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Fifth-Year MS

University of Michigan students who are currently pursuing an Earth and Environmental Sciences major are eligible for our fifth-year Masters program. Students who are interested in the fifth-year MS are strongly encouraged to discuss their plans with their EARTH undergraduate advisor early in their junior year. The GRE test is not required for students applying to this program.

The specific credit requirements for the fifth-year MS degree are identical to the two-year MS degree and include:

  • Satisfactory completion of 24 credits at the graduate level (includes both course work and research)
  • Satisfactory completion of 22 credits in course work (with a maximum of 4 credits in seminars)
  • Satisfactory completion of 12 credits in EARTH course work
  • Satisfactory completion of 4 credits of graduate-level cognate work; Rackham Graduate School requires a minimum grade of B- for cognate courses
  • Rackham requires a minimum cumulative grade point average of B (3.00 on a 4.00 point scale) for all graduate students.

Students can transfer up to 12 credits of graduate level courses from their U-M undergraduate education and are encouraged to do so in order to allow for sufficient time for thesis research. Note that double counting is not allowed. Graduate level courses can be transferred that were not used to satisfy any requirements for the bachelor's degree. Even if a student has credits above the 120 required for graduation, but a course was used to fulfill a specific degree requirement, that course cannot be transferred. The transfer of credit form and transfer of credit guidelines may be found on Rackham's website.

Fifth-Year MS Thesis
Students in the fifth-year MS program complete a capstone experience that synthesizes and causes reflection on their education progress. In most cases, this experience is a publishable scientific paper or a report on a research project. We require that students be engaged in active research/research experience prior to matriculation that will lead to their MS thesis.

Because of the accelerated timeline, it is expected that students will make a full-time commitment to the program and will not engage in full- or part-time work or activities apart from their research. We also expect students to remain in residence until the thesis is completed, even if coursework is complete.

Application Deadline
Applications for Fall admission are due January 5, including letters of recommendation.

How to Apply
Application information may be found in the Graduate Program section of the Department's website. Applications must be completed online. Three letters of recommendation are required to be submitted online. However the GRE and TOEFL are waived for 5th year MS applicants.

Admission to the 5th year MS program is competitive. Applicants are strongly advised to have completed or plan to complete the following before matriculation into the program:

  • One full year of calculus (MATH 115 and MATH 116 or equiv)
  • One full year of another science such as chemistry, physics or biology
  • Introductory statistics
  • Undergraduate research experience
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher

Applications require a research prospectus submitted as the Academic Statement of Purpose. The prospectus should outline the motivation, goals and methods of the proposed thesis research. It should also include a timeline for completion in order to demonstrate the feasibility of the work for the one-year program. Students should also seek a supporting letter from their potential faculty advisor. Such a letter is required and should explicitly state the willingness of the faculty member to advise the student and provide the necessary research funding for completion of the MS thesis.

The personal statement on the application should include a detailed description of how this degree will advance your professional goals, including specific skills and a career plan.