Dec 02, 2020  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
    
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog ARCHIVED CATALOG: CONTENT MAY NOT BE CURRENT. USE THE DROP DOWN ABOVE TO ACCESS THE CURRENT CATALOG.

Doctor of Philosophy - Geoscience


Plan Description


The Doctor of Philosophy – Geoscience degree is designed to prepare students for demanding research-oriented careers in academia, government service, private consulting, and industry. Working closely with their advisors, students focus on original research in an emphasis area. Research expectations are high; students are expected to develop original lines of research that will lead to three or more original manuscripts that are suitable for submission to a refereed scientific journal. Students are expected to have strong content knowledge in their area of emphasis and three additional sub-disciplines of the geologic sciences. Fundamental knowledge levels are tested first in a diagnostic interview that is used to guide coursework taken by the student, and then later in a comprehensive exam.


For more information about your program, including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes, please visit the Degree Directory.

Plan Admission Requirements


Application deadlines

Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.

All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements. 

Geology Track
The emphasis in Geology includes the fields of economic geology, environmental geology, geochemistry, geochronology, geomorphology, igneous petrology, paleontology, metamorphic petrology, Quaternary geology, pedology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, structural geology, surficial processes, tectonics, and volcanology. Applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. For the Post-Bachelor’s Track: A bachelor’s degree in geology or equivalent.
  2. For the Post-Master’s Track: A Master of Science degree in geology or equivalent.
  3. It is recommended that the student have completed the following courses for unconditional admission to the program. An introductory geology class and six of the following eight classes (or their equivalents): mineralogy, geochemistry, geomorphology, structural geology, igneous and metamorphic petrology, paleontology, field geology, and sedimentology/stratigraphy.

Geophysics Track
Applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. For the Post-Bachelor’s Track: A bachelor’s degree in geology, engineering, physics or mathematics.
  2. For the Post-Master’s Track: A Master of Science degree.
  3. To be admitted to the program with a Geophysics emphasis, it is recommended that the student have completed the following courses for unconditional admission to the program.
    1. Mathematics: Three semesters of calculus
    2. Physics: Two semesters of introductory (calculus level) physics
    3. Geology: Physical geology, historical geology, mineralogy, structural geology, sedimentology/stratigraphy, and igneous and metamorphic petrology.

Soil Science Track
Applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. For the Post-Bachelor’s Track: B.S. degree in a Natural Science (or similar field and course work) or B.A. degree in Natural Science (or similar field and course work) with approval of the graduate coordinator.
  2. For the Post-Master’s Track: A Master of Science degree.
  3. To be admitted to the program with a Soil Science emphasis, it is recommended that the student have completed two of the following courses for unconditional admission to the program: Mineralogy, Geomorphology, Sedimentology/Stratigraphy, or Geochemistry.

Hydrogeology Track
Applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. For the Post-Bachelor’s Track: A B.S. degree in geology or a related discipline (e.g., civil engineering).
  2. For the Post-Master’s Track: A master’s degree in geology or a related discipline (e.g., civil engineering).
  3. To be admitted to the program with a hydrogeology emphasis, it is required that the student have completed four of the following courses (or their equivalents) for unconditional admission to the program:

    GEOL 474 - Hydrogeology
    GEOL 330 - Geochemistry
    GEOL 333 - Geomorphology
    GEOL 341 - Structural Geology
    GEOL 348 - Field Geology
    GEOL 462 - Stratigraphy and Sedimentology

Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.

Subplan 1 Requirements: Post-Bachelor’s - Geology Track


Total Credits Required: 60

Course Requirements 

Required Course – Credits: 3

GEOL 701 - Research Methods in Geoscience 

Elective Courses – Credits: 45

Complete 45 credits of 600- or 700-level GEOL courses, or other advisor-approved courses.

Dissertation – Credits: 12

GEOL 799 - Dissertation 

Degree Requirements 

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. A minimum of 24 of the 60 credits required must be at the 700-level.
  3. Although more course work and dissertation credits may be taken, only 12 credits of Dissertation, and 48 course credits will be counted toward the degree program.
  4. Doctoral students are encouraged to take courses from outside of geoscience; however, a minimum of 15 credits must be geoscience (GEOL) courses.
  5. A maximum of three credits of Independent Study are permitted, except in special circumstances in which case permission from the doctoral advising committee, the department Graduate Coordinator and the department chair is required.
  6. Satisfactory progress toward meeting the degree requirements is required of all candidates. Satisfactory progress is defined as, at a minimum:
    1. Maintenance of at least a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate-level courses. Two grades of B- are permitted in the degree program as long as the GPA remains at or above 3.00. One grade of C+ or lower results in academic probation even if the overall GPA is above 3.0. Two grades of C+ or lower will result in automatic suspension from the program.
    2. Selecting a dissertation advisor and committee. The advisor must be selected before the end of the first semester and the committee before the end of the second semester.
    3. Scheduling of an interview with the advisor either during or before the first semester. If an advisor is not selected, a temporary advisor will be assigned by the graduate coordinator. The purpose of the interview is to develop a plan of course work for the first year.
    4. In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a thesis committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
    5. Scheduling of a diagnostic interview with the Advisory Committee before the end of the 2nd semester. The purpose of the interview is to develop a list of recommended courses and design the student’s degree program, which must be submitted prior to completing 16 credits of course work toward the degree.
    6. Preparation of a dissertation proposal and satisfactory performance on a Proposal Defense Examination. This examination must be completed prior to the end of the third semester. The Proposal Defense Examination focuses on the dissertation proposal and the student’s ability to perform the research. It includes a formal oral presentation of the student’s dissertation proposal, research to date, and questions by the dissertation advisory committee on the dissertation topic. The Proposal Defense Examination is to be taken prior to the Comprehensive Examination.
    7. Satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination. Ph.D. students must have a basic knowledge of Physical Geology in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of three fields of geosciences (see Department of Geoscience Graduate Student Guidelines for recommended fields for each Ph.D. Emphasis). The format and content of the exam will be determined by the student’s doctoral advisory committee with approval of the department graduate coordinator. The Comprehensive Examination will be taken either the semester after all course work is completed or before the end of the fifth semester, whichever comes first. The examination will be oral. In exceptional circumstances, as determined by the student’s dissertation committee and the graduate coordinator, the examination will consist of both oral and written components. Students who fail to pass the Comprehensive Examination or Proposal Defense on the first attempt must successfully complete a second examination (as specified by the doctoral advisory committee) within the next six months to remain in the program. Students who entered the program with a baccalaureate degree and who fail the second examination may be allowed to continue as a Master of Science student with the consent of the doctoral advising committee. Students who entered the program with a master’s degree who fail the examination a second time will be separated from the program. A student who has successfully passed both the Proposal Defense and Comprehensive Examinations will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
    8. Satisfactory performance on a final examination will consist of the presentation and defense of the dissertation research. The defense will consist of an oral presentation open to the public, a short period of questions from the public, a closed session of questions from the doctoral advising committee, and a closed deliberation and vote by just the advisory committee members. Any graduate faculty member may attend the closed session of questions of the defense.
  7. Using Degree Audit as a guide, a degree program must be approved by the advisory committee prior to the beginning of the third semester of enrollment.
  8. It is recommended that the student be a teaching assistant or instructor for at least one semester.
  9. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission be included in the graduate degree program, providing those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and a grade of B (3.00) or higher was achieved.

Graduation Requirements 

See Plan Graduation Requirements below.

Subplan 2 Requirements: Post-Bachelor’s - Geophysics Track


Total Credits Required: 60

Course Requirements 

Required Course – Credits: 3

GEOL 701 - Research Methods in Geoscience 

Core Course – Credits: 3

Complete one of the following courses:

CEE 636 - Engineering Geophysics 

GEOL 645 - Geophysical Methods 

Additional Core Course – Credits: 3

Complete one of the following courses:

ECG 780 - Digital Signal Processing 

GEOL 793 - Independent Study and Research 

Geophysics Courses – Credits: 9

Complete 9 credits in three or more of the following courses, or other advisor-approved courses.

BIOL 618 - Microbial Ecology 

CEE 634 - Rock Mechanics 

CEE 636 - Engineering Geophysics 

CEE 676 - Earthquake Engineering 

CEE 737 - Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 

CEE 775 - Seismic Response of Structures 

GEOL 630 - Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Theory and Applications 

GEOL 643 - Plate Tectonics 

GEOL 644 - Tectonics of Orogenic Belts 

GEOL 646 - Geologic Applications in Remote Sensing 

GEOL 678 - Hydrogeochemistry 

GEOL 688 - Microtechniques in Geoscience 

GEOL 716 - Geostatistics 

GEOL 744 - Tectonics and Structures 

GEOL 745 - Advanced Structural Geology 

GEOL 746 - Strain and Microstructural Analysis 

GEOL 747 - Geological Evolution of Western North America 

GEOL 770 - Sedimentary Basins 

GEOL 772 - Reflection Seismic Data Interpretation 

GEOL 773 - Seminar in Geophysics 

Elective Courses – Credits: 30

Complete 30 credits from the following list of courses, or other advisor-approved courses that are appropriate for the course of study.

BIOL 618 - Microbial Ecology 

CEE 634 - Rock Mechanics 

CEE 636 - Engineering Geophysics 

CEE 676 - Earthquake Engineering 

CEE 737 - Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 

CEE 775 - Seismic Response of Structures 

GEOL 630 - Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Theory and Applications 

GEOL 643 - Plate Tectonics 

GEOL 644 - Tectonics of Orogenic Belts 

GEOL 646 - Geologic Applications in Remote Sensing 

GEOL 678 - Hydrogeochemistry 

GEOL 688 - Microtechniques in Geoscience 

GEOL 716 - Geostatistics 

GEOL 744 - Tectonics and Structures 

GEOL 745 - Advanced Structural Geology 

GEOL 746 - Strain and Microstructural Analysis 

GEOL 747 - Geological Evolution of Western North America 

GEOL 770 - Sedimentary Basins 

GEOL 772 - Reflection Seismic Data Interpretation 

GEOL 773 - Seminar in Geophysics 

Dissertation – Credits: 12

GEOL 799 - Dissertation 

Degree Requirements 

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. A minimum of 24 of the 60 credits required must be at the 700-level.
  3. Although more course work and dissertation credits may be taken, only 12 credits of Dissertation, and 48 course credits will be counted toward the degree program.
  4. Doctoral students are encouraged to take courses from outside of geoscience; however, a minimum of 15 credits must be geoscience (GEOL) courses.
  5. A maximum of three credits of Independent Study are permitted, except in special circumstances in which case permission from the doctoral advising committee, the department Graduate Coordinator and the department chair is required.
  6. Satisfactory progress toward meeting the degree requirements is required of all candidates. Satisfactory progress is defined as, at a minimum:
    1. Maintenance of at least a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate-level courses. Two grades of B- are permitted in the degree program as long as the GPA remains at or above 3.00. One grade of C+ or lower results in academic probation even if the overall GPA is above 3.0. Two grades of C+ or lower will result in automatic suspension from the program.
    2. Selecting a dissertation advisor and committee. The advisor must be selected before the end of the first semester and the committee before the end of the second semester.
    3. Scheduling of an interview with the advisor either during or before the first semester. If an advisor is not selected, a temporary advisor will be assigned by the graduate coordinator. The purpose of the interview is to develop a plan of course work for the first year.
    4. In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a thesis committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
    5. Scheduling of a diagnostic interview with the Advisory Committee before the end of the 2nd semester. The purpose of the interview is to develop a list of recommended courses and design the student’s degree program, which must be submitted prior to completing 16 credits of course work toward the degree.
    6. Preparation of a dissertation proposal and satisfactory performance on a Proposal Defense Examination. This examination must be completed prior to the end of the third semester. The Proposal Defense Examination focuses on the dissertation proposal and the student’s ability to perform the research. It includes a formal oral presentation of the student’s dissertation proposal, research to date, and questions by the dissertation advisory committee on the dissertation topic. The Proposal Defense Examination is to be taken prior to the Comprehensive Examination.
    7. Satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination. Ph.D. students must have a basic knowledge of Physical Geology in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of three fields of geosciences (see Department of Geoscience Graduate Student Guidelines for recommended fields for each Ph.D. Emphasis). The format and content of the exam will be determined by the student’s doctoral advisory committee with approval of the department graduate coordinator. The Comprehensive Examination will be taken either the semester after all course work is completed or before the end of the fifth semester, whichever comes first. The examination will be oral. In exceptional circumstances, as determined by the student’s dissertation committee and the graduate coordinator, the examination will consist of both oral and written components. Students who fail to pass the Comprehensive Examination or Proposal Defense on the first attempt must successfully complete a second examination (as specified by the doctoral advisory committee) within the next six months to remain in the program. Students who entered the program with a baccalaureate degree and who fail the second examination may be allowed to continue as a Master of Science student with the consent of the doctoral advising committee. Students who entered the program with a master’s degree who fail the examination a second time will be separated from the program. A student who has successfully passed both the Proposal Defense and Comprehensive Examinations will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
    8. Satisfactory performance on a final examination will consist of the presentation and defense of the dissertation research. The defense will consist of an oral presentation open to the public, a short period of questions from the public, a closed session of questions from the doctoral advising committee, and a closed deliberation and vote by just the advisory committee members. Any graduate faculty member may attend the closed session of questions of the defense.
  7. Using Degree Audit as a guide, a degree program must be approved by the advisory committee prior to the beginning of the third semester of enrollment.
  8. It is recommended that the student be a teaching assistant or instructor for at least one semester.
  9. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission be included in the graduate degree program, providing those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and a grade of B (3.00) or higher was achieved.

Graduation Requirements 

See Plan Graduation Requirements below.

Subplan 3 Requirements: Post-Bachelor’s - Soil Science Track


Total Credits Required: 60

Course Requirements 

Required Course – Credits: 3

GEOL 701 - Research Methods in Geoscience 

Core Courses – Credits: 6

GEOL 610 - Soil Classification and Resource Management 

GEOL 786 - Soils Applications: Paleoclimate, Neotectonics, Archeology 

Elective Courses – Credits: 39

Complete 39 credits from the following list of courses, or other advisor-approved courses that are appropriate for the course of study.

BIOL 618 - Microbial Ecology 

BIOL 745 - Arid Zone Soils 

GEOL 630 - Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Theory and Applications 

GEOL 646 - Geologic Applications in Remote Sensing 

GEOL 688 - Microtechniques in Geoscience 

GEOL 712 - Watershed Hydrology 

GEOL 716 - Geostatistics 

GEOL 719 - Vadose Zone Hydrology 

GEOL 735 - Seminar in Environmental Geology 

GEOL 740 - Arid Zone Soils 

GEOL 744 - Tectonics and Structures 

GEOL 760 - Advanced Spatial Modeling with GIS 

GEOL 770 - Sedimentary Basins 

GEOL 776 - Paleosols Records of Past Landscapes 

Dissertation – Credits: 12

GEOL 799 - Dissertation 

Degree Requirements 

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. A minimum of 24 of the 60 credits required must be at the 700-level.
  3. Although more course work and dissertation credits may be taken, only 12 credits of Dissertation, and 48 course credits will be counted toward the degree program.
  4. Doctoral students are encouraged to take courses from outside of geoscience; however, a minimum of 15 credits must be geoscience (GEOL) courses.
  5. A maximum of three credits of Independent Study are permitted, except in special circumstances in which case permission from the doctoral advising committee, the department Graduate Coordinator and the department chair is required.
  6. Satisfactory progress toward meeting the degree requirements is required of all candidates. Satisfactory progress is defined as, at a minimum:
    1. Maintenance of at least a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate-level courses. Two grades of B- are permitted in the degree program as long as the GPA remains at or above 3.00. One grade of C+ or lower results in academic probation even if the overall GPA is above 3.0. Two grades of C+ or lower will result in automatic suspension from the program.
    2. Selecting a dissertation advisor and committee. The advisor must be selected before the end of the first semester and the committee before the end of the second semester.
    3. Scheduling of an interview with the advisor either during or before the first semester. If an advisor is not selected, a temporary advisor will be assigned by the graduate coordinator. The purpose of the interview is to develop a plan of course work for the first year.
    4. In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a thesis committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
    5. Scheduling of a diagnostic interview with the Advisory Committee before the end of the 2nd semester. The purpose of the interview is to develop a list of recommended courses and design the student’s degree program, which must be submitted prior to completing 16 credits of course work toward the degree.
    6. Preparation of a dissertation proposal and satisfactory performance on a Proposal Defense Examination. This examination must be completed prior to the end of the third semester. The Proposal Defense Examination focuses on the dissertation proposal and the student’s ability to perform the research. It includes a formal oral presentation of the student’s dissertation proposal, research to date, and questions by the dissertation advisory committee on the dissertation topic. The Proposal Defense Examination is to be taken prior to the Comprehensive Examination.
    7. Satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination. Ph.D. students must have a basic knowledge of Physical Geology in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of three fields of geosciences (see Department of Geoscience Graduate Student Guidelines for recommended fields for each Ph.D. Emphasis). The format and content of the exam will be determined by the student’s doctoral advisory committee with approval of the department graduate coordinator. The Comprehensive Examination will be taken either the semester after all course work is completed or before the end of the fifth semester, whichever comes first. The examination will be oral. In exceptional circumstances, as determined by the student’s dissertation committee and the graduate coordinator, the examination will consist of both oral and written components. Students who fail to pass the Comprehensive Examination or Proposal Defense on the first attempt must successfully complete a second examination (as specified by the doctoral advisory committee) within the next six months to remain in the program. Students who entered the program with a baccalaureate degree and who fail the second examination may be allowed to continue as a Master of Science student with the consent of the doctoral advising committee. Students who entered the program with a master’s degree who fail the examination a second time will be separated from the program. A student who has successfully passed both the Proposal Defense and Comprehensive Examinations will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
    8. Satisfactory performance on a final examination will consist of the presentation and defense of the dissertation research. The defense will consist of an oral presentation open to the public, a short period of questions from the public, a closed session of questions from the doctoral advising committee, and a closed deliberation and vote by just the advisory committee members. Any graduate faculty member may attend the closed session of questions of the defense.
  7. Using Degree Audit as a guide, a degree program must be approved by the advisory committee prior to the beginning of the third semester of enrollment.
  8. It is recommended that the student be a teaching assistant or instructor for at least one semester.
  9. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission be included in the graduate degree program, providing those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and a grade of B (3.00) or higher was achieved.

Graduation Requirements 

See Plan Graduation Requirements below.

Subplan 4 Requirements: Post-Bachelor’s - Hydrogeology Track


Total Credits Required: 60

Course Requirements 

Required Course – Credits: 3

GEOL 701 - Research Methods in Geoscience 

Elective Courses – Credits: 45

Complete 45 credits from the following list of courses, or other advisor-approved courses that are appropriate for the course of study.

BIOL 618 - Microbial Ecology 

BIOL 745 - Arid Zone Soils 

GEOL 630 - Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Theory and Applications 

GEOL 646 - Geologic Applications in Remote Sensing 

GEOL 674 - Hydrogeology 

GEOL 678 - Hydrogeochemistry 

GEOL 688 - Microtechniques in Geoscience 

GEOL 709 - Field Methods in Hydrogeology 

GEOL 711 - Principles of Hydrology and Hydraulics 

GEOL 712 - Watershed Hydrology 

GEOL 715 - Advanced Hydrogeology 

GEOL 716 - Geostatistics 

GEOL 719 - Vadose Zone Hydrology 

GEOL 735 - Seminar in Environmental Geology 

GEOL 740 - Arid Zone Soils 

GEOL 744 - Tectonics and Structures 

GEOL 760 - Advanced Spatial Modeling with GIS 

GEOL 765 - Seminar in Stratigraphy 

GEOL 770 - Sedimentary Basins 

GEOL 776 - Paleosols Records of Past Landscapes 

GEOL 785 - Seminar in Sedimentology 

GEOL 792 - Seminar in Hydroscience 

Dissertation – Credits: 12

GEOL 799 - Dissertation 

Degree Requirements 

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. A minimum of 24 of the 60 credits required must be at the 700-level.
  3. Although more course work and dissertation credits may be taken, only 12 credits of Dissertation, and 48 course credits will be counted toward the degree program.
  4. Doctoral students are encouraged to take courses from outside of geoscience; however, a minimum of 15 credits must be geoscience (GEOL) courses.
  5. A maximum of three credits of Independent Study are permitted, except in special circumstances in which case permission from the doctoral advising committee, the department Graduate Coordinator and the department chair is required.
  6. Satisfactory progress toward meeting the degree requirements is required of all candidates. Satisfactory progress is defined as, at a minimum:
    1. Maintenance of at least a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate-level courses. Two grades of B- are permitted in the degree program as long as the GPA remains at or above 3.00. One grade of C+ or lower results in academic probation even if the overall GPA is above 3.0. Two grades of C+ or lower will result in automatic suspension from the program.
    2. Selecting a dissertation advisor and committee. The advisor must be selected before the end of the first semester and the committee before the end of the second semester.
    3. Scheduling of an interview with the advisor either during or before the first semester. If an advisor is not selected, a temporary advisor will be assigned by the graduate coordinator. The purpose of the interview is to develop a plan of course work for the first year.
    4. In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a thesis committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
    5. Scheduling of a diagnostic interview with the Advisory Committee before the end of the 2nd semester. The purpose of the interview is to develop a list of recommended courses and design the student’s degree program, which must be submitted prior to completing 16 credits of course work toward the degree.
    6. Preparation of a dissertation proposal and satisfactory performance on a Proposal Defense Examination. This examination must be completed prior to the end of the third semester. The Proposal Defense Examination focuses on the dissertation proposal and the student’s ability to perform the research. It includes a formal oral presentation of the student’s dissertation proposal, research to date, and questions by the dissertation advisory committee on the dissertation topic. The Proposal Defense Examination is to be taken prior to the Comprehensive Examination.
    7. Satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination. Ph.D. students must have a basic knowledge of Physical Geology in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of three fields of geosciences (see Department of Geoscience Graduate Student Guidelines for recommended fields for each Ph.D. Emphasis). The format and content of the exam will be determined by the student’s doctoral advisory committee with approval of the department graduate coordinator. The Comprehensive Examination will be taken either the semester after all course work is completed or before the end of the fifth semester, whichever comes first. The examination will be oral. In exceptional circumstances, as determined by the student’s dissertation committee and the graduate coordinator, the examination will consist of both oral and written components. Students who fail to pass the Comprehensive Examination or Proposal Defense on the first attempt must successfully complete a second examination (as specified by the doctoral advisory committee) within the next six months to remain in the program. Students who entered the program with a baccalaureate degree and who fail the second examination may be allowed to continue as a Master of Science student with the consent of the doctoral advising committee. Students who entered the program with a master’s degree who fail the examination a second time will be separated from the program. A student who has successfully passed both the Proposal Defense and Comprehensive Examinations will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
    8. Satisfactory performance on a final examination will consist of the presentation and defense of the dissertation research. The defense will consist of an oral presentation open to the public, a short period of questions from the public, a closed session of questions from the doctoral advising committee, and a closed deliberation and vote by just the advisory committee members. Any graduate faculty member may attend the closed session of questions of the defense.
  7. Using Degree Audit as a guide, a degree program must be approved by the advisory committee prior to the beginning of the third semester of enrollment.
  8. It is recommended that the student be a teaching assistant or instructor for at least one semester.
  9. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission be included in the graduate degree program, providing those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and a grade of B (3.00) or higher was achieved.

Graduation Requirements 

See Plan Graduation Requirements below.

Subplan 5 Requirements: Post-Master’s - Geology Track


Total Credits Required: 36

Course Requirements 

Required Course – Credits: 3

GEOL 701 - Research Methods in Geoscience 

Elective Courses – Credits: 21

Complete 21 credits of 600- or 700-level GEOL courses, or other advisor-approved courses.

Dissertation – Credits: 12

GEOL 799 - Dissertation 

Degree Requirements 

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. A minimum of 12 of the 36 credits required must be at the 700-level.
  3. Although more course work and dissertation credits may be taken, only 12 credits of Dissertation, and 24 course credits will be counted toward the degree program.
  4. Doctoral students are encouraged to take courses from outside of geoscience; however, a minimum of 15 credits must be geoscience (GEOL) courses.
  5. A maximum of three credits of Independent Study are permitted, except in special circumstances in which case permission from the doctoral advising committee, the department Graduate Coordinator and the department chair is required.
  6. Satisfactory progress toward meeting the degree requirements is required of all candidates. Satisfactory progress is defined as, at a minimum:
    1. Maintenance of at least a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate-level courses. Two grades of B- are permitted in the degree program as long as the GPA remains at or above 3.00. One grade of C+ or lower results in academic probation even if the overall GPA is above 3.0. Two grades of C+ or lower will result in automatic suspension from the program.
    2. Selecting a dissertation advisor and committee. The advisor must be selected before the end of the first semester and the committee before the end of the second semester.
    3. c. Scheduling of an interview with the advisor either during or before the first semester. If an advisor is not selected, a temporary advisor will be assigned by the graduate coordinator. The purpose of the interview is to develop a plan of course work for the first year.
    4. In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a thesis committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
    5. Scheduling of a diagnostic interview with the Advisory Committee before the end of the 2nd semester. The purpose of the interview is to develop a list of recommended courses and design the student’s degree program, which must be submitted prior to completing 16 credits of course work toward the degree.
    6. Preparation of a dissertation proposal and satisfactory performance on a Proposal Defense Examination. This examination must be completed prior to the end of the third semester. The Proposal Defense Examination focuses on the dissertation proposal and the student’s ability to perform the research. It includes a formal oral presentation of the student’s dissertation proposal, research to date, and questions by the dissertation advisory committee on the dissertation topic. The Proposal Defense Examination is to be taken prior to the Comprehensive Examination.
    7. Satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination. Ph.D. students must have a basic knowledge of Physical Geology in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of three fields of geosciences (see Department of Geoscience Graduate Student Guidelines for recommended fields for each Ph.D. Emphasis). The format and content of the exam will be determined by the student’s doctoral advisory committee with approval of the department graduate coordinator. The Comprehensive Examination will be taken either the semester after all course work is completed or before the end of the fifth semester, whichever comes first. The examination will be oral. In exceptional circumstances, as determined by the student’s dissertation committee and the graduate coordinator, the examination will consist of both oral and written components. Students who fail to pass the Comprehensive Examination or Proposal Defense on the first attempt must successfully complete a second examination (as specified by the doctoral advisory committee) within the next six months to remain in the program. Students who entered the program with a baccalaureate degree and who fail the second examination may be allowed to continue as a Master of Science student with the consent of the doctoral advising committee. Students who entered the program with a master’s degree who fail the examination a second time will be separated from the program. A student who has successfully passed both the Proposal Defense and Comprehensive Examinations will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
    8. Satisfactory performance on a final examination will consist of the presentation and defense of the dissertation research. The defense will consist of an oral presentation open to the public, a short period of questions from the public, a closed session of questions from the doctoral advising committee, and a closed deliberation and vote by just the advisory committee members. Any graduate faculty member may attend the closed session of questions of the defense.
  7. Using Degree Audit as a guide, a degree program must be approved by the advisory committee prior to the beginning of the third semester of enrollment.
  8. It is recommended that the student be a teaching assistant or instructor for at least one semester.
  9. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission be included in the graduate degree program, providing those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and a grade of B (3.00) or higher was achieved.

Graduation Requirements 

See Plan Graduation Requirements below.

Subplan 6 Requirements: Post-Master’s - Geophysics Track


 Total Credits Required: 36

Course Requirements 

Required Course – Credits: 3

GEOL 701 - Research Methods in Geoscience 

Core Course – Credits: 3

Complete one of the following courses:

CEE 636 - Engineering Geophysics 

GEOL 645 - Geophysical Methods 

Additional Core Course – Credits: 3

Complete one of the following courses:

ECG 780 - Digital Signal Processing 

GEOL 793 - Independent Study and Research 

Geophysics Courses – Credits: 9

Complete 9 credits in three or more of the following courses, or other advisor-approved courses.

BIOL 618 - Microbial Ecology 

CEE 634 - Rock Mechanics 

CEE 636 - Engineering Geophysics 

CEE 676 - Earthquake Engineering 

CEE 737 - Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 

CEE 775 - Seismic Response of Structures 

GEOL 630 - Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Theory and Applications 

GEOL 643 - Plate Tectonics 

GEOL 644 - Tectonics of Orogenic Belts 

GEOL 646 - Geologic Applications in Remote Sensing 

GEOL 678 - Hydrogeochemistry 

GEOL 688 - Microtechniques in Geoscience 

GEOL 716 - Geostatistics 

GEOL 744 - Tectonics and Structures 

GEOL 745 - Advanced Structural Geology 

GEOL 746 - Strain and Microstructural Analysis 

GEOL 747 - Geological Evolution of Western North America 

GEOL 770 - Sedimentary Basins 

GEOL 772 - Reflection Seismic Data Interpretation 

GEOL 773 - Seminar in Geophysics 

Elective Courses – Credits: 6

Complete 6 credits from the following list of courses, or other advisor-approved courses that are appropriate for the course of study.

BIOL 618 - Microbial Ecology 

CEE 634 - Rock Mechanics 

CEE 636 - Engineering Geophysics 

CEE 676 - Earthquake Engineering 

CEE 737 - Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 

CEE 775 - Seismic Response of Structures 

GEOL 630 - Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Theory and Applications 

GEOL 643 - Plate Tectonics 

GEOL 644 - Tectonics of Orogenic Belts 

GEOL 646 - Geologic Applications in Remote Sensing 

GEOL 678 - Hydrogeochemistry 

GEOL 688 - Microtechniques in Geoscience 

GEOL 716 - Geostatistics 

GEOL 744 - Tectonics and Structures 

GEOL 745 - Advanced Structural Geology 

GEOL 746 - Strain and Microstructural Analysis 

GEOL 747 - Geological Evolution of Western North America 

GEOL 770 - Sedimentary Basins 

GEOL 772 - Reflection Seismic Data Interpretation 

GEOL 773 - Seminar in Geophysics 

Dissertation – Credits: 12

GEOL 799 - Dissertation 

Degree Requirements 

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. A minimum of 12 of the 36 credits required must be at the 700-level.
  3. Although more course work and dissertation credits may be taken, only 12 credits of Dissertation, and 24 course credits will be counted toward the degree program.
  4. Doctoral students are encouraged to take courses from outside of geoscience; however, a minimum of 15 credits must be geoscience (GEOL) courses.
  5. A maximum of three credits of Independent Study are permitted, except in special circumstances in which case permission from the doctoral advising committee, the department Graduate Coordinator and the department chair is required.
  6. Satisfactory progress toward meeting the degree requirements is required of all candidates. Satisfactory progress is defined as, at a minimum:
    1. Maintenance of at least a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate-level courses. Two grades of B- are permitted in the degree program as long as the GPA remains at or above 3.00. One grade of C+ or lower results in academic probation even if the overall GPA is above 3.0. Two grades of C+ or lower will result in automatic suspension from the program.
    2. Selecting a dissertation advisor and committee. The advisor must be selected before the end of the first semester and the committee before the end of the second semester.
    3. Scheduling of an interview with the advisor either during or before the first semester. If an advisor is not selected, a temporary advisor will be assigned by the graduate coordinator. The purpose of the interview is to develop a plan of course work for the first year.
    4. In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a thesis committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
    5. Scheduling of a diagnostic interview with the Advisory Committee before the end of the 2nd semester. The purpose of the interview is to develop a list of recommended courses and design the student’s degree program, which must be submitted prior to completing 16 credits of course work toward the degree.
    6. Preparation of a dissertation proposal and satisfactory performance on a Proposal Defense Examination. This examination must be completed prior to the end of the third semester. The Proposal Defense Examination focuses on the dissertation proposal and the student’s ability to perform the research. It includes a formal oral presentation of the student’s dissertation proposal, research to date, and questions by the dissertation advisory committee on the dissertation topic. The Proposal Defense Examination is to be taken prior to the Comprehensive Examination.
    7. Satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination. Ph.D. students must have a basic knowledge of Physical Geology in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of three fields of geosciences (see Department of Geoscience Graduate Student Guidelines for recommended fields for each Ph.D. Emphasis). The format and content of the exam will be determined by the student’s doctoral advisory committee with approval of the department graduate coordinator. The Comprehensive Examination will be taken either the semester after all course work is completed or before the end of the fifth semester, whichever comes first. The examination will be oral. In exceptional circumstances, as determined by the student’s dissertation committee and the graduate coordinator, the examination will consist of both oral and written components. Students who fail to pass the Comprehensive Examination or Proposal Defense on the first attempt must successfully complete a second examination (as specified by the doctoral advisory committee) within the next six months to remain in the program. Students who entered the program with a baccalaureate degree and who fail the second examination may be allowed to continue as a Master of Science student with the consent of the doctoral advising committee. Students who entered the program with a master’s degree who fail the examination a second time will be separated from the program. A student who has successfully passed both the Proposal Defense and Comprehensive Examinations will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
    8. Satisfactory performance on a final examination will consist of the presentation and defense of the dissertation research. The defense will consist of an oral presentation open to the public, a short period of questions from the public, a closed session of questions from the doctoral advising committee, and a closed deliberation and vote by just the advisory committee members. Any graduate faculty member may attend the closed session of questions of the defense.
  7. Using Degree Audit as a guide, a degree program must be approved by the advisory committee prior to the beginning of the third semester of enrollment.
  8. It is recommended that the student be a teaching assistant or instructor for at least one semester.
  9. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission be included in the graduate degree program, providing those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and a grade of B (3.00) or higher was achieved.

Graduation Requirements 

See Plan Graduation Requirements below.

Subplan 7 Requirements: Post-Master’s - Soil Science Track


Total Credits Required: 36

Course Requirements 

Required Courses – Credits: 9

GEOL 610 - Soil Classification and Resource Management 

GEOL 701 - Research Methods in Geoscience 

GEOL 786 - Soils Applications: Paleoclimate, Neotectonics, Archeology 

Elective Courses – Credits: 15

Complete 15 credits from the following list of courses, or other advisor-approved courses that are appropriate for the course of study.

BIOL 618 - Microbial Ecology 

BIOL 745 - Arid Zone Soils 

GEOL 630 - Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Theory and Applications 

GEOL 646 - Geologic Applications in Remote Sensing 

GEOL 688 - Microtechniques in Geoscience 

GEOL 712 - Watershed Hydrology 

GEOL 716 - Geostatistics 

GEOL 719 - Vadose Zone Hydrology 

GEOL 735 - Seminar in Environmental Geology 

GEOL 740 - Arid Zone Soils 

GEOL 744 - Tectonics and Structures 

GEOL 760 - Advanced Spatial Modeling with GIS 

GEOL 770 - Sedimentary Basins 

GEOL 776 - Paleosols Records of Past Landscapes 

Dissertation – Credits: 12

GEOL 799 - Dissertation 

Degree Requirements 

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. A minimum of 12 of the 36 credits required must be at the 700-level.
  3. Although more course work and dissertation credits may be taken, only 12 credits of Dissertation, and 24 course credits will be counted toward the degree program.
  4. Doctoral students are encouraged to take courses from outside of geoscience; however, a minimum of 15 credits must be geoscience (GEOL) courses.
  5. A maximum of three credits of Independent Study are permitted, except in special circumstances in which case permission from the doctoral advising committee, the department Graduate Coordinator and the department chair is required.
  6. Satisfactory progress toward meeting the degree requirements is required of all candidates. Satisfactory progress is defined as, at a minimum:
    1. Maintenance of at least a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate-level courses. Two grades of B- are permitted in the degree program as long as the GPA remains at or above 3.00. One grade of C+ or lower results in academic probation even if the overall GPA is above 3.0. Two grades of C+ or lower will result in automatic suspension from the program.
    2. Selecting a dissertation advisor and committee. The advisor must be selected before the end of the first semester and the committee before the end of the second semester.
    3. Scheduling of an interview with the advisor either during or before the first semester. If an advisor is not selected, a temporary advisor will be assigned by the graduate coordinator. The purpose of the interview is to develop a plan of course work for the first year.
    4. In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a thesis committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
    5. Scheduling of a diagnostic interview with the Advisory Committee before the end of the 2nd semester. The purpose of the interview is to develop a list of recommended courses and design the student’s degree program, which must be submitted prior to completing 16 credits of course work toward the degree.
    6. Preparation of a dissertation proposal and satisfactory performance on a Proposal Defense Examination. This examination must be completed prior to the end of the third semester. The Proposal Defense Examination focuses on the dissertation proposal and the student’s ability to perform the research. It includes a formal oral presentation of the student’s dissertation proposal, research to date, and questions by the dissertation advisory committee on the dissertation topic. The Proposal Defense Examination is to be taken prior to the Comprehensive Examination.
    7. Satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination. Ph.D. students must have a basic knowledge of Physical Geology in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of three fields of geosciences (see Department of Geoscience Graduate Student Guidelines for recommended fields for each Ph.D. Emphasis). The format and content of the exam will be determined by the student’s doctoral advisory committee with approval of the department graduate coordinator. The Comprehensive Examination will be taken either the semester after all course work is completed or before the end of the fifth semester, whichever comes first. The examination will be oral. In exceptional circumstances, as determined by the student’s dissertation committee and the graduate coordinator, the examination will consist of both oral and written components. Students who fail to pass the Comprehensive Examination or Proposal Defense on the first attempt must successfully complete a second examination (as specified by the doctoral advisory committee) within the next six months to remain in the program. Students who entered the program with a baccalaureate degree and who fail the second examination may be allowed to continue as a Master of Science student with the consent of the doctoral advising committee. Students who entered the program with a master’s degree who fail the examination a second time will be separated from the program. A student who has successfully passed both the Proposal Defense and Comprehensive Examinations will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
    8. Satisfactory performance on a final examination will consist of the presentation and defense of the dissertation research. The defense will consist of an oral presentation open to the public, a short period of questions from the public, a closed session of questions from the doctoral advising committee, and a closed deliberation and vote by just the advisory committee members. Any graduate faculty member may attend the closed session of questions of the defense.
  7. Using Degree Audit as a guide, a degree program must be approved by the advisory committee prior to the beginning of the third semester of enrollment.
  8. It is recommended that the student be a teaching assistant or instructor for at least one semester.
  9. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission be included in the graduate degree program, providing those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and a grade of B (3.00) or higher was achieved.

Graduation Requirements 

See Plan Graduation Requirements below.

Subplan 8 Requirements: Post-Master’s - Hydrogeology Track


Total Credits Required: 36

Course Requirements 

Required Course – Credits: 3

GEOL 701 - Research Methods in Geoscience 

Elective Courses – Credits: 21

Complete 21 credits from the following list of courses, or other advisor-approved courses that are appropriate for the course of study.

BIOL 618 - Microbial Ecology 

BIOL 745 - Arid Zone Soils 

GEOL 630 - Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Theory and Applications 

GEOL 646 - Geologic Applications in Remote Sensing 

GEOL 674 - Hydrogeology 

GEOL 678 - Hydrogeochemistry 

GEOL 688 - Microtechniques in Geoscience 

GEOL 709 - Field Methods in Hydrogeology 

GEOL 711 - Principles of Hydrology and Hydraulics 

GEOL 712 - Watershed Hydrology 

GEOL 715 - Advanced Hydrogeology 

GEOL 716 - Geostatistics 

GEOL 719 - Vadose Zone Hydrology 

GEOL 735 - Seminar in Environmental Geology 

GEOL 740 - Arid Zone Soils 

GEOL 744 - Tectonics and Structures 

GEOL 760 - Advanced Spatial Modeling with GIS 

GEOL 765 - Seminar in Stratigraphy 

GEOL 770 - Sedimentary Basins 

GEOL 776 - Paleosols Records of Past Landscapes 

GEOL 785 - Seminar in Sedimentology 

GEOL 792 - Seminar in Hydroscience 

Dissertation – Credits: 12

GEOL 799 - Dissertation 

Degree Requirements 

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00.
  2. A minimum of 12 of the 36 credits required must be at the 700-level.
  3. Although more course work and dissertation credits may be taken, only 12 credits of Dissertation, and 24 course credits will be counted toward the degree program.
  4. Doctoral students are encouraged to take courses from outside of geoscience; however, a minimum of 15 credits must be geoscience (GEOL) courses.
  5. A maximum of three credits of Independent Study are permitted, except in special circumstances in which case permission from the doctoral advising committee, the department Graduate Coordinator and the department chair is required.
  6. Satisfactory progress toward meeting the degree requirements is required of all candidates. Satisfactory progress is defined as, at a minimum:
    1. Maintenance of at least a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate-level courses. Two grades of B- are permitted in the degree program as long as the GPA remains at or above 3.00. One grade of C+ or lower results in academic probation even if the overall GPA is above 3.0. Two grades of C+ or lower will result in automatic suspension from the program.
    2. Selecting a dissertation advisor and committee. The advisor must be selected before the end of the first semester and the committee before the end of the second semester.
    3. Scheduling of an interview with the advisor either during or before the first semester. If an advisor is not selected, a temporary advisor will be assigned by the graduate coordinator. The purpose of the interview is to develop a plan of course work for the first year.
    4. In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a thesis committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
    5. Scheduling of a diagnostic interview with the Advisory Committee before the end of the 2nd semester. The purpose of the interview is to develop a list of recommended courses and design the student’s degree program, which must be submitted prior to completing 16 credits of course work toward the degree.
    6. Preparation of a dissertation proposal and satisfactory performance on a Proposal Defense Examination. This examination must be completed prior to the end of the third semester. The Proposal Defense Examination focuses on the dissertation proposal and the student’s ability to perform the research. It includes a formal oral presentation of the student’s dissertation proposal, research to date, and questions by the dissertation advisory committee on the dissertation topic. The Proposal Defense Examination is to be taken prior to the Comprehensive Examination.
    7. Satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination. Ph.D. students must have a basic knowledge of Physical Geology in addition to a comprehensive knowledge of three fields of geosciences (see Department of Geoscience Graduate Student Guidelines for recommended fields for each Ph.D. Emphasis). The format and content of the exam will be determined by the student’s doctoral advisory committee with approval of the department graduate coordinator. The Comprehensive Examination will be taken either the semester after all course work is completed or before the end of the fifth semester, whichever comes first. The examination will be oral. In exceptional circumstances, as determined by the student’s dissertation committee and the graduate coordinator, the examination will consist of both oral and written components. Students who fail to pass the Comprehensive Examination or Proposal Defense on the first attempt must successfully complete a second examination (as specified by the doctoral advisory committee) within the next six months to remain in the program. Students who entered the program with a baccalaureate degree and who fail the second examination may be allowed to continue as a Master of Science student with the consent of the doctoral advising committee. Students who entered the program with a master’s degree who fail the examination a second time will be separated from the program. A student who has successfully passed both the Proposal Defense and Comprehensive Examinations will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
    8. Satisfactory performance on a final examination will consist of the presentation and defense of the dissertation research. The defense will consist of an oral presentation open to the public, a short period of questions from the public, a closed session of questions from the doctoral advising committee, and a closed deliberation and vote by just the advisory committee members. Any graduate faculty member may attend the closed session of questions of the defense.
  7. Using Degree Audit as a guide, a degree program must be approved by the advisory committee prior to the beginning of the third semester of enrollment.
  8. It is recommended that the student be a teaching assistant or instructor for at least one semester.
  9. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission be included in the graduate degree program, providing those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and a grade of B (3.00) or higher was achieved.

Graduation Requirements 

See Plan Graduation Requirements below.

Plan Graduation Requirements


  1. The student must submit all required forms to the Graduate College and then apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing his/her degree requirements.
  2. The student must submit and successfully defend his/her dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.
  3. The student must submit his/her approved, properly formatted hard-copy dissertation to the Graduate College, and submit the approved electronic version to ProQuest by the posted deadline.