2015-2016 Academic Catalog 
    Mar 28, 2023  
2015-2016 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Sciences, PhD

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Program Description:

The mission of the Doctor of Philosophy program in Environmental Sciences is to meet local, state and national needs for outstanding, interdisciplinary-trained graduates who will assume positions of responsibility in industry, government, and non-government organizations. The Environmental Sciences Ph.D. program is designed to develop environmental scientists who can function as researchers or high-level managers. This degree is awarded for demonstrated scholarly excellence in study and research that provides a significant contribution to the complex field of the environmental sciences.

This program is unique in focus, building on a core group of program faculty with recognized expertise in the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Physics, Pharmacology/Toxicology and Mathematics and Statistics. This interdisciplinary Ph.D. program consists of four areas of excellence: 1) Environmental Biology, 2) Environmental Earth Sciences and 3) Environmental Chemistry and 4) Environmental Physics. These areas of excellence will provide students with high-demand environmental skills that are interdisciplinary, yet well grounded in more traditional areas of environmental biology, chemistry, toxicology, geophysics and hydrogeology.

Admissions Requirements:

A student will be admitted to the Environmental Sciences Ph.D. program with a baccalaureate degree or a master’s degree from a supporting discipline (e.g., biology, chemistry, geology, or physics); satisfaction of the admission requirements as set forth by the Graduate School and the Program; and a record that indicates potential for a career in environmental sciences, as evaluated by the program’s Admissions Committee (consisting of program faculty from participating departments). Importantly, students need a commitment of support from a program faculty member prior to admission. Students should enter the program with knowledge of one of the supporting sciences and having successfully completed biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, statistics, and calculus. If a student is deficient in one of these areas, the Admissions Committee may recommend the undergraduate courses that should be completed during the first year. Determining deficiencies will be dependent on the student’s area of focus.

Admitted students will be expected to demonstrate strong academic ability. Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores is required and scores will be used in ranking applicants for admission. International students must have a TOEFL score of at least 600/250 computer and 100 internet/6.5 IELTS.


Facilities available include a range of analytical laboratory instrumentation, computer laboratories, plant, microbe, and animal growth facilities, field sites, and office spaces associated with faculty and departments participating in the program. Numerous collaborations also exist with regional and national partners, including Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Five Rivers Metroparks, and the US EPA that provide access to resources and facilities off campus.

For additional information:

Program Requirements:

Students are asked to master a series of core courses, advanced content electives, and seminars (see Curriculum below). These serve as an interdisciplinary base for the development of dissertation research, the most important part of the program. The institution awards the degree when the student satisfactorily completes the required work.

Waiver of Program Requirements

Students may petition to be exempted from all or part of the core curriculum, usually by scoring a passing grade on an appropriate proficiency examination. Students with a master’s degree in a relevant field of study will be exempted from appropriate course requirements and 30 credit hours. Students may also petition for waiver of credit for previous graduate courses taken in another accredited program. Advanced course credit of up to 12 credit hours may be waived providing (a) the grade attained in each course is a B or better, (b) the course was taken within four years of the actual waiver, and (c) the course relates to the area of concentration chosen in this program. Petitions for obtaining credit for laboratory experiences may be made, subject to the same credit hour limitations and time constraints as for courses. Petitions for exemption or waiver should be submitted to the program director, who will make the final decision, and who may, if necessary, seek a recommendation from the Curriculum Committee.


Each student chooses a faculty member to guide and direct the dissertation research. In addition, a supervisory committee is formed to periodically review the student’s progress. The relationship between the student, the faculty advisor, and the committee is central to the program. The committee determines when the research may be considered complete and must approve the written dissertation, as well as the student’s public defense of it. The committee certifies to the program director the competency and achievement of the dissertation.

Dept Core and Electives

I. Core Requirements: 11-12 Hours


II. Departmental Electives: 10 Hours

  • 10 credits of approved graduate electives required

III. Research

Total: 90 Hours

Research/Areas of Expertise:

This interdisciplinary Ph.D. program consists of four areas of excellence: 1) Environmental Biology, 2) Environmental Earth Sciences, 3) Environmental Chemistry and 4) Environmental Physics.

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