Jun 17, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Geology, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences  
Department: Geology 

*Deadline for students seeking assistantship/fellowship support is one month earlier. Foreign student applicants should provide their materials as early as is feasible to permit time to meet immigration and visa requirements if admitted.


The mission of the Geology Ph.D. program is to facilitate student success through the delivery of high-quality, skills-based Geology courses that investigate the earth and the processes that affect our planet.  It also aims to generate knowledge and foster intellectual development by undertaking high-impact scholarship focusing on local, state, national, and global problems; and to develop community, industrial, and professional partnerships to advance career and service opportunities for a diverse student body.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • 3 letters of recommendation,
  • personal statement,
  • listing of previous coursework,
  • Writing sample,
  • Areas of interest form
  • transcripts

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours:

42 Credit Hours post master’s
72 Credit Hours post bachelors

  • Core Requirement - 6 Credit Hours
  • Electives - 9 Credit Hours
  • Research coursework - 15 Credit Hours
  • Dissertation - 12 Credit Hours

Core Requirements (6 Credit Hours)

Electives (9 Credit Hours Minimum)

Structured coursework, of which at least fifteen hours must be at 6000 level, selected with the advisor from the following list, or other graduate course as approved by the Graduate Director:

Research Course Requirements (15 Credit Hours)

Determined at the discretion of the student’s committee

May include:

Qualifying Exam and Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy will be based on the results of a general examination administered by the student’s committee. The format of the exam will be determined by the Committee at least one week prior to the onset of the examination. Normally, it will consist of a written section or sections, followed by an oral examination chaired by the student’s research advisor. After admission to candidacy, all doctoral students will make at least one formal presentation of their research prior to graduation. Any appropriate venue is acceptable, e.g., Dept. colloquium, oral or poster sessions at a scientific meeting of at least regional scope.

General examinations and presentations of dissertation proposals should be completed no later than the end of the second year in the doctoral major or at the time determined by the student’s committee. The examining and dissertation committees are the same and will be comprised of no less than four members, at least three of which must be USF faculty, and at least one member from outside the department, preferably outside USF.

Dissertation (12 Credit Hours)

Other Information

For students entering with a Bachelor’s Degree, 30 additional credit hours are required.  Students are recommended to satisfy the requirements similar to that of a MS degree during the first two years of the Ph.D. study.

All doctoral students must maintain good standing in the Office of Graduate Studies (overall GPA =3.00) and maintain satisfactory academic progress toward the degree. Any student who receives a C in a structured course will be placed on academic probation. This probation can be terminated by achieving grades of B or higher in the subsequent semester of full-time enrollment. If a second grade of C is received, the student is terminated from the doctoral major. Only courses in which the student receives at least a B may be counted toward the structured-course requirement. There is also a requirement that Ph.D. students have at least two semesters of full-time residence. While meeting the residency requirements, candidates must be full-time students in good academic standing. A schedule for meeting these requirements is contained in the Department’s Graduate Student Handbook.