Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

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The Program

Rutgers' Graduate Certificate in Quaternary Studies is a multidisciplinary program allowing students to specialize in the study of the last few million years in earth's history--the Late Cenozoic and Quaternary geologic time periods. The program explores the interaction of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere of these years, during which fluctuations in climate triggered the development of continental-scale ice sheets, caused major changes in sea level, and initiated major migrations of animal and plant communities. These changes shaped our contemporary physical environment and stongly influenced evolution. This period saw the dawn ofHomo sapiens and the simultaneous extinction of many other groups of organisms. Our knowledge of Late Cenozoic and Quaternary events helps researchers understand current environmental changes and may enable them to anticipate future changes affecting the earth and its inhabitants.

The program offers students the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research in the fields of anthropology, geology, geography, biology, meteorology, and environmental science. Based on a broad, multidisclipinary approach, the program provides the necessary theoretical and practical background for students pursuing careers that may require specialized knowledge of the Late Cenozoic and Quaternary periods.

Certificate Requirements

To earn the Graduate Certificate in Quaternary Studies, students must fulfill all degree requirements in the major program of study, including two courses in other participating programs that focus on the Quaternary period. In addition, the certificate requires enrollment for one semester in the Quaternary Studies Seminar. If a thesis is required for the degree, it should focus on the Late Cenozoic or Quaternary time period.

A Graduate Certificate in Quaternary Studies, signifying special achievement in this field, is awarded along with the master's or doctoral degree in the student's major discipline.


For a full list of QSA alumni and their graduate research topics, click here.

For More Information about Quaternary Studies at Rutgers

Contact: Gail M. Ashley, Director

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Rutgers University
Wright Geological Laboratory
610 Taylor Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8066
(732) 445-2221, 2044
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