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I. Preliminary Degree Plan

To facilitate the progress of students, every student that enters our program must complete a Preliminary Degree Plan by the end of the first semester of study. Forms for Master's students can be found here.  Forms for Ph.D. students can be found here.   A four year course plan is available to help you with completing your Degree Plan.


II. Credit hour requirements

The Master's program has a 30 hour requirement (including thesis I and thesis II) as well as additional enrollment in Seminar every semester. The PhD program has a 60 hour requirement (including dissertation I and dissertation II) which may include up to 24 hours transferred from a Master's program earned up to 6 years prior to entering the PhD program. In addition, students will also be required to register for Seminar hours every semester.


III. Comprehensive (Qualifying) Exams

A Comprehensive Examination Part I, demonstrating the student's mastery of general knowledge required for completion of a doctorate in Geological Sciences, is required of all students and is expected to be completed during their second semester of enrollment.  This examination will be administered by a committee of five faculty members from the Department of Geological Sciences, approved by the Department's Graduate Studies Committee.  The student's Comprehensive Examination Committee may pass the student without noting any deficiencies, may pass the student conditionally with deficiencies that must be remedied (for example, by completing and passing certain courses within a specified time frame), or may fail the student and require the examination be retaken within a specific time frame.  Any student who fails the Comprehensive Examination twice shall be barred from further consideration for Doctoral Candidacy.
The student's Doctoral Committee will administer the Comprehensive Examination part II.  The Comprehensive Examination Part II is expected to be completed in the semester following successful completion (with all deficiencies removed) of the Comprehensive Examination Part I.  The Comprehensive Examination Part II will consist of an oral defense of the student's written Dissertation Proposal in front of their Doctoral Committee, followed by questioning by the committee.  The written dissertation proposal, approved by the student's doctoral advisor, must be submitted to the Doctoral Committee no less than 14 days before the examination.

IV. The Thesis and Dissertation

A Master's Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation is required. This thesis/dissertation must demonstrate the candidate's capacity for originality and independence in recognizing a significant research question, in carrying out an effective investigation, and in interpreting and reporting the results.  The subject of the thesis/dissertation is to be selected in consultation with the student's advisor, and it must be approved by the student's Committee.  The candidate is required to successfully defend the thesis/dissertation in an open meeting under the supervision of his or her Committee.  A draft copy of the thesis/dissertation, approved by the student's advisor, must be submitted to the Committee 14 days before the defense.

V. Progress Reports

In addition to the above mentioned, PhD. students are required to have an annual meeting with their committee to record and plan their progress toward completion of their degree. Incoming students are  required to turn in the Milestone's Agrement (graduate school forms), returning students will turn in a progress report (graduate school forms) with the appropriate signatures.