FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


What type of funding is available to supported students?

Graduate Assistantships (GAs) are available on a competitive basis for full-time students. Generally GA assignments fall into two categories: instructional support and research support. Duties vary by assignment. Supported students may also be awarded with additional graduate scholarships. Please indicate on your application if you are interested in an assistantship.


Are tuition waivers provided for funded students?

All state-funded institutions in Texas are not allowed to waive in state tuition. To help students cover these expenses the Kimbell School of Geosciences will award additional scholarships on a competitive basis. In certain circumstances, merit scholarships to non-Texas residents may provide a waiver for additional out-of-state tuition.


Can undergraduate transfer students enroll in the combined 5-year program?

Students that still hold undergraduate status can apply directly to the combined 5-year program as long as they are in their junior year and meet all admission requirements. 


What constitutes a strong application?

The application process is competitive. Each professor can only oversee a limited number of students - so even highly qualified applicants may not gain admission. Applicants are encouraged to put together the strongest possible application. While no one attribute is an exclusive factor in acceptance, strong GPA and GRE scores are favorable attributes. Strongly positive recommendation letters are an asset: select referees who are well respected, know you well, and view your efforts favorably. Ask them for a recommendation well ahead of the deadline, and provide them with details of your background and any required forms or procedures, and inform them of any and all deadlines.


Can an MSU professor serve as a reference?

If you attended Midwestern State University, you will most likely want a recommendation from one or more of your professors here. You are encouraged to ask your former professors to complete a recommendation on your behalf, including those from the Kimbell School of Geosciences.


Should I bother applying if my GRE scores and/or GPA are lower than the stated requirements?

The Geosciences program does have minimum requirements for acceptance into the program, but exceptions can be made for students that are relatively close to the requirements, have exceptional personal statements, and/or have extenuating circumstances.  Please elaborate on these issues in your application.


What types of extracurricular activities are available in the Kimbell School of Geoscience?

A variety of opportunities are available for both undergraduate and graduate geoscience students.  We have an active geoscience club that takes trips each semester to national parks, museums, and other places of interest. There are also active chapters for the national geoscience honor society (Sigma Gamma Epsilon) and the American Association of Petroleum Geology (AAPG).

The Geosciences program encourages students to participate in the North Texas Geological Society, which brings in monthly luncheon speakers.  Each semester, students also participate in a variety of other activities, such as fund raisers, Earth Day festivities, and volunteer opportunities at the River Bend Nature Center.


What is graduate school like at Midwestern State University?

Midwestern State has an active and thriving geoscience program, with considerably more undergraduate than graduate students.  This allows graduate students to take a more senior role as mentors.  In addition, the number of graduate students working in each research lab is relatively small, which facilitates a large amount of contact time with their thesis supervisor and committee members.

We encourage prospective students to contact current students with any additional questions about graduate student life at Midwestern State.


What is Wichita Falls, Texas like?

Wichita Falls is a small city with a population of approximately 105,000 people.  It’s conveniently located about a 2-hour drive from both the Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City metropolitan areas. It has a newly constructed airport with regional jet service to DFW. It is home to Sheppard Air Force Base, which is an international NATO training facility. Attractions include community theater (the Wichita Theater and the Backdoor Theater), the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, the River Bend Nature Center, the Museum of North Texas History, the Kemp Center for the Arts, and Castaway Cove Water Park. Wichita Falls hosts a major annual cycling event each August: The Hotter than Hell Hundred.

Wichita Falls is on the Rolling Plains of Texas, a region of gentle topography underlain by Permian fluvial sediments. The city is home to numerous parks and Lake Wichita. The city boasts a 18-mile bike/running/walking trail loop that runs by the lake and through the larger parks. It's an hour south of the rugged granite hills of the Wichita Mountains, which includes a National Wildlife Refuge with expansive public park lands. It's an hour and one half west of the intensely deformed carbonate outcrops of the Arbuckle Mountains. It's an hour and half east of the incised Permian strata of Copper Breaks State Park, and three hours east of Caprock Canyon State Park, the rugged and picturesque edge of the High Plains.

The city is home to a number of independent oil and gas operators, consulting firms, and allied industries. There are a number of employment opportunities afforded to our students and recent graduates.


Who do I contact for questions regarding the graduate program?

Please contact Dr. Andrew Katumwehe (andrew.katumwehe@msutexas.edu) for admission and program inquiries.  Specific faculty may be contacted regarding details of potential thesis projects.