Doctor of Philosophy

The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering offers Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Geology and Geological Engineering.

PhD in Geology

The Doctor of Philosophy (Geology) academic program requires a minimum of 72 hours of course and research credit hours (a maximum of 9 credit hours may be 400-level course work).  At least 24 of the hours must be research credit hours and at least 36 must be course credit hours.  Students who enter the PhD program with a thesis-based Master’s degree may transfer up to 36 semester hours in recognition of the course work and research completed for that degree (up to 24 of these semester hours can come from previous graduate-level course work).   The specific courses and total number of hours that may transfer are at the discretion of the student’s Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee. All Doctor of Philosophy (Geology) students must pass a comprehensive examination, which is expected to be conducted immediately following the semester in which the required 36 course credit hours have been completed, and no later than by the end of the second year of their program.  This timing may be adjusted for part-time students. This examination will be administered by the student’s Doctoral committee and will consist of an oral and a written examination, administered in a format to be determined by the Doctoral Committee. Two negative votes in the Doctoral Committee constitute failure of the examination. Depending on the outcome of the qualifying examination, the Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee can recommend students to take up to 6 additional course credits. In case of failure of the qualifying examination, a re-examination may be given upon the recommendation of the Doctoral Committee and approval of the Graduate Dean. Only one re-examination may be given. Students must also complete an appropriate thesis based upon original research they have conducted and are encouraged to have submitted at least two manuscripts based on the dissertation work for publication in peer-reviewed scholarly journals before defending their thesis.  A thesis proposal and course of study must be approved by the student’s Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee before the student begins substantial work on the thesis research.

 

Prerequisites for Doctor of Philosophy Degree

No specific pre-requisites are required for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy (Geology) Degree program. However, it is highly recommended that the candidates have the following courses prior to application:

  • General Geology
  • Structural Geology
  • Field Geology (6 weeks)
  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Chemistry (3 semesters, including at least 1 semester of physical or organic)
  • Mathematics (2 semesters of calculus)
  • An additional science course (other than geology) or advanced mathematics
  • Physics (2 semesters)

The student’s committee will reserve the right to request that students complete additional identified courses prior to granting of a degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Geology).

PhD in Geological Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy (Geological Engineering) academic program requires a minimum of 72 hours of course and research credit hours (a maximum of 9 credit hours may be 400-level course work). At least 24 of the hours must be research credit hours. Students who enter the PhD program with a thesis-based Master’s degree may transfer up to 36 semester hours in recognition of the course work and research completed for that degree (up to 24 of these semester hours can come from previous graduate-level course work). The specific courses and total number of hours that may transfer are at the discretion of the student’s Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee.

All Doctor of Philosophy (Geological Engineering) students must pass a comprehensive examination by the end of the second year of their program. This timing may be adjusted for part-time students. This examination will be administered by the student’s Doctoral committee and will consist of an oral and a written examination, administered in a format to be determined by the Doctoral Committee. Two negative votes in the Doctoral Committee constitute failure of the examination. In case of failure of the qualifying examination, a re-examination may be given upon the recommendation of the Doctoral Committee and approval of the Graduate Dean. Only one re-examination may be given. Students must also complete appropriate thesis based upon original research they have conducted. A thesis proposal and course of study must be approved by the student’s Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee before the students begins substantial work on the thesis research.

Core Competencies for Geological Engineering Degrees

The candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Geological Engineering) must have completed the following or equivalent subjects prior to graduation. These may be satisfied through previous bachelors-level coursework or during the graduate program. Credit will only be granted for 400-level or graduate-level course that are equivalent to the titles below.

Mathematics

  • Calculus (2 semesters)
  • One semester of any two of:
    • calculus III
    • differential equations
    • probability and statistics
    • numerical analysis
    • linear algebra
    • operations research
    • optimization

Basic Science

  • Chemistry (2 semesters)
  • Mineralogy and Petrology
  • Physics (2 semesters)
  • Stratigraphy or Sedimentation
  • Physical Geology
  • Computer Programming or GIS

Engineering Science

  • Structural Geology
  • One semester in four of the following subjects:
    • Physical Chemistry or Thermodynamics
    • Statics
    • Mechanics of Materials
    • Fluid Mechanics
    • Dynamics

Engineering Design

  • Field Geology
  • Engineering Geology
  • Hydrogeology
  • One semester in three of the following subjects:
    • Foundation Engineering
    • Engineering Hydrology
    • Geomorphology
    • Remote Sensing or GIS
    • Introductory Geophysics
    • Engineering Geology Design
    • Groundwater Engineering Design
    • Other engineering design courses as approved by the program committee

Program Requirements for Geological Engineering Degrees

In addition to the core competency requirements, the Doctor of Philosophy degree with specialization in Engineering Geology/Geotechnics require:

GEGN532

GEOLOGICAL DATA ANALYSIS

3.0

Candidates must also take at least three of the following:

 

GEGN563

APPLIED NUMERICAL MODELLING FOR GEOMECHANICS

3.0

GEGN570

CASE HISTORIES IN GEOLOGICAL ENGINEERING AND HYDROGEOLOGY

3.0

or GEGN673

ADVANCED GEOLOGICAL ENGINEERING DESIGN

GEGN573

GEOLOGICAL ENGINEERING SITE INVESTIGATION

3.0

GEGN575

APPLICATIONS OF GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS

3.0

or GEGN580

APPLIED REMOTE SENSING FOR GEOENGINEERING AND GEOSCIENCES

GEGN671

LANDSLIDES: INVESTIGATION, ANALYSIS & MITIGATION

3.0

Typically, the additional courses are selected from the following topical areas: engineering geology, groundwater engineering, groundwater modeling, soil mechanics and foundations, rock mechanics, underground construction, seismic hazards, geomorphology, geographic information systems, construction management, finite element modeling, waste management, environmental engineering, environmental law, engineering management, and computer programming.

Documents and Forms

A number of important forms can be accessed in interactive form at the Office of Graduate Studies website. Several forms (e.g., Admission to Candidacy form) must be filled out at that website and printed for signatures and submittal. The Graduation Application form should be completed and submitted online.

Following are the Thesis Committee Step-by-Step Guide for Graduation Commencement for December 2019 and May 2020.

Field Trip Forms (Three)