Graduate students in the Geology doctoral program are expected to develop a mastery of their field, and gain familiarity with their discipline from arrival to graduation.
In particular, full-time doctoral students who arrive with a baccalaureate degree normally will:
- Become engaged in research during their 1st year.
- Identify a thesis adviser by the beginning of their 2nd semester.
- Identify a thesis topic by the beginning of their 3rd semester.
- Secure admission to candidacy within 2 years, 3 at a maximum.
- Publication of some research results prior to graduation.
- Complete all requirements and graduate within 4-6 years.
Graduate students in the Geology doctoral program normally may expect:
- A wide selection of courses.
- Advice and mentoring by the Director of Graduate Studies and faculty in their program prior to the selection of an adviser.
- From their adviser (or, in some instances the program):
- Regular access and advice during the research and thesis writing process.
- Training in the preparation of oral and written scholarly presentations; in particular, advice and support for the writing of at least one paper for publication.
- Introductions, for example at conferences, to other members of the field.
- Assistance and advice with job searches.
Additional information regarding Ph.D. policies can be found on the Grad School website.
Coursework - Ph.D. Program
|Entering with MS*||Entering without MS|
|Minimum course credits||12||30|
|Credits in ≥ 600-level courses||9||21|
|Credits in Geology courses||9||24|
*Subject to PhD committee approval, students entering with an MS from the UMD Department of Geology will not be required to take coursework credits beyond those completed for their MS degree.
Credits to be applied to a student's Ph.D. program cannot have been used to satisfy any other previously earned degree. Students may take substantially more than the minimum credits in coursework depending on their academic preparation and research objectives. A written course of study must be approved by the student's advisor and by the Director of Graduate Studies during the first semester (with MS) or first year (without MS) of the student's matriculation. In the case of an interdisciplinary study, an appropriate program approved by the Director of Graduate Studies may include fewer Geology courses than listed above.
Advancement to Candidacy - Proposal Defense
The student will provide a written proposal of the work planned for the dissertation and take one oral examination prior to the dissertation defense. This written proposal and examination will serve as both the criterion for admission to candidacy and the proposal defense. During the oral examination, the student will be questioned on:
- the written proposal, and
- general knowledge with special reference to areas related to the proposed research.
Proposal defense examination is normally taken by:
|Students entering with MS||Students entering without MS|
|Beginning of 4th semester||Beginning of 5th semester|
Ph.D. students must be advanced to candidacy by the end of the sixth semester to remain in the Ph.D. program.
The student will be examined by a committee that will consist of at least four members, all of whom must be members of the UM Graduate Faculty. Normally, at least two of the members must be full tenure track/tenured members of the Graduate Faculty in Geology. The Chair of the Committee normally must be a full tenure track/tenured member of the Graduate Faculty in Geology. The membership of this committee must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies prior to the examination. Two or more negative votes by a member of the Committee will constitute a failure of the candidacy examination. In the event of failure, the Committee may recommend re-examination. Normally, this examination can be retaken only once. Please visit Guidelines for writing the MS/PhD Research Proposal for proposal guidelines.
Please visit Guidelines for writing the MS/PhD Research Proposal for proposal guidelines.
Timelines and Forms
- Ph.D. Proposal Defense
Complete Graduate Committee Approval Form
At least 2 weeks prior to defending the PhD proposal, the student, after consultation with their advisor, must submit a completed Graduate Committee Approval form. This form is completed and signed by the Graduate Director and turned in to the Graduate Coordinator. Please note that this is an internal form and will not be sent to the Registrar. This is a department requirement and for department purposes only. Please visit the Grad School website for questions regarding faculty member status.
Please visit Procedure to Nominate an External Committee Member section of this page for instructions on how to nominate an external member to your committee.
It is highly recommended that external committee members be nominated and approved at the proposal defense stage. This will allow ample time to address any issues that may arise and will allow for a smooth nomination process when students are ready to submit their formal committee nomination request when they are ready to defend their thesis.
- Reserve Room for Proposal Defense
Once your form has been completed and signed, the proposal defense can be scheduled. Students typically reserve an internal conference room in the Chemistry building (0215 Geochemistry Conference Room or 2223C Teleconference Room) to conduct their proposal defense.
- Approval of Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Form
Bring the Approval of Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal with you to your scheduled proposal defense. This will allow you to receive all necessary signatures once you pass your scheduled proposal defense.
- Advance to Candidacy
Complete the Approval of Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal and Application for Admission to Candidacy forms
After a successful proposal defense, the student must bring their completed Advancement to Candidacy and Approval of Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal form to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval. Once approved, deliver approved forms to the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator will scan and email the approved Application to Candidacy form to the Registrar's office. Students must be advanced to candidacy at least one year prior to graduation.
Once the forms are processed by the Registrar, doctoral candidates are automatically registered for six (6) credits of Doctoral Dissertation Research (899), for which they pay the flat candidacy tuition.
Complete Mid-States Evaluation form (to be completed by advisor)
After the proposal defense, the student's advisor must complete the Mid-States form and turn the form in to the Graduate Coordinator.
Finally, submit a copy of your approved proposal to the Department IT contact (Todd Karwoski).
Please note, Ph.D. students must be advanced to candidacy by the end of the sixth semester to remain in the Ph.D. program. For part-time students, the deadline may be extended by the Director of Graduate Studies.
- Ph.D. Proposal Defense (Failure Procedure)
In the event of failure, the Committee may recommend re-examination. Normally, this examination can be retaken only once. The scheduling of the second proposal defense and candidacy exam must occur within six months of the first attempt. In cases of the student failing the second attempt, the student's Ph.D. degree program is terminated.
The defense of a student's dissertation will be scheduled after the main advisor has seen a draft of the thesis and has determined that the thesis is in a defensible form. A copy of the dissertation in final form will be distributed to the Committee members no less than two weeks before the date of the exam.
The Ph.D. Committee will preside over the dissertation defense and will normally consist of five members, all of whom must be members of the UM Graduate Faculty. The Chair of the Committee will normally be a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Geology Department and is normally the advisor. This Committee must also include a Dean's representative who is approved by the Dean of the Graduate School and is not a member of the Geology Department. The membership of this Committee must be approved by the Departmental Director of Graduate Studies prior to the examination. The defense of the dissertation will consist of a public presentation with opportunity for questions and a subsequent private meeting between the Dissertation Committee and the candidate. The possible results of this examination are: 1) pass or pass with minor revisions; 2) deferral of decision; or, 3) failure. The student passes if one member refuses to sign the Report, but the other members of the Dissertation Examining Committee agree to sign, before or after the approval of recommended changes. Two or more negative votes constitute a failure of the candidate to meet the dissertation requirement. In the event of deferral, re-examination is required, normally by the same committee. In the event of a pass, any final revisions will be given to the successful candidate at this time. The final copy to be presented to the Graduate School must be in proper University form and must be presented for inspection to the main advisor before the final signing of the form. It will be expected that this final copy of the dissertation would then be filed with the Graduate School during the same day.
Please reference the following when preparing to write your Ph.D. Dissertation Defense:
Timelines and Forms
Apply for Graduation
Students typically apply for graduation in the term they anticipate defending their dissertation. Please note that the registrar will roll the student's graduation term to the next term should the student not complete their dissertation in the term indicated on the application to graduate. Deadlines to apply for graduation can be found at the Grad School website.
Ph.D. Dissertation Policy and Forms
**Normally, Ph.D. candidates are expected to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. Degree before the beginning of the eleventh semester of enrollment.**
For questions regarding dissertation templates and the EDT Style Guide, please visit the Grad School website for Thesis & Dissertation Filing.
- Dissertation Defense
Nomination of Thesis or Dissertation Committee Form
At least three months prior to the defense the student, after consultation with the advisor, must submit a completed Nomination of Thesis or Dissertation Committee Form to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval. Please provide the signed and completed form to the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator will scan and email the completed form to the Registrar's office.
For more information about procedures for the oral dissertation presentation and the Dean's representative, please visit the Grad School website.
If you would like to nominate an external member to your committee, please follow the directions provided below:
Procedure to Nominate an External Committee Member
Committee members from outside the University may be appointed as Special members of the Graduate Faculty to serve on Ms/PhD student committees. This process takes time, as the materials must be evaluated and approved at multiple levels within the University. The process including approval by the Graduate School must be completed prior to submitting the committee approval form.
If you wish to nominate an external member to your committee, please have your advisor submit a formal request to the Graduate Director with the following information:
- Up-to-date CV of the nominee.
- Text describing the suitability of the individual to serve on the student's committee.
Please note, advisors should submit this request to the graduate director at least two (2) months before the Nomination of Thesis/Dissertation Committee Form is due (and therefore at least 5 months before they plan to defend the dissertation).
Special members are appointed for five-year terms.
Students are encouraged to initiate the process prior to their proposal defense.
Report of Examining Committee
Once the advisor receives the confirmation email from the Registrar that the Nomination of Thesis or Dissertation Committee Form has been processed, the advisor can then submit a request for the Report of Examining Committee form. (Instructions on how to submit this form will also be provided in the confirmation email sent from the Registrar’s office.)
Please note: The Report of Examining Committee Form can only be generated once the Nomination form has been completed and confirmed by the Registrar’s office.
About 3-5 business days prior to the student’s scheduled defense, the Grad School will send the Report of Examining Committee Form to the student’s advisor. This form is in Adobe Sign format. All committee members will receive a link via email to the Electronic Report of Examining Committee in Adobe Sign.
Please note that it is OK to defend on a different date than what is listed on the Report of Examining Committee form. A new form will not need to be submitted for a date change. However, should there be a change in committee, a new form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar.
Schedule Dissertation Defense
After consultation with advisor and Director of Graduate Studies, the student should schedule date and time of defense and schedule a conference room and a room for the public seminar. The Graduate Coordinator will help schedule a seminar room via the 25Live room booking system. The Graduate Coordinator will add the date and time of the defense to the Geology Department Calendar. It is the student's responsibility to advertise their defense via email listserv and paper announcements.
Completed Thesis Forms - The Report of the Examining Committee will be sent to the Grad School after the successful completion of your defense and when all members of your committee have electronically signed the form.
*Effective December 2, 2021, thesis and dissertation students are no longer required to submit the Electronic Publication Form as part of their graduation requirements, although submission and publication of the thesis/dissertation is still a requirement for graduation. Students may place an embargo of up to two years on electronic access to their document through ProQuest's Digital Dissertations and DRUM without approval from the Graduate School. Approval from The Graduate School via the form above is required to place an embargo for a maximum of six years or indefinitely.
Please visit the Grad School website for questions regarding Thesis and Dissertation Filing.
Graduation deadlines can be found at the Grad School website. Please consult the Graduate Coordinator if a deadline may be missed.
Upon completion of your dissertation defense, the Department asks that graduates complete an Exit Survey. Click here to access the short (<5 minute) survey.
Forms and Templates
- Graduate Committee Approval form (** Updated 6/10/2009 **)
- Approval of Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal form
- Application for Admission to Candidacy
- Mid-States Evaluation of Graduate Students form
- UMD Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Style Guide - 2015
- Apply for Graduation
- Nomination of Thesis and Dissertation form
- Thesis and Dissertation Electronic Publication form