The department provides detailed information about current graduate degree requirements and timelines for making satisfactory progress toward a degree in the document "The University of Iowa Guidelines for Graduate Study in Earth and Environmental Sciences"; see Graduate Student Guidelines under Graduate Program on the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences website.

Geoscience graduate students are encouraged to present their research at local, regional, national, or international meetings. The department provides partial funding for travel to such meetings.


The Doctor of Philosophy degree in geoscience requires a minimum of 72 s.h. of graduate credit. The Ph.D. requires a dissertation, which has the approximate research content of three published papers.

Throughout their graduate study, Ph.D. students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 3.00 in all course work required for their degree and in all graduate-level geoscience course work. Students whose grade-point average drops below 3.00 are placed on academic probation.

Ph.D. students usually enter the program with established fields of interest and a research advisor already selected. Under exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted to the Ph.D. program without an established field of interest.

Entering Ph.D. students must consult with a research advisor or the department's director of graduate study before they enroll in courses. By the first month of their second semester of doctoral study, all Ph.D. students must select an advisor. Each student also must select a thesis topic and forward it to the department chair for approval by the end of the first month of the second semester of doctoral study.

Within broad limits, Ph.D. students should select courses that reflect their individual needs, interests, and talents; their advisor and advisory committee must approve their course selections.

During the second semester of doctoral study, each Ph.D. student should propose an advisory committee of at least five faculty members to the department chair for approval. Before the end of the second semester of doctoral study, students must obtain their committee's approval of a suitable plan of study to be submitted to the department chair for approval. In consultation with the advisor and other faculty members, each doctoral candidate prepares a formal dissertation proposal approved by their committee and submitted to the department chair for approval by the end of the candidate's third semester of doctoral study.

Students are required to include in their plan of study at least 18 s.h. of regular course work taught by tenured or tenure-track faculty members of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Students must earn the 18 s.h. after being admitted to and enrolling in the Ph.D. program. Directed study and research credit do not count toward the required 18 s.h.

All entering graduate students are required to enroll in EES:5070 Geologic Orientation during the fall semester of their first year in the graduate program. Ph.D. students must enroll in EES:5010 Geoscience Seminar Series each semester they are registered until they successfully defend their dissertation, or for two consecutive semesters after the semester in which they pass their comprehensive examination, whichever comes first.

After earning their first 24 s.h. of graduate credit, Ph.D. students must be enrolled at least two consecutive semesters in full-time study (at least 9 s.h. per semester) at the University of Iowa; or they must be enrolled three consecutive semesters for at least 6 s.h. per semester at the University, during which time they hold at least a one-quarter-time assistantship that is certified by the department as contributing to their doctoral program.

Students should complete most of their course work before taking the comprehensive examination, which consists of both written and oral portions and which must be passed before the end of the fourth semester of doctoral study.

Once Ph.D. candidates have passed the comprehensive examination, they are required to register each semester until they receive the degree. Candidates who have completed their plan of study may register for GRAD:6002 Doctoral Continuous Registration or GRAD:6003 Doctoral Final Registration.

Students must submit their written dissertation to the committee at least two weeks before the final examination. All Ph.D. candidates must deliver a one-hour public presentation associated with the dissertation defense. They also are required to submit a manuscript presenting the results of their graduate research to a refereed journal or other publication approved by the department chair before they may defend their dissertation.

All geoscience graduate students must meet the admission and degree requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College (particularly sections IX, X, and XII). They also should acquaint themselves with the University calendar, for deadline dates and so forth.

The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students for future employment in higher education or research and to bring them to the forefront of a specialized area of geoscience. The doctoral degree is required for college and university faculty positions and for some research positions in industry.

Career opportunities are readily available for geoscience graduates. Professional geologists work in resource companies, environmental corporations, educational institutions, conservation agencies, urban planning, state and federal geological surveys, and government resource and research organizations.

The Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.