Degree Requirements for Ph.D. in Earth & Environmental Sciences

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The Ph.D. program in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University is a full time program. Students who require a part time option should select a different program that provides a part time opportunity.

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences are required to earn the Masters Degree and the M.Phil. Degree, which are earned in stages toward the Ph.D.

Students who are admitted with a Masters Degree from another institution may choose to apply for Advanced Standing and/or Transfer Credits at the end of the first year of study. If Advanced Standing is awarded, the student is exempt from the Masters Degree requirement. Students who receive Advanced Standing are not eligible to receive a Masters Degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University.

http://gsas.columbia.edu/content/advanced-standing-and-transfer-credit

Recommended length of program: Five years, including the earning of the Masters and M.Phil. Degrees, at least one year of which should be spent in preparing the dissertation.

Requirements for the Masters Degree
This degree is a prerequisite for the Ph.D. degree.

The program of study is to be approved by the student’s Advisory Committee.
The Master’s Meeting is scheduled when four residence units have been earned, and no later than the 4th semester.
At least 20 approved course points must be completed.  Removal of admissions deficiencies should be in process.
To remain in good standing, a minimum course grade average of B+ (3.33) is required.

Examination: Written submission of a research proposal and a paper discussing the results of a research project, and a successful oral presentation of these to the student's Advisory Committee.

Requirements for the M.Phil. Degree:
This degree is a prerequisite for the Ph.D. degree.

A minimum of 45 approved course points must be completed (including those earned for the Masters Degree), also including seminar courses, but excluding GR9001 research points.  To remain in good standing, a minimum course grade average of B+ (3.33) is required.

Courses for R-credit may be taken with permission of the instructor, but do not count toward any degree in this department.

Certifying Examination (Orals Exam) Requirements:

Must be taken by the end of the third academic year of study. Students awarded Advanced Standing must take this exam by the end of their second academic year of study.

30 points (typically 8-10 courses) are required to be completed before the certifying exam:

12 points (at least 4 courses) are required to be completed within one of the eight Major Disciplines.  This constitutes the Depth Requirement.  http://eesc.columbia.edu/programs/graduate-programs/phd-earth-environmental-sciences/course-listings

An additional 6 points (at least 2 courses) are required to be completed in two other Major Disciplines (normally one course each in two of the other seven Disciplines). This constitutes the Breadth Requirement. Courses that are listed in the student's Depth discipline cannot normally be counted as Breadth courses.

With the approval of the department students can be granted up to 15 points of transfer credit towards the PhD degree, for coursework in fulfillment of Master's degrees completed elsewhere. Students who are awarded  Advanced Standing are required to take 12 points, at least two Depth courses within their major discipline and two Breadth courses (two different disciplines other than their Major discipline) prior to their Certifying Exam.

Courses used to satisfy the Depth and Breadth Requirements must be taken for a letter grade. The specific courses should be selected in consultation with the student's Advisory Committee.  Additional graduate level courses, including those from other Columbia departments, may also count as Breadth or Depth courses, upon recommendation of the Advisory Committee.

Written submission of a research paper that describes original research done by the student.

Apprenticeship Certification: Review and written approval by the student’s Advisory Committee of the submitted research paper, course work and laboratory or field research. The removal of any deficiencies must be completed.

A two-hour oral Certifying Examination consisting of questioning and discussion centered on the student's Depth and Breadth fields and research, but also in general Earth sciences. Performance in the Certifying Examination determines whether or not the student may continue in residence toward the Ph.D. degree upon completion of the M. Phil. degree.

Dissertation Proposal: Within one year of successfully completing the certifying exam, students must present a public Dissertation Proposal with their Advisory Committee present, followed by a private discussion immediately afterwards with the Advisory Committee.

The degree is to be completed by the end of the fourth year of study, except for those students granted Advanced Standing, who must complete the degree by the end of the third year of study.

Other Requirements for the Ph.D.:

Languages: No formal requirement; students in certain disciplines may be asked to show proficiency in a foreign language if their advisor or their research requires it.

Teaching requirement: Participation in the instructional activities of the department. As a rule, during three or four semesters beginning in the second year of study, students gain valuable exposure to teaching as assistants to faculty in lecture courses and as laboratory leaders. Some assignments may include supervision of laboratory sections of courses, assistance on field trips, grading of homework and/or exams or curatorial duties. Opportunities to teach a class in the course the student is TAing may be possible. Students must earn 4 points of TA credit. (Courses have TA point values assigned to them based on enrollment and workload.)

Summary of requirements for the M.Phil. Degree:

1) Master's degree completed; 2) course work and Residence Units completed; 3) Apprenticeship review approved; and 4) Certifying Examination passed. Performance in the Certifying Examination determines whether or not the student may continue in residence toward the Ph.D. degree upon completion of the M.Phil. degree; 5) Approval of the Dissertation Proposal.
 
Requirement for completion of the Ph.D. degree

Certification for the Ph.D.: The written dissertation must be approved by the candidate's Advisory Committee and successfully defended at the Dissertation Defense.

After completing all required revisions and final approval by the major Advisor, the candidate must prepare and deposit the dissertation in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

http://gsas.columbia.edu/dissertations