Ph.D. Program

The doctoral program provides students with the tools they need to perform novel research in the Earth and environmental sciences. The program provides our graduates with the disciplinary credibility and the interdisciplinary vision they need to advance careers in academia, government, and the private sector. Students combine course work with advanced research under the supervision a faculty advisor. The doctoral program assumes a basic undergraduate foundation in the geosciences. Students lacking such a background may be required to complete certain additional coursework before or during their graduate program. Ph.D. candidates are expected to have taken two semesters (or equivalent) of a college-level physics or chemistry course before admission, and must complete, or have completed, a minimum of two semesters of college-level calculus before completing their degree. Students are encouraged to obtain broad backgrounds by taking courses in geology, geophysics, and environmental geosciences along with the other sciences and mathematics.


Deadline for fall admission is
January 10.

Curriculum and Requirements

Students in field

Ph.D. students are required to complete the equivalent of 48 credit hours of graduate level course work beyond their bachelor’s degree of which 18 credit hours may be completed through Ph.D. thesis research courses. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program who have already earned a M.S. degree in an earth or environmental sciences related field may have up to 30 course credits approved from their prior graduate course work. All Ph.D. students will take an interdisciplinary course focused on Broader Impacts and Integrated Research. In addition, students must pass a comprehensive oral examination by the end of their 4 th semester and enter into candidacy by preparing and defending a thesis proposal within one year of passing their comprehensive exam. Finally, students must complete and defend a research-based thesis, of which one chapter must be devoted to the Broader Impacts of their work.

A summary of the regulations for graduate students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences as well as information for enrolled and prospective graduate students can be found in the Graduate Student Regulations and Procedures Handbook. The Handbook will be updated to include information specific to the PhD program in the coming months.