readily available for geoscience graduates. Professional geologists work in resource companies, environmental corporations, educational institutions, conservation agencies, urban planning, state and federal geological surveys, and government resource and research organizations. Companies such as ExxonMobil routinely recruit Iowa graduates on campus.

The Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.