Ph.D. in Applied Geology | Kent State University

Ph.D. in Applied Geology

Field Camp in the Black Hills, SDSteps toward completion of the Ph.D. in the Applied Geology program:

  • Requirements for Graduation
  • Ph.D. Minors
  • Important Dates
  • Forms
  • Frequently Asked Questions

The Graduate Coordinator is the advisor of record until an appropriate advisor has been approved by the Graduate Studies Committee, and the dissertation proposal has been completed and filed.

Information on this page is summarized from the "Doctoral Program Requirements" (printed copies may be obtained from the Department of Geology office, 221 McGilvrey Hall or from the Graduate Coordinator). One chapter of your thesis/dissertation, in final form, should be examined by the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences, for conformity to the rules before you complete and photocopy all the chapters. This will assure, in advance, the acceptance of your document.

Also see the Guide to Graduate Education at Kent State University for a summary of the policies and procedures for graduate education.

Requirements for Graduation

(See University Catalog for details - revised June 2017)

Requirement Details
Minimum Graduate GPA (must be maintained each semester)
Graduate students are expected to maintain a 3.0 average GPA in all work attempted at Kent State. A student who fails to maintain a 3.0 average is subject to dismissal. In addition, in order to qualify for graduation, a 3.0 average must be maintained for all graduate coursework. Grades below C (2.0) are not counted toward completion of requirements for any advanced degree, but are counted in evaluating a student's grade point average. Only graduate course credits count toward a graduate degree. A graduate student who receives a combination of more than 8 credit hours of B- (2.7) or lower grades, or more than 4 credit hours of grades lower than C (2.0) is subject to dismissal.
3.00
Preparation for Study Students enrolled in the graduate program are expected to have completed undergraduate course work in Earth Materials I and II (mineralogy and petrology), and a substantive field experience such as a five-week geological field camp prior to the completion of their degree. These courses may be completed by applicants prior to entering the graduate program or while enrolled at KSU. If completed at the graduate level, these courses may count toward the graduate program of study.  
Minimum number of Graduate credits
90 semester hours beyond the Bachelor's degree or 60 hours beyond the Master's degree. These hours may include formal coursework, Research (80098), and Dissertation I (80199)
90
Number of Dissertation I hours needed (GEOL 80199)
Dissertation I is taken in increments of 15 hours per semester for two consecutive semesters but may be taken only after completing the dissertation proposal defense. Subsequently, the student must enroll for Dissertation II (GEOL 80299) each semester, including one summer term, until graduation.
30
Preparation of the Preliminary Proposal 
Potential candidates for the Ph.D. degree must develop their research plan in conjunction with their potential advisor and committee members, noting the scope of the work in the form of a preliminary dissertation proposal. As preparation for their candidacy exams, the student prepares a preliminary research proposal (10-20 pages), a list of the major field and the minor field that the examinations will cover and the coursework that has prepared the student for the exam. The preliminary proposal should be given to the examining committee at least four weeks prior to the written candidacy examination.  
Required
File signed PhD Proposed Program of Research (Word) and the PhD Proposed Courses of Study (Word) with the Graduate Coordinator.
Written Candidacy Examinations
Examining Committee composition: The examining committee consists of the advisor and two committee members from the Department of Geology. The advisor must have F4 grad faculty status and no more than one other committee member may hold F3 graduate faculty status. The written exams are conducted in the student's major and minor area of study, plus general geology as noted on the Proposed Program of Study.
 
The written examinations normally are conducted in the fourth semester. Written examinations are taken within a one-week period and the examination in each area takes 3 to 4 hours. Following successful completion of the written examinations (passing with the equivalent of an average "B" or better grade) the student proceeds to the dissertation proposal defense. 
Required
Upon completion the Report of Candidacy Examination form must be filed with the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences and the Graduate Coordinator.
Oral Dissertation Proposal Defense
Proposal Defense Committee composition: The proposal defense committee consists of the members of the examining committee, plus the addition of an outside member with appropriate graduate standing, selected by the advisor and student. The advisor must have F4 grad faculty status and the committee must include three members with F4 grad faculty status. 
 
During the oral proposal defense, the committee members question the student on topics related to the dissertation proposal and on topics related to the written comprehensive examination as needed. The oral examination should be taken two to three weeks after the written examinations and is generally scheduled for 2 to 3 hours duration.
 
When the proposal has been successfully defended and approved by the committee, the student proceeds with the project under the supervision of the advisor and the committee. Following successful completion of the Dissertation Proposal Defense, the student or advisor must notify the Graduate Coordinator who will sign the appropriate forms and arrange for the appointment of a graduate faculty representative by the College of Arts and Sciences in preparation for the final public oral dissertation defense.
 
Students who have passed the candidacy examinations and have completed their formal coursework requirements for their degree are recognized as candidates for the Ph.D.
Required
The Notification of Approved Dissertation Topic and Prospectus (PDF) form, and an abstract of the dissertation proposal must be filed with the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences and the Graduate Coordinator.
Request a Graduate Faculty Representative for the Dissertation Defense Committee (Online College of Arts and Sciences Form to be used by the Dissertation Advisor)
Progress During the “Dissertation Stage”
To ensure progress toward the degree, non-funded students are encouraged and all departmental and grant-funded Ph.D. students are required to hold an annual committee meeting (typically in the spring semester) with a majority of their committee including the advisor in attendance to review their progress and methodologies, and discuss strategies to address problems that may have arisen. The student must inform the Graduate Coordinator of the date and outcome of the spring review meeting. 
 
Dissertation Format
The dissertation must be written following the instructions in the Style Guide and Instructions for Preparing Dissertations and Theses for Electronic Submission to OhioLINK and approved by the Office of Graduate Affairs.
Prepare the signature page: Signature Page instructions and examples.
Required
The dissertation must be written following the instructions in the Style Guide and the Libraries and Media Services guidelines for electronic preparation of your thesis or dissertationPrepare the signature page: Signature Page instructions and examples.
Public Oral Dissertation Defense
With the approval of the advisor, the student must present the draft copy of the dissertation to the committee members, providing at least 10 working days for the dissertation to be read and evaluated. The dissertation committee must meet to determine if the dissertation is defensible in its current form or requires revisions. Each committee member must approve the final written dissertation and oral dissertation defense date. Once a defensible copy is provided to the committee, a date is set for the public oral dissertation defense. The oral defense is open to the Kent State community and publicly announced at least 10 days in advance of the event.
 
All doctoral students are required to successfully pass an oral dissertation defense, which serves as a graded final examination (Pass/Fail). The grade given at the completion of the defense is final and cannot be changed without recourse to the academic appeals process (i.e., there are no second opportunities to defend the dissertation). In extraordinary cases, if the committee determines that the student is running into difficulty during the exam, the committee can vote to suspend the defense. This suspension will involve a significant time lapse during which appropriate revisions must be made. At a later date, the defense can be continued. Additional procedural details can be found in the Guidelines for Dissertation Final Examination (Including a discussion of the dissertation committee composition). 
Required
The Report of Dissertation Final Examination must be completed directly after the Dissertation Defense.
The Report of Dissertation Final Examination must be filed with the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences and the Graduate Coordinator.
Once your revisions are complete the final version is ready for electronic publication, gather signatures on the signature page (see example in the Style Guide), complete the Dissertation Preparation Approval Form, and submit both to the College of Arts & Sciences Graduate Affairs Office.
Complete the Department of Geology Graduate Student Check-out Form and file with the Graduate Coordinator.
All students must apply for graduation. The process is entirely online and accessible though FlashLine. The online Application for Graduation (first time only) is available in your FlashLine account, Student / Resources / Graduation / "Application for Graduation".

Important Dates

There are several deadlines that must be met in order to graduate in a timely fashion:

  • Applying for graduation
  • Completing the thesis/dissertation defense
  • Presentation of thesis/dissertation to the Office of Graduate Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences

If the student applies for graduation in one term and is delayed in finishing the work, it is necessary to file a re-application in the Office of Graduate Affairs, in the term in which graduation is anticipated. The re-application must be in the Office of Graduate Affairs by the deadline for application for graduation. Although reminders from the Graduate Coordinator and the Office of Graduate Affairs will be sent out, the Graduate Catalogue clearly stipulates that it is the responsibility of the student to meet the deadlines.

It is expected that the doctoral degree students entering Kent State with a master's degree will complete the degree in no more than nine years. Students possessing a master's degree will pass the candidacy examination within four calendar years of the first graduate registration at Kent State University. A doctoral candidate is expected to satisfactorily complete the dissertation and pass the final oral examination within five calendar years after having passed the candidacy examination.

Students must be continuously enrolled, including one summer term each year, prior to the completion of their degree. Please consult the Graduate Catalog for your enrollment term or the Department office for more information.

  • Departmental Scholarship Applications
    Due by April 15
  • Application to Graduate
    Due by 4:00 pm Friday of the first week of classes for the semester in which you wish to graduate
  • Dissertation Defense Deadline
    Typically about 5 weeks before commencement (look for the posted deadlines each semester)
  • Dissertation Submission Deadline
    Typically about 3 weeks before commencement (look for the posted deadlines each semester)

Forms

Frequently Asked Questions

What specific course work must be taken to satisfy the Ph.D. requirements?

Students must take at least 3 courses in their minor area. Beyond this the only specific requirement that must be completed prior to graduation is 30 hours of Dissertation I (80199) and 60 hours past the M.S. or 90 hours past the B.S. degree. Specific coursework necessary to prepare the candidate for the dissertation work will be selected on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the faculty advisor and the members of the examination committee. Keep in mind that in addition to the formal courses offered in the department you have the following options available to help you develop the skills you need:

  1. You can take courses at the University of Akron, Cleveland State University, and Youngstown State Univeristy through the Memorandum of Understanding, without transfer. This widens your choice of coursework substantially. The approval form must be completed well before you register for your desired course. Discuss this with the Graduate Coordinator and/or your Advisor.
  2. You can take coursework in allied fields; sug as GIS or Remote Sensing courses in Geography; the Wetlands, Limnology, and Ecology courses in Biological Sciences; the Environmental Chemistry courses in Chemistry; computer programming courses in Math & Computer Science; or relevant courses in Physics. See the Registrar's website for available courses by semester. Note: Please consult primary advisor before enrolling in cross-discipline coursework. 

How will the composition of my committee change as I progress toward my degree?

The candidacy examination committee consists of three members of the geology graduate faculty: the advisor, the minor advisor, and one general geology examiner. All members of the committee must have the appropriate graduate faculty rank as described in the departmental handbook. The dissertation committee, which evaluates the student's dissertation proposal, consists of the candidacy examination committee, plus an outside member who may be from another department on campus or another institution if approved by the Graduate College. All members of the committee must have the appropriate graduate faculty rank as described in the College of Arts and Sciences Rules Regarding the Final Examination.

Upon completion of the dissertation proposal defense, the dissertation final examination committee is formed which consists of the dissertation committee and a graduate representative appointed by the Office of Graduate Affairs of the College of Arts and Sciences. The graduate representative may also serve as the moderator for the defense, or another individual may be appointed. The guidelines regarding the graduate representative and/or moderator are found in the College of Arts and Sciences Rules regarding the Graduate Faculty Representative and Dissertation Defense Moderator.

Requests for an outside committee member from another institution should be made in writing by the advisor to the graduate coordinator and accompanied by a current version of the CV for the prospective outside member. Such requests must be approved by the Associate Dean of the Graduate College.

Can I transfer geological coursework from another institution?

Yes, you can transfer up to 12 hours of graduate credit, graded B or higher, from an accredited institution, as long as the work was done within 10 years of the completion date of your Ph.D. in Geology.

Where can I go to get the Dissertation style guide and the necessary forms I will need as I progress through the program?

The KSU College of Arts & Sciences Style Guide and Instructions for Typing Theses and Dissertations (updated in Fall 2015) is available in the main Geology office. You can also access these materials from this website, or at the appropriate page in the Arts and Sciences website. Libraries and Media Services also provides guidelines for preparing your thesis or dissertation to help you complete the process.

How much time do I have to complete my degree?

See the University policy for degree completion. Application for extension of time limits.

It is expected that the doctoral degree students entering Kent State with a baccalaureate will complete the degree in no more than 10 years. Normally, doctoral degree students entering with a master’s degree will complete the degree in no more than nine years. Students proceeding from the baccalaureate will normally pass the candidacy examination within five years, and students already possessing a master’s degree will pass the candidacy examination within four calendar years of the first graduate registration at Kent State University. A doctoral candidate is expected to satisfactorily complete the dissertation and pass the final oral examination within five calendar years after having passed the candidacy examination. Individual disciplines may have shorter time limits, and students should consult with their specific program’s department. *

When an extension of any of these time limits seems to be necessary and proper, the student and advisor will petition the student’s department for an extension. The extension may be denied, in which case the student will be dismissed, or it may be granted with qualification. The student, advisor and college dean must be informed of the decision in writing. If the extension exceeds one year, the approval of the college dean is required. Requests for time extensions exceeding one year must be submitted to the college dean with evidence that the degree candidate is current in his/her field of study.

Students who must be away from their studies for one or more semesters for personal, family, financial or other compelling reasons may apply for a leave of absence. More information can be found in the Leave of Absence policy in this Catalog.

Upon receiving their graduate degree, students are inactivated and are no longer eligible to register for courses at Kent State University. If students wish to continue their studies at Kent State, they will need to reapply to the appropriate academic unit and be accepted for another graduate degree program or as a non-degree student.

Information about the Minimum Enrollment Policy:

Students who have defended their PhD dissertation proposal, or who have some other programmatic or funding stipulation need to be continuously enrolled from semester to semester (with the three summer terms counting as one semester). Doctoral students should register for 15 Dissertation I or II credits during the academic year and 15 Dissertation I or dissertation II credits as appropriate during at least one summer term to maintain continuous enrollment. After completing 30 hours of Dissertation I credits, a student should register for Dissertation II credits each term until they defend their Dissertation.

Information about the Continuous Enrollment Policy: