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School of the Environment

Ph.D. Programs

School of the Environment faculty support the development of Ph.D.’s who are prepared to collaborate at the cutting edges of both disciplinary research and cross sector scholarship. We provide opportunities for innovative scientific inquiry, and training that supports flexibility and resilience required for work in agencies, consulting and academia.  Our students are financially supported through research assistantships and teaching assistantships that cover tuition, health insurance and a living stipend. We support the development of grant proposals and publications, travel to conferences, professional networking and access to world class labs and facilities.

Application Requirements

General WSU Graduate School requirements for admission must be met, including a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for the most recent 60 semester hours of undergraduate academic coursework. Specific requirements for our Ph.D. programs  include a TOEFL score of 600 (Paper-Based), 250 (Computer-Based), or 100 (Internet-Based) for students with English as a second language.

Normally completion of a Master’s degree (or equivalent) is expected for admission to the doctoral program. Admission to the program without subject matter deficiency requires at least 10 semester credits of completed coursework in basic biological and/or physical sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc.). Students may be admitted with deficiency with the expectation that the deficiency will be met through completed coursework (for non-graduate program credit) within one year of admission.

Each applicant must also be accepted by a faculty advisor before admission. Arrangements for a faculty advisor should be made through interaction between the student and the faculty member. The initial contact may be made either by the applicant or the faculty member.

Program Committee and Advisor

Each student will be assigned an advisor who will recommend a Dissertation Committee. The committee will consist of at least three members that must be Graduate Faculty. At the doctoral level, the committee also has the responsibility for the Ph.D. preliminary examination and the qualifying examination for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Preliminary Examination

Each student is required to pass a preliminary examination in order to become a candidate for the Ph.D. degree. This examination will be taken after most of the required course work has been completed, as determined by the thesis committee, and upon submission of a dissertation research proposal. It will consist of written and oral parts which will focus on the student’s major area of competency, courses taken, and the subject matter of the proposed research.

Dissertation and Final Examination

The final examination will be mainly a defense of the dissertation. All students are required to present a seminar to the faculty and public on their dissertation research.

Students can choose whether the final copy of the thesis is provided to the Graduate School in paper format or digital format. The candidate for degree will continue to submit two paper copies of the title page, two paper copies of the abstract, and two original signature pages–one on 100% bond. Signatures should be in black ink.

If the candidate selects to utilize the paper format, two unbound copies of the final dissertation must be provided to the Graduate School within five working days of passing your scheduled final examination:

  • One copy on 100% cotton rag paper with original signature page
  • One copy with original signature page (it is not necessary to have this second copy on 100% cotton paper)

Because a student only has five working days after defending their thesis to turn in the final version to the Graduate School, substantially all changes must be addressed prior to defending their thesis in the final exam. Consequently, your committee members need to have read your thesis prior to scheduling a thesis defense date. This means committee members should receive copies of your thesis at least 14 days before scheduling the final exam. Depending on your advisor and your writing ability, you should generally allow for three to four weeks prior to this for addressing the rough draft comments. One copy should be available in the main office for others to review 10 days before your scheduled defense.