Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy in Geology program is designed for graduate students who want to study the geology of ore deposits and be supervised and mentored by some of the world-class academics in a dynamic and multicultural environment. Students in this program are motivated by scientific curiosity, the desire to contribute to the academic community, service to others, and personal development. The degree provides an important requirement for a career in academia. Many leaders in industry and government also hold a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Program Information


The Doctor of Philosophy in Geology academic program requires a minimum of 72 hours of course and research credit hours.  At least 24 of the hours must be research credit hours and at least 36 must be course credit hours.  Students who enter the PhD program with a thesis-based Master’s degree may transfer up to 36 semester hours in recognition of the course work and research completed for that degree (up to 24 of these semester hours can come from previous graduate-level course work). The specific courses and total number of hours that may transfer are at the discretion of the student’s Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee.

All Doctor of Philosophy in Geology students must pass a comprehensive examination, which is expected to be conducted immediately following the semester in which the required 36 course credit hours have been completed, and no later than by the end of the second year of their program.  This timing may be adjusted for part-time students. This examination will be administered by the student’s Doctoral committee and will consist of an oral and a written examination, administered in a format to be determined by the Doctoral Committee. Two negative votes in the Doctoral Committee constitute failure of the examination. Depending on the outcome of the qualifying examination, the Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee can recommend students to take up to 6 additional course credits. In case of failure of the qualifying examination, a re-examination may be given upon the recommendation of the Doctoral Committee and approval of the Graduate Dean. Only one re-examination may be given.

Students must also complete an appropriate thesis based upon original research they have conducted and are encouraged to have submitted at least two manuscripts based on the dissertation work for publication in peer-reviewed scholarly journals before defending their thesis.  A thesis proposal and course of study must be approved by the student’s Doctoral Thesis Advisory Committee before the student begins substantial work on the thesis research.


The candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Geology must have completed the following or equivalent subjects, for which credit toward an advanced degree will not be granted.

  • General Geology
  • Structural Geology
  • Field Geology (6 weeks)
  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Chemistry (3 semesters, including at least 1 semester of physical or organic)
  • Mathematics (2 semesters of calculus)
  • An additional science course (other than geology) or advanced mathematics
  • Physics (2 semesters)

Please contact the Mines faculty members who are most closely aligned with your research interests.