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Washington State University

Ph.D. Geology

Program Description

The Ph.D. dissertation should be a significant contribution to the science of geology, worthy of publication in referred international journals.

Geology Ph.D. candidates are required to choose an area of specialization in Geology listed below. Each specialization outlines required courses and provides additional help to design a program. The student’s program should be one of, or a combination of not more than two areas. The choice of course options and electives on the program will be based on the student’s research interest and needs. Undergraduate pre-requisites must be satisfied for all courses within the selected program, and will not count for graduate credit. It is expected that the Ph.D. degree requirements with previous M.S. degree be completed in three years (full-time enrollment, with assistantship); Ph.D. degree requirements without previous M.S. degree be completed in four years.

If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree under the advisement of one of our faculty members start by visiting their website and contacting them directly.

Geology Ph.D. candidates must take 30 hours of 500-level graded major course work (If you enter the Ph.D. program with a master’s degree you are only required to take 15 credit hours of 500-level graded major course work). The thesis program must consist of not less than 34 hours of graded coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree. It should include the most advanced courses appropriate to the field of study. Of the minimum 34 hours required, up to 9 credits of non-graduate credit (300- or 400-level) may be used. Graded seminars numbered 500 or above may be a part of the core program. Courses graded Pass/Fail may not be used in the core program. Only those master’s degree and transfer courses at a level equivalent to 400- and 500-level courses, and applicable to the doctoral core program should be listed in this category. Any course included in the program in which a grade of “C-” or below is earned must be repeated but not on a Pass/Fail basis.

In addition to the core requirement, the program shall show Research and Additional Studies. This includes Special Projects 600, and Doctoral Research 800 (minimum of 20 hours). This category may also include additional graded or Pass/Fail courses and seminars taken at WSU. The program may not include courses that are audited. Credit in this category, plus that in the core program must total at least 72 hours.

Geology Ph.D. candidates must enroll in SOE 598 (Seminar) a minimum of 2 semesters.

Both preliminary and final exams will be required to test the candidate’s knowledge of geology with emphasis on the work presented in the dissertation and general fields of knowledge pertinent to the degree.

Areas of Specialization

The Geology graduate program offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees with specializations in:

  • Sedimentology-Stratigraphy
  • Structural Geology-Tectonics
  • Mineralogy-Petrology-Geochemistry
  • Hydrogeology
  • Geophysics/Geodynamics