College of Mines and Earth Sciences


Geology and Geophysics

Ph.D. in Geology

Program Purpose

The Ph.D. program in geology prepares students for careers in basic research and higher education. The Ph.D. is the standard level of preparation for academic careers in geology, and for careers in the private sector and public service that emphasize original research.

Learning Outcomes

  • Mastery of geology sufficient to succeed for a professional career in basic research, in either academia, industry or public service.
  • Completion of a major body of original geologic research, the results of which are published in peer-reviewed professional venues.
  • Proficiency in accessing and utilizing the professional scientific literature.
  • Proficiency in oral and written communication of scientific results.
  • Thorough understanding of the origin and composition of the geologic materials that make up the Earth.
  • Thorough understanding of the dynamic geologic processes that operate within the Earth’s interior and on its surface.
  • Thorough understanding of geologic time, in both relative and absolute terms, and how geologic time is measured.
  • Thorough understanding of the evolution of the Earth and of the evolution of life on Earth.
  • Ability to use principles of mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics to solve geologic problems.
  • Proficiency in solving field-based problems in Earth science.
  • Ability to engage in lifelong learning and understanding of the need to do so.
  • Understanding of the role of the Earth sciences in helping to solve societal problems related to natural resources, natural hazards, energy, environment and global climate.
  • Understanding of the place of the Earth sciences in the larger picture of intellectual inquiry, including connections between science and history, philosophy, ethics and the formulation of public policy.