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Geology/MS thesis topic


I am looking for a thesis topic for my masters degree.  I have found what seems to me like a good opportunity to do some funded research and write my thesis on that.  

The topic will be on metamorphic structures and how and in what conditions the deformation took place.  I find the topic interesting and the research work will be fun.  The only problem I see is that this has little relevance to petroleum geology which is where I plan to work upon graduation.  

My question is how much of a ding on my resume will this be? My coursework still focuses on petroleum geology as that is the main industry here.  A little about my background: I have 2 years of experience doing LWD work for a large oilfield service company and my undergrad was in mech. engineering.

Thanks in advance for your help.


It can be a risk.  What an interviewer might ask is why did he do work on something that was basically an academic science project rather than on something that would further his knowledge in the line of work he planned on pursuing?

Hard rock geology despite the fact most geologists love it, is a dead end job wise unless you go for the PhD and plan to teach.  I loved it and was the Mineralogy Petrology TA and rock and mineral collection curator but went with oil and gas.

Is funding the only reason you are considering going in that direction?  Is it as a lab assistant?  or funded by some other entity.  

Too many grad students end up pursuing what a prof wants and not what will land them a job. I recently interviewed candidates for 3 open positions I had and I saw many instances of students getting directed in the path their profs wanted them to go either because they were at the wrong school to purse anything else (no profs had the expertise to support them in something more job oriented) or they didn't know what it was they wanted to do and anything sounded good to them.

If you could do something incorporating you LWD experience in the Shale Gas or Oil play that is red hot right now, you'll be able to name you own salary.  I interviewed one guy right out of school, and offered him in the $90's but he was able to pull down a cool $120K or more right out of school because he had experience in LWD and geosteering in the shale oil play.

Companies are screaming for people, and will be even more over the next few years since the "big crew change" is looming: retirements of people my age.  So experienced people will be pulling down a premium.

If you need money, why not see if you can get a stipend and teach as a grad teaching assistant.


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Keith Patton


I can answer questions concerning physical and historical geology, environmental geology/hydrology, environmental consulting, remote sensing/aerial photo interpretation, G&G computer applications, petroleum exploration, drilling, geochemistry, geochemical and microbiological prospecting, 3D reservoir modeling, computer mapping and drilling.I am not a geophysicist.


I have 24 years experience split between the petroleum and environmental industries. I have served as an expert witness in remote sensing, developmental geologist, exploration geologist, enviromental project manager, and subject matter expert in geology and geophysical software development.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists
American Association of Photogrammetrists and Remote Sensing

Bachelor and Master of Science
Registered Geologist in State of Texas

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