Doctoral Program


Minimum G.P.A. of 3.00 (on a 4.0 scale) for last 2 years undergraduate work and at least a 3.20 G.P.A. in Master's-level classroom work in geology (this includes 7000-level courses) taken as a graduate student.

MU Master of Science degree

The equivalent of the MU Master of Science degree in geology or in another related science is normally required of each student prior to admission to the Ph.D. program. Students with outstanding first year graduate records, however, may bypass the Master's degree upon petition to the faculty.


The equivalent of 3 full years of graduate work (72 hours) is required. One year's credit is normally granted for the Master's degree.

Qualifying Exam

After filing a formal Application for the Ph.D., the student must take the departmental Ph.D. Qualifying Exam following the first semester in residence. This is a written and oral exam administered by a committee and other interested faculty. Passing this exam enables the student to form a PhD Adivsory committee and plan the Ph.D. Program of Study.

Outside classes

All PhD students must take at least three classes (9-12 hours) outside of the Department, at the 7000 level or higher, as approved by their PhD Advisory Committee. This requirement can be satisfied by non-Geology graduate credits taken elsewhere and accepted by the Graduate School.

Comprehensive Exam

After the Program of Study is completed the student must take the Comprehensive Exam—typically in their 4th semester. The written portion of the exam is a research proposal, followed by an oral defense of the proposal.


After the Comprehensive Exam is successfully passed, the student can devote full attention to the required dissertation. The dissertation is expected to be an original piece of research that is a genuine contribution to geology. Continuous registration (fall, winter and summer) is required until the degree is received.

Oral presentation

The student is required to make an oral presentation of the results of his dissertation research before faculty and students as the project nears completion. A separate defense of the dissertation occurs during the Final Examination after the dissertation has been read by the supervisor and committee members.

Each year Ph.D. students will submit a report outlining their progress toward degree.

Note: International students for whom English is a foreign language must submit a minimum TOEFL score 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based) or minimum IELTS of 6.5 (average) to be considered for admission.

Contact Info

Director of Graduate Studies

Martin Appold


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