Ph.D. Geological Sciences-Atmospheric Science

Atmospheric Science website

Course requirements

A total of 90 credit hours, including dissertation and 30 credit hours of course work approved for graduate of which a minimum of 20 credit hours must be taken within the Department of Geological Sciences including formal courses, problems, seminars, techniques, research. At least 12 credit hours must from a list of courses specific to Atmospheric Sciences defined by the Department of Geological Sciences. Current courses that can satisfy this requirement are the following:

  1. EAS G540 Physical Meteorology and Climatology
  2. EAS G534 Dynamic Meteorology
  3. EAS G537 Advanced Synoptic Meteorology and Climatology
  4. EAS G538 Air Pollution Meteorology
  5. EAS G556 Wind Power Meteorology
  6. EAS G564 Dynamic Meteorology: Boundary-Layer Meteorology
  7. EAS G570 Micrometeorology
  8. EAS G576 Climate Change Science

Internal or external minor in a related field (including chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, statistics, sustainable-energy science and environmental sciences).


Each candidate for the Ph.D. degree must pass three distinct examinations

  1. The Preliminary Examination
  2. The Qualifying Examination
  3. The Defense of Dissertation

The preliminary exam is taken in the January after matriculation. It consists of a written exam set by the Ph.D. Admissions Committee (typically the CGS), and a brief interview with the Ph.D. Admissions Committee. Questions on the written exam require reasoning, integration of geological concepts, demonstration of quantitative skills and elucidation of research ideas. A broad understanding of geological systems, including surficial and deep-earth processes, is expected rather than specialized knowledge in sub-disciplines.

The qualifying exam is taken when all coursework, including minor and foreign language or research skill requirements have been completed. It consists of three parts:

  1. Preparation of a research proposal reviewed by the student’s Research Committee
  2. A written exam set and evaluated by the student’s Research Committee
  3. An oral examination which includes a formal presentation of the proposed research and discussion of the written exam, proposal, and research plans.

Success in the qualifying exam formally admits a student to Ph.D. candidacy.

The dissertation defense consists of three parts:

  1. Public presentation of the dissertation research
  2. An open session of questions and discussion
  3. A rigorous closed oral examination held by the student's Research Committee