Dec 07, 2023  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Earth Sciences, (PhD)

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PhD Degree Program

Program objectives are: (1) understanding in at least one of the major disciplines of earth science and principles and concepts of that discipline with a more in-depth knowledge in the chosen research focus or foci; (2) expertise in experimental design, data analysis, and oral and written presentation of research results; and (3) competitive for professional positions in the field earth sciences.

Nature of the Program

The doctorate prepares the student for a research career, primarily by establishing a broad knowledge of one of the basic areas of geography, geology, or geophysics, and through the experience of successfully completing a dissertation of original research. The prescribed examinations will permit the student to demonstrate mastery of his or her chosen fields of expertise. The individual curriculum will reflect the student’s preparation and the demands of the dissertation topic selected, and will assure a strong general knowledge of Earth Sciences.

Program Requirements

  1. Completion of a minimum of 72 semester hours beyond the bachelor’s degree or a minimum of 40 semester hours beyond the masters degree. The courses to be completed shall be determined in consultation with the student’s graduate committee.
  2. Satisfactory performance on the Qualifying Examination. The Qualifying Examination will be given at the beginning of the third semester of residence, on or before a date set by the discipline Graduate Coordinator. At least one week prior to the examination date, a PhD student will present to his/her committee an abstract describing a topic that involves original research. The abstract should be no longer than one page and must describe an original concept or approach to a research problem with a suspected positive outcome deduced by the student. The subject may or may not become part of the dissertation. The exam will begin by the student giving a 15 to 20 minute presentation of the material in the abstract. An oral exam, not to exceed two hours, will follow covering (primarily) the topic described in the abstract but the questions can and should broaden to other areas.
  3. Satisfactory completion of a Comprehensive Examination. The Comprehensive Examination will be given at the beginning of the fifth semester of residence, on a date set by the Graduate Coordinator. The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to determine the student’s understanding of the chosen field of specialization (“depth”) as well as general knowledge in earth sciences (“breadth”). The comprehensive examination will consist of a two-day (12 hours maximum) written examination followed no more than two days later by a two-hour oral examination. The oral examination will be used to clarify any points left in question by the written responses. A student should consult his or her dissertation advisor and graduate committee regarding the areas in which comprehension is expected.
  4. Submission of two manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals or books.
  5. Completion and successful defense of a dissertation: (ESCI 9000 ) at least 9 hours. NOTE: Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write.

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