Graduate Studies in Earth and Planetary Sciences
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences offers both the Master of Science and Doctor Philosophy degrees with a major in geology. Individuals interested in these programs should contact the Director of Graduate Admissions in the department and the faculty most closely related to the applicant’s research interests for information and application procedures.
For admission, an applicant must provide transcripts of previous university work, two rating forms or letters of recommendation, and GRE scores (general). Students are not normally admitted under non-degree status.
Various required forms covering the topics below can be found at the Graduate School Website:
- Graduate Student Deadline Dates
- Admission to Candidacy Application – Master’s Degree
- Doctoral Committee Appointment Form
- Admission to Candidacy Application – Doctoral Degree
- Scheduling Defense of Dissertation Form
- Graduate Student Travel Award Forms
Policy & Procedures for the Discretionary Fund (instructions on how to request funds)
Doctor of Philosophy Degree Candidates Checklist (Due to GPC by Aug 31 each year)
Master’s Degree Candidates Checklist (Due to GPC by Aug 31 each year)
Prerequisite for either graduate degree is a bachelor’s degree in the geosciences or related field (typically, but not exclusively, from the physical, natural, or life sciences or engineering). Upon admission a student selects a major advisor before entering the Department. Once a student is in residence and begins to develop their research plans, the student and advsior discuss the best possible individuals to form a committee that will be best suited for supporting the student. The Thesis/Dissertation Committee is primarily responsible for advising the student’s research activities, but also can modify the course curriculum based on the student’s area of research.
MASTER OF SCIENCE - GEOLOGY MAJOR
Successful completion of the master’s degree requires a minimum of 30 hours of approved graduate credit, including six hours of thesis credit, an approved written thesis proposal, successful oral defense of a written thesis, and a minimum 3.0 GPA in all graduate course work. The department also has separate course requirements in addition to University requirements. Students pursuing a MS degree must enroll in EPS 595 every semester they are in residence unless course or teaching conflicts preclude a student from being present. A student may apply a maximum of 2 credits towards graduation. Each student must also enroll in EPS 596 one time during their residency. Students also need to complete a committee-approved field experience, where a student has demonstrated proficiency in field-based Earth Sciences. In many cases this represents an undergraduate field camp course, although there are many acceptable alternatives.
All UT Theses, as well as undergrad honor's theses, are now deposited electronically in TRACE and are available here: http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_gradthes/.
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY - GEOLOGY MAJOR
Successful completion of the PhD requires a minimum of 24 hours of graded course work beyond that required for the master’s degree (i.e. a student entering the PhD program with a bachelor’s degree must complete 48 hours of graded course work), an additional 24 hours of dissertation credit, approval of a written dissertation proposal, completion of a comprehensive examination, and successful oral defense of a written dissertation.
After a written dissertation proposal is approved, students are required to pass a comprehensive examination, by no later than the end of a student’s third semester if having entered with a M.S. degree, or the fourth semester if having entered with a B.S. degree. The examination includes both written and oral components in which individuals are tested on their knowledge of their intended research area and related fields. The candidate is expected to be conversant across a wide range of the geological sciences.
The final written PhD dissertation will demonstrate high quality, original research by the student. Research results will be presented orally in a departmental seminar open to the public, and will be defended in a private defense restricted to the Dissertation Committee and interested departmental faculty.
In addition to University requirements, the Department has a number of compulsory additional course work requirements for the PhD. All students pursuing a PhD degree must enroll in course number EPS 595 every semester they are in residence unless course or teaching conflicts preclude a student from being present. A student may apply a maximum of 4 credits of EPS 595/596 toward graduation. Each student must also enroll in course EPS 596 one time during their residency. All PhD students are required to enroll in a minimum of 9 hours of 600-level courses, excluding EPS 600 (this requirement supersedes the University requirement). In order to graduate, each student is required to have had a committee-approved field experience, where a student has demonstrated proficiency in field-based Earth Sciences. In many cases this represents an undergraduate field camp course, although there are many acceptable alternatives. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required in all graduate course work, and taking courses from outside the department is encouraged.
All UT Dissertations are now deposited electronically in TRACE and are available here: http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_graddiss/.
Interdisciplinary Graduate Minors
Computational Science (IGMCS)
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences participates in the interdisciplinary graduate minor in computational science (IGMCS) program. Any student pursuing a master’s or PhD with a major in geology can receive a minor in computational science by completing the appropriate IGMCS requirements. For additional information, see the description of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Computational Science listed under the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science or visit the IGMCS website at http://igmcs.utk.edu/. The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences also contributes courses to the IGMCS program curriculum.
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences participates in the interdisciplinary graduate minor in watershed program. Any student pursuing a master’s or PhD with a major in geology can receive a watershed minor by completing the appropriate requirements. For additional information, see the description of the Interdisciplinary Watershed Graduate Minor on the website at http://watershed.utk.edu/grad.html. The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences also contributes courses to the Watershed program curriculum.