Doctor of Philosophy

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

The Geological Engineering degree requires possession or acquisition of an undergraduate engineering degree or its equivalent. Graduate students desiring to study ground water, engineering geology/geotechnics, mining engineering geology and some environmental applications are generally expected to pursue the Geological Engineering degree. Students desiring to study petroleum or minerals exploration or development sciences, geochemistry and/or geology generally pursue Geology or Geochemistry degrees. Students are initially admitted to either geoscience or geological engineering degree programs and must receive approval of the GE department Graduate Advisory Committee to switch degree categories.

PhD in Geology

The requirement for Doctor of Philosophy (Geology) program will be established individually by a student’s Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee, but must meet the minimum requirements presented below. The Doctor of Philosophy (Geology) academic program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the Bachelor degree  (a maximum of 9 credit hours may be 400-level course work), with a minimum of 36.0 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. At the discretion of the student’s Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee, up to 24 semester hours of previous graduate-level course work (at CSM or elsewhere) can be applied towards the course requirement of the Doctor of Philosophy (Geology).  Students who have previously earned a thesis-based Master’s degree will typically take a minimum of 6 course credits and 6 research credits each of the first two semesters of their residence.

Each entering student will select an appropriate Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee who will decide if any deficiency coursework is necessary and establish the course of study . All Doctor of Philosophy (Geology) students must pass a qualifying examination, which is expected to be conducted immediately following the semester in which the required 36 course credit hours have been completed. The examination will be administered by the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee and will consist of a written and an oral part. 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 the case of failure of the comprehensive examination, a re-examination may be given upon the recommendation of the Thesis Advisory Committee and the thesis advisor.  Students must prepare and defend a thesis proposal that must be approved by the student’s Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee before the student begins substantial work on the thesis research. Students must also complete and defend 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.

Prospective students should submit the results of the Graduate Record Examination with their application for admission to graduate study. In the event that it is not possible, because of geographic and other restrictions, to take the Graduate Record Examination prior to enrolling at Colorado School of Mines, enrollment may be granted on a provisional basis subject to satisfactory completion of the examination within the first year of residence.

Prerequisites

The candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Geology) must have completed the following or equivalent subjects, for which credit toward an advanced degree will not be granted.

  • 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)
PhD in Geochemistry

The Geochemistry Program is an interdisciplinary graduate program administered by the departments of Geology and Geological Engineering and Chemistry. The geochemistry faculty from each department is responsible for the operations of the program. Students reside in either the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering or the Department of Chemistry.

The requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) program will be established individually by a student’s thesis committee, but must meet the minimum requirements presented below. The Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) program will require a minimum of 72 credit hours. At least 24 hours must be research credit and at least 18 hours must be course work. Up to 24 hours of course credit may be transferred from previous graduate-level work upon approval of the thesis committee. Research credits may not be transferred. Students who enter the Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) program with a thesis-based Master of Science degree from another institution may transfer up to 36 semester hours, upon approval of the thesis committee, in recognition of the course work and research completed for that degree. Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) students must take:

  • CHGC503: Introduction to Geochemistry
  • CHGC504: Methods in Geochemistry

In addition, all students must take a one-hour laboratory course, plus two additional courses selected from the following list:

  • CHGN503: Advanced Physical Chemistry,
  • CHGC509: Introduction to Aqueous Geochemistry,
  • GEOL512: Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry,
  • CHGC610: Nuclear and Isotopic Geochemistry

Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) students must also complete an appropriate thesis, based upon original research they have conducted. A thesis proposal and course of study must be approved by the student’s thesis committee before the student begins substantial work on the thesis research.

Doctor of Philosophy (Geochemistry) students residing in the Department of Chemistry or the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering shall adhere to the seminar rules and requirements of the department of residence.

PhD in Geological Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy (Geological Engineering) degree requires a minimum of 72 hours course work and research combined. Requirements include the same courses as for the Master of Science (Geological Engineering) with the additions noted below. After completing all coursework and an admission to candidacy application, the Dissertation is completed under GEGN706 Graduate Research Doctor Of Philosophy. The content of the dissertation is to be determined by the student’s advisory committee in consultation with the student. The dissertation must make a new contribution to the geological engineering profession. The format of the dissertation will follow the guidelines described under the Thesis Writer’s Guide. A minimum of 24 research credits must be taken. Up to 24 course credit hours may be awarded by the candidate’s Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee for completion of a Master of Science degree (at Mines or elsewhere).

In addition to the common course requirements, a PhD specializing in Engineering Geology/Geotechnics requires additional course work tailored to the student’s specific interests and approved by the doctoral program committee. (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.)

In addition to the common course requirements listed previously, a PhD specializing in Ground Water also requires:

  • GEGN581 (3) Advanced Groundwater Engineering
  • GEGN669 (3) Advanced Topics In Engineering Hydrogeology
  • GEGN681 (3) Vadose Zone Hydrology
  • GEGN683 (3) Advanced Ground Water Modeling

and additional course work tailored to the student’s specific interests, which are likely to include chemistry, engineering, environmental science, geophysics, math (particularly Partial Differential Equations), microbiology, organic chemistry, contaminant transport, soil physics, optimization, shallow resistivity or seismic methods. The student’s advisory committee has the authority to approve elective courses and any substitutions for required courses.

In addition to the common course requirements, a PhD specializing in Mining Geology also requires:

  • GEGN468. Engineering Geology & Geotechnics (4) or
  • GEGN467. Groundwater Engineering (4)
  • GEGN518. Mineral Exploration (3) or
  • GEGN528. Mining Geology (3)
  • GEGN505. Applied Structural Geology (3)
  • GEOL515. Advanced Mineral Deposits (3)
  • GEOL516 New Developments in the Geology and Exploration of Ore Deposits (2)
  • MNGN523. Special Topics-Surface Mine Design (2) or
  • MNGN523. Special Topics- Underground Mine Design (2)

Additional course work suited to the student’s specific interests and approved by the doctoral program committee. (Typically, the additional courses are selected from the following topical areas: mineral deposits geology, mineral explora tion, mining geology, mineral processing, applied geophysics, applied geochemistry, engineering geology, environmental geology, geostatistics, geographic information systems, environmental or exploration and mining law, engineering economics/management, and computer sciences).

The candidate for the degree of Master of Engineering (Geological Engineer), Master of Science (Geological Engineering) or Doctor of Philosophy (Geological Engineering) must have completed the following or equivalent subjects. Graduate credit may be granted for courses at or above the 400 level, if approved by the student’s advisory committee.
Mathematics

Four semesters including: Calculus (2 semesters) and 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
  • and one semester in four of the following subjects:
    • Physical Chemistry or Thermodynamics
    • Statics
    • Mechanics of Materials
    • Fluid Mechanics
    • Dynamics
    • Soil Mechanics
    • Rock Mechanics

Engineering Design

  • Field Geology

As part of the graduate program each student must take one semester in two of the following subjects if such courses were not taken for a previous degree:

  • Mineral Deposits/Economic Geology
  • Hydrogeology
  • Engineering Geology

and also as part of the graduate program one semester in three of the following subjects if such courses were not taken for a previous degree:

  • Foundation Engineering
  • Engineering Hydrology
  • Geomorphology
  • Airphoto Interpretation, Photogeology, or Remote Sensing
  • Petroleum Geology
  • Introduction to Mining
  • Introductory Geophysics
  • Engineering Geology Design
  • Mineral Exploration Design
  • Groundwater Engineering Design

Other engineering design courses as approved by the program committee.

PhD in Underground Construction and Tunneling

Colorado School of Mines offers the only graduate degree program in Underground Construction and Tunnel Engineering in North America. The PhD program is offered jointly by the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geology and Geological Engineering and Mining Engineering, providing students with a wide breadth of knowledge from diverse perspectives. In addition, we are proud to have faculty and student researchers involved from the mechanical engineering, petroleum engineering, electrical engineering, geophysics and computer science disciplines.

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PhD in Hydrology

The Hydrological Sciences and Engineering Program at the Colorado School of Mines is an interdisciplinary graduate program comprised of faculty from several different Mines departments. The program offers fields of study in fundamental hydrologic science and applied hydrology with engineering applications.

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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.