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Ph.D. in Geosciences

Primary Areas of Faculty Research:

  1. Basin evolution and analysis (including multiple aspects of petroleum geology that incorporate sedimentation structural geology, stratigraphy and geophysics)
  2. Crustal and mantle composition and tectonic evolution
  3. Neotectonics and dynamic geomorphology
  4. Geoinformatics (including GIS, remote sensing, GPS geodesy, and geospatial analysis)
  5. Groundwater dynamics, karst hydrology and limnology
  6. Paleoclimatology

The Department of Geosciences focuses on research and education dealing with the nature, genesis, and history of the Earth and the global environment, the evolution of landscapes and biota at the Earth's surface, and the advance of geospatial technologies. The Doctor of Philosophy degree is designed for students who are committed to scholarship in the geosciences and who wish to prepare for professional employment within the academic community, industry, or government. Geosciences research requires rigorous observation, quantitative analysis, and modeling in order to yield scientific results that are acceptable for publication in first-rate, internationally-ranked journals. Given the interdisciplinary nature of Geosciences, the Department of Geosciences encourages research including elements of space and planetary sciences, biological sciences, environmental sciences, physics and chemistry to address relevant problems at the boundaries of geoscience and other disciplines.

Applicants for the doctoral program must have completed the baccalaureate degree with a major in geosciences or an allied discipline. Students with academic preparation at the undergraduate or masters level in other disciplines of physical science, engineering, and mathematics are also encouraged to apply. All applicants must submit their scores on the Graduate Record Examination directly to the University of Arkansas Graduate School, provide three letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to assess the applicant’s academic potential, a personal curriculum vita, and a statement of academic and research interests. Contact the department for application materials.

Qualified students with a bachelor's degree or a master's degree may be accepted into the Ph.D. program. Academic requirements for admission to the program are listed in the table below. In addition, prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Department of Geosciences faculty with similar research interests to initiate dialogue regarding availability for mentoring, potential research topics, and research funding opportunities.

Requirements for Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Geosciences:

  • Minimum Undergraduate GPA: 2.85 on a 4.0 system
  • Minimum Graduate GPA: 3.20 on a 4.0 system
  • Minimum GRE Verbal: 153
  • Minimum GRE Quantitative: 144
  • Minimum GRE combined Verbal and Quantitative: 297
  • Minimum GRE writing: 4
  • International students only: a minimum score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), 79 on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or a 58 on the Pearson Test of English - Academic (PTE-A), taken within the preceding two years
  • MS/MA requirements: 24 units graduate courses, 6 hours thesis
  • Recommendations: Three (3) letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to assess the applicant’s academic potential
  • Ph.D. course requirements: 24 units graduate courses; 18 hours dissertation; completed original dissertation research.
  • No course with a grade of less than a C (graduate or undergraduate) will be accepted as fulfilling prerequisites.
  • Acceptance by an adviser
  • Other: Current Curriculum Vita; Statement of academic and research interests

Course Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree:

  • 24 course hours beyond the U of A MS/MA degree or equivalent.
  • GEOS 5023 Technical and Proposal Writing for the Geosciences
  • It is strongly recommended that two courses be taken outside of the department that are supplementary to the students interests and dissertation topic. These may be 3000-level undergraduate courses, if approved by the Advisory Committee and the Graduate School.
  • No more than 3 hours of Special Problems or Independent Research
  • Dissertation - 18 hours to be taken after admission to candidacy.

Any waivers to these requirements must be appealed to the Advisory or Dissertation committee and the departmental Graduate Adviser.

The student must maintain a 3.0 GPA in course work taken for the Ph.D. degree.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is primarily a research degree, but communication of that research is critical for professional development and required for most professional pursuits. To promote development of the communication skills, each student is required to teach labs and/or a course for at least one semester and to present scientific results at one or more national or international professional meetings.

This information can also be found in the Catalog of Studies. Please refer to the catalog for the most up-to-date information.