Transfer to the Ph.D. Program after Completion of M.S. Degree

Guidelines for Entering the Ph.D. Program after completion of the School of Earth Sciences M.S. Program
(note: see also more general details in Graduate Student Handbook)

Except for “special” and “non-degree” graduate students (who do not intend to pursue a graduate degree), students admitted to the Graduate School have graduate standing in a particular degree program of an academic unit.  In the School of Earth Sciences, this means either the M.S. or the Ph.D. degree program.  In its review of new applications for graduate study in the School of Earth Sciences, the Graduate Studies committee considers the stated degree program before making a recommendation on admission.

A graduate student admitted to the Master’s degree program in the School of Earth Sciences is expected to work towards the M.S. degree.  Upon completion of the M.S. degree, a student is not automatically considered to be in the Ph.D. program even though continued course registration is permitted by the Graduate School.  Program status is changed by notification of the Graduate School by the Graduate Studies Committee that the student has been admitted to the Ph.D. program.  Requests for admission to the Ph.D. program in the School of Earth Sciences must be made through the Graduate Studies Committee, as described below.

Application to enter the Ph.D. program in the School of Earth Sciences does not require re-application to the Graduate School for admission.  Rather, application is made in the form of:

1.  a formal letter to the Graduate Studies Committee by the student. The letter also should include: a statement of progress in the M.S. program and plans for completion of the M.S. degree; a statement of goals and career objectives; identification of the anticipated area of Ph.D. research; and the name of the Earth Sciences Faculty member in that area who is willing to serve as the Ph.D. advisor.
2. new letters of recommendation forwarded to the Graduate Studies Committee. The applicant must request recommendation letters from three School of Earth Sciences Graduate Faculty, one of whom is the potential Ph.D. advisor. 

In its evaluation, the Graduate Studies Committee will consider these new materials and the applicant’s graduate work and performance in this school, along with the other credentials require of all applicants (e.g., GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts) previously submitted for entrance into the M.S. program.

After review of the application, the Graduate Studies Committee will inform the applicant by letter of its decision to recommend, or not to recommend, admission to the Ph.D. program.  In the former case the Committee will recommend by letter to the Graduate School that the student be recognized as a Ph.D. student.  This letter may indicate certain “conditions” to be satisfied, such as successful completion of the M.S. before admission into the Ph.D. program or other requirements, as is done for all “external” applications.  Additionally, this letter will inform the Graduate School whether credits earned as a Master’s student should be counted toward the Ph.D. credit-hour requirements.

It is inappropriate to apply for entrance to the Ph.D. program until significant progress has been made toward completion of the M.S. requirements (e.g., coursework and progress on thesis research).