Ph.D. in Applied Earth Sciences

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The Ph.D. program prepares students for academic positions or research and leadership positions in local, state, national, or private environmental organizations.  The goal of the program is to prepare future researchers and leaders who assess complex environmental systems and assist in providing sound options and solutions for optimizing human-environment interactions.

Admission Requirements

The degrees are conferred through the Indiana University system, and entering students must meet the minimum admission requirements of the Graduate School of Indiana University and departmental requirements.

Degree Requirements

Upon admittance to the program, students are assigned a preliminary advisory committee from among program faculty.  Students identify an appropriate sub-discipline after their first year, and the preliminary advisory committee is reconstituted into a research committee to suit the research goals of the student.  The research advisory committee ensures successful progress in later coursework, coordinates oral qualifying exams, and advises students in their progress to degree completion as appropriate.  Students must complete all degree requirements within six years of beginning the study program, and must maintain a B (3.0) average.

Program Guidelines (PDF)


Research specialization at the Ph.D. level is supported by concentrations in water resources, geochemical processes, and physical Earth, which provide students with adequate technical expertise to excel in research and to be able to apply defined skills to a wide range of problems in applied earth sciences. Students must identify their course concentration cluster by the second semester of enrollment in the Ph.D. program. Students will take courses within their cluster, with guidance from their research advisor and research committee, and one course from each of the other clusters.

All Ph.D. students must also complete a minor, which is comprised of 12 to 15 credit hours of coursework in a related area. The minor is chosen in consultation with the research committee.

Students are required to take written and oral qualifying exam in their fourth semester. The written exam will have a question from each of the concentration areas, approved by all committee members. The oral exam will be a continuation of the written exam, and will include a presentation by the student of their research proposal. The exam will be attended by all members of the student's research committee. Upon successful passing of the oral exam, the student is officially advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D.

Soon before completion of the program, all students will be required to present their results in a research defense, which must be passed before students are granted the Ph.D. degree.