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College of Arts & Sciences
School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Geological Sciences Doctoral Degree Program Requirements

Ph.D. in Geological Sciences

The Doctor of Philosophy degree program prepares students for professional careers and leadership positions in industry, government and academia in the fields of geology, geophysics, geochemistry and ocean science. Ph.D. students are expected to conduct independent, original scientific research and to have an understanding of the fundamental principles and practices related to primary areas of the earth and/or ocean sciences. Training involves developing the ability to use appropriate laboratory and field equipment, and expanding one’s understanding of scientific methodology, quantitative problem-solving skills and experimental or numerical techniques. The School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment (SEOE) expects all graduates to possess effective oral and written communication skills.

Upon admission to the Doctoral program, a Ph.D. student must ensure satisfactory progress towards the degree, including:

(1) Selection of a Dissertation Advisor from the faculty of the SEOE (prior to admission)

(2) Formation of Doctoral Committee (1st year) - see FORMS page

(3) Dissertation Qualifying Examination (2nd year); faculty assessment forms due following presentation -see FORMS page

(4) Submission of Ph.D. Program of Study (2nd year) - see FORMS pagee

(5) Adjustment of Ph.D. Program of Study (if necessary) - see FORMS page

(6) Acceptance of a peer-reviewed manuscript for publication (at least 60 days before Defense) - see FORMS page

(7) Comprehensive Examination (at least 60 days before Defense); faculty assessment forms due following presentation -see FORMS page

(8) Submission of a second manuscript to a peer-review journal (at least ~30 days before degree award) - see FORMS page

(9) Dissertation Defense (at least ~30 days before degree award); faculty assessment forms due following presentation -see FORMS page

(10) Final Dissertation Signature and Approval Form - see FORMS page


Although a Ph.D. degree can be earned in three years, the median time for graduation is four years, assuming satisfactory progress. There are several time limitations that, if not met, may lead to coursework expiration or termination from the program.