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Doctor of Philosophy in Geology

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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Doctoral students can specialize in any area of faculty expertise, including hydrogeology and geophysics. Prospective Ph.D. candidates are subject to the same initial requirements as master’s students. The master’s degree is not a prerequisite for doctoral aspirancy. A student with good background and good performance during the first 2 semesters may be invited to proceed directly toward the doctorate.

The student’s advisory committee and the student construct a curriculum that offers the best preparation for the chosen field of interest and satisfies the research skills requirement. Each student is expected to enroll in courses in supporting fields to develop a multidisciplinary approach to geology.

Research Skills

The department does not require specific foreign languages or other research skills for the Ph.D. Instead it gives advisory committees authority to develop curricula that prepare students for their chosen fields. With the approval of the advisory committee, the student may meet the research skills requirement by taking a curriculum or by completing a combination of languages, research skills, and courses. The curriculum in lieu of research skills is normally at least 3 graduate-level courses outside the department that are relevant to the specialty. The curriculum must be approved by the graduate adviser, and a list of these courses must be in the student’s file. This curriculum or the research skills must be completed before the oral comprehensive examination can be taken.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

Admission to Candidacy

To be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy, a student must pass an oral comprehensive examination on the specialty in geology in which the student is doing doctoral research and on other relevant areas of geology or supporting sciences. The student must prepare and have approved a research proposal based on the doctoral research project before the oral comprehensive examination. The examination is based on the material presented in the proposal and its application to geology in general. The examination is conducted by a 5-member faculty committee; 1 member of the committee must be from a department other than geology and is appointed by Graduate Studies on recommendation of the department. This committee is also responsible for conducting a final oral examination based on the doctoral dissertation. A 3-person committee supervises research and preparation for the dissertation.

Shared Doctoral Program with Kansas State University

The department has a shared education program whereby doctoral students may study under the direction of a faculty member of the Department of Geology at Kansas State University, with a KU faculty member as co-chair of the dissertation committee. After one year of course work in Lawrence to fulfill the residence requirement, students may enroll at Kansas State University. Degrees are awarded by KU. For specific information on departmental practices in shaping individual curricula, in controlling general examinations, and in evaluating dissertation proposals, contact the department graduate adviser.

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