Earth Sciences Graduate Student Guidelines

The OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
School of Earth Sciences
Guidelines for Graduate Students
Earth Sciences Degree Programs
*Coordinated with OSU Graduate School Handbook (GSH)

 

Goals and Objectives:
The overall goal of the Graduate Degree Program in the School of Earth Sciences is to provide students the opportunity to develop advanced professional training in the Earth Sciences. The program includes providing students opportunities to participate in advanced classes and seminars and to conduct independent research on fundamental issues in the Earth Sciences. The product of both M.S. and Ph.D. research projects are expected to be suitable for publication in the refereed scientific literature, and after graduation a student should be prepared to begin a career in the Earth Sciences.

Admission Standards:
Normal Admission Standards
The faculty has adopted the following guidelines as minimum standards for admission (GSH Sec. 2):

1.         A minimum of 3.0 cumulative point-hour ratio is required for admission into the graduate program. This point-hour ratio is based on the 4.0 scale used at this university and applies to all previous undergraduate work.
2.         Normally expect an average score of 60 percentile or better on the average of the Verbal and Quantitative parts of the GRE and 4.0 or better on the Analytical Writing part of the GRE.
3.         International applicants whose first language is not English are required to take one of three possible exams, including the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). For admission minimum scores must be of 550 on the paper-based TOEFL, 79 on the internet-based TOEFL, 82 on the MELAB, or 7.0 on the IELTS.

Maintaining rigid admission standards does not always serve the best interests of the School; and therefore, the admission standards above will serve as guidelines. The Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) strongly recommends the following:

1.         The GRE be taken in the same year (calendar or academic) that application is made to the graduate program.
2.         Prospective students who fail to meet the standards outlined above may be admitted to the graduate program only under exceptional circumstances. For example, such circumstances might include extensive professional experience.

Support:
M.S. Students
Qualified M.S. students, who are offered support when first accepted into the M.S. program, are conditionally assured support for four academic-year semesters (not including summer support). Support is conditional on maintaining reasonable progress, on maintaining good standing in the Graduate School (GSH Sec. 5.1), and satisfactory performance of GTA or GRA duties. Support is also conditional on availability of funds.

Completion of the M.S. is expected within two years. Slightly longer time-to-degree may occur, but additional support should not be expected.

 

Ph.D. Students
Students may enter the Ph. D. program in one of three ways: 1, with a completed M.S. degree; 2, directly from a completed B.S. degree; or 3, as from a transfer from the M.S. program to the Ph.D. Program. Students entering the Ph.D. program with a M.S. and who are offered support when first accepted into the Ph.D. program are conditionally assured support for eight academic-year semesters (not including summer support). Alternatively, if a student enters the Ph.D. program either directly from the B.S. (or by transfer from the M.S. degree program and offered support when first accepted into the Ph.D. program), a student is conditionally assured support for a total of ten academic-year semesters (not including summer support).

All support is conditional on maintaining reasonable progress, on maintaining good standing in the Graduate School (GSH Sec. 5.1), and satisfactory performance of GTA or GRA duties. Such support is also conditional on availability of funds. Additional support beyond that described above should not be expected.

Admission and Support of International Students
Consideration of support is an important part of the admissions process. Admission of international students for who English is not the first language requires guaranteed support for the first twelve months of residence (including support for the summer semester).

On arrival, an international student from a country in which English is not the first language must take the ESL composition Placement Essay assessment and satisfy all provisions outlined in GSH Sec. 2.6.

An international student for whom English is not the first language may be offered GTA support, if the following conditions, in addition to those outlined under Normal Admission Standards, are met:

1.         The student has either achieved a score of 28 or higher on the speaking section of the TOEFL, or has passed the Spoken English test (GSH Sec. 2.7) administered here at Ohio State by English as a Second Language (ESL). The Spoken English test costs $110 and can be set up via Skype for incoming graduate students not already in Columbus.  ESL also offers courses to help students prepare for the test. Contact: ESL Program, 196 Arps Hall, or esl.osu.edu
2.         The student has demonstrated a proven ability in writing, reading and speaking the English language. This ability may be demonstrated through personal contact with faculty in the School of Earth Sciences or by having already obtained a degree (BS or MS) at another university in the U.S. or an English-speaking country.

An international student may be admitted with Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) support if the applicant satisfies the criteria required for admission to the program. Such admission requires prior agreement with an individual faculty member. This support also must cover the first twelve months of residence. 

GTA Qualifications
Students with GTA support are expected to have mastery above and beyond the course material taught in the assigned course. Demonstration of mastery includes an undergraduate background in relevant course material, sitting in on the course in previous semesters, or by examination. GTA duties include, but are not limited to, teaching laboratory sections, attending GTA meetings, grading homework and lab assignments, administration of grade books, proctoring exams, and holding weekly office hours.  

Outside Work
School support, in the form of GTA and GRA stipends, is intended to help graduate students complete their studies in a timely fashion, as described in these guidelines as reasonable progress. Thus, all students supported as GTAs and GRAs are expected to devote full time to the assigned duties of their associateship, their course work, and their thesis/dissertation research. It is expected that students supported by University funds WILL NOT hold other regular employment during their appointments as GTAs or GRAs. Meeting this stipulation is considered a condition for accepting a GTA or GRA appointment.

Enrollment in Courses
The normal course load for graduate students is 12 to 16 semester credit hours and cannot exceed 16 semester credit hours during Autumn and Spring Semesters and 8 credit hours during Summer Semester without approval of the student’s advisor and the GSC (GSH Sec. 3.1). Post-candidacy Ph.D. students must enroll in a minimum of 3 credit hours in any given semester.

A graduate student must register for at least one credit hour to maintain office space and access to other University facilities.

The minimum course loads are as follows (all students are strongly encouraged to register for more than the minimum requirement, especially early in the time as a student):

Graduate Associates:
M.S. and pre-candidacy Ph.D. students supported by a 50% or greater GTA or GRA must register for a minimum of 8 semester credits for each of Autumn and Spring Semesters. During the Summer semester, the minimum is 4 semester credits (GHS Sec. 3.1).

Post-Candidacy Doctoral Students:
Post-Candidacy doctoral students must register for a minimum of 3 credit hours per semester (GSH Sec. 3.1). Students may register for more than the minimum of 3 credit hours but exceptions must be approved in advance by the advisor (if a GRA) or the Graduate Studies Committee (if a GTA) because of the budgetary resource implications of higher tuition. Post-candidacy students must maintain continuous enrollment of 3 or more credits every semester (summer semester is excluded) until graduation. (See GSH Sec. 3.1 for exceptions and further discussion).

Fellows and Trainees:
Graduate students funded by a Fellowship or Trainee regardless of source of funding must enroll for 12 credit hours during Autumn and Spring Semesters and 6 credit hours during Summer Semester, with the exception of a post-candidacy doctoral student, as described above (GSH Sec. 3.1).

International Students without a GRA, GTA, Fellowship or Trainee Appointment:
M.S. and doctoral pre-candidacy international students must register for a minimum of 8 credit hours during Autumn and Spring Semesters and 4 credit hours during Summer Semester; post-candidacy international Ph.D. students register for 3 credit hours, as described above.

M.S. Degree Requirements
Expected Background
All Master’s degree aspirants are expected to have a Bachelor’s degree, and they normally will have a degree in an Earth science field. However, students with non-geology backgrounds commonly make significant contributions to the Earth sciences, and they also are encouraged to apply to the M.S. program.

Program Approval Form
In consultation with the student’s advisor, a student will design a course of study appropriate to the field of specialization. Each Division may have a separate Program Approval Form. A completed Program Approval Form should be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee when the thesis proposal is submitted to the Committee or before. This will provide a record of the proposed course work and will serve as a guide for the completion of this portion of the graduate program.

Advisory Committee Selection
A student should seek an advisor during the first semester of residence and no later than the end of the second semester. The advisor and the student will choose two additional faculty members to serve on the M.S. Advisory Committee. At least one committee member is recommended from outside the student’s immediate area of research (as determined by the advisor and student).

Advisory Committee Meetings
The student shall meet with the Advisory Committee at the beginning of the program (prior to submission of the thesis proposal) and additional meetings shall be scheduled as appropriate, especially if the focus of the research proposal changes.

Credit Hours and Graduation Requirements
A minimum of 30 graduate semester credit hours is required for the Master’s degree (GSH Sec. 6.1). Of these, The School of Earth Sciences requires at least 20 credits must be in graded 5000-, 6000-, 7000-, and 8000-level courses in the Earth Sciences or in graduate-level courses in related sciences, mathematics, etc. Credits earned from 4000-level courses in other Departments may also be applied toward Earth Sciences degree programs. Courses numbered at the 3999-level or below, or courses offered at the 4000-4999 level in the student’s own academic unit do NOT count as graduate credit.

The Application to Graduate form must be submitted to the Graduate School using gradforms.osu.edu by the third Friday of the semester in which a student wishes to graduate (GSH Sec. 6.6). Submitting this application signals that the student plans to complete all degree requirements that semester or summer term (if requirements are not met, the form can be re-submitted in a subsequent semester). The form must be submitted by the student and approved by the advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee chair. The final Master’s Examination cannot be scheduled until the Advisory Committee has given preliminary approval of the thesis document.

Each student must complete a Master’s thesis (GSH Sec. 6.4), which describes the results of an original research project. The thesis document must be prepared according to the guidelines described in the “Graduate School Guidelines for Formatting Theses, Dissertations, and D.M.A. Documents”.

After completion of the Master’s thesis, candidates for the M.S. degree must complete a final oral examination, which may include questions on both the thesis research and other aspects of the M.S. training not related to the thesis (GSH Sec. 6.4). Additional information on the M.S. Thesis and M.S. Examination is in Section 6 of the Graduate School Handbook.

Master’s Degree Research
Choice of Research Area
By the end of the second semester in the program every student is strongly encouraged to have identified a research area and to have obtained the consent of a faculty member to serve as an advisor. Until the student has an advisor, a member of the GSC will act in that capacity. If necessary, the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee will provide advice on coursework and help in the selection of a research area and an advisor. 

Research Proposal (*note that details are also included as a separate summary sheet on the SES website)
During the end of the second semester in the program, the Master’s degree aspirant will submit a written proposal to their advisor and the members of the Advisory Committee.  The proposal shall outline an original research problem, and the scientific part of the proposal shall be approximately 3 to 5 pages in length not including references. The proposal shall include: (1) title page, which includes the list of Advisory Committee members and space for their signature upon document approval, (2) a statement on the nature and significance of the research, (3) description of the procedures to be employed, (4) projected timetable for completion of the project, and (5) estimated budget (stipend and its duration, anticipated source of funds; fieldwork costs; analytical costs and technician time; computer hardware and software costs; illustration expenses; etc.). NOTE: Anticipated and/or potential sources of funds for the research must be identified for all budget categories. A separate document on thesis and dissertation proposals “Guidelines for MS Thesis & PhD Dissertation” is made available to all students as part of the SES Handbook and on the SES website.

It is normal for the student and their advisor to work together to develop a proposal and that the advisor approves the proposal for circulation to the remainder of the committee. Other members of the M.S. Advisory Committee will review the proposal, and the proposal with appropriate revisions will be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator with the advisor and M.S. Advisory Committee signatures indicating approval. The GSC will review the proposal with respect to science plan, timetable, and budget, and if the proposal is acceptable to the GSC, then it will be included in the student’s permanent M.S. acceptance and advising file. Proposals should be on file by the end of the student’s second semester in the M.S. program.

Final Oral Examination

1.         members of the Advisory Committee must be given at least one week to read the thesis prior to the final oral examination. The reading copy of the thesis should be complete (i.e., with table of contents, illustrations, references, etc.).
2.         the thesis draft must be approved for defense by members of the Advisory committee prior to the beginning of the examination. The thesis must conform to the Graduate School format requirements outlined in the “Graduate School Guidelines for Formatting Theses, Dissertations, and D.M.A. Documents.” (GSH Sec. 6.4).
3.         the Master’s Examination should be scheduled during regular university business hours. Advisory Committee members should be consulted as early as possible on a final examination date, particularly if this will occur in the Summer.
4.         the Master’s Examination Committee consists of the Advisory Committee as originally constituted, although substitutions can be approved by the GSC in situations where members cannot be present at the time of the examination. The advisor serves as chairperson of the examination (GSH Sec. 6.2).
5.         the examination shall be scheduled in the semester of graduation and announced to the entire School by an email from the graduating student.
6.         all committee members must be present throughout the entire examination and are expected to participate fully in questioning during the course of the examination and in the discussion to determine the result of the exam (GSH Sec. 6.2).
7.         a Master’s Examination shall begin with a presentation by the Master’s candidate, comprised of a 20 to 30 minute summary of his/her research. This portion of the defense is open to the public.
8.         the examination is normally two hours in duration, and cannot exceed this 2 hr limit.
9.         a Final, approved thesis must be submitted electronically as a PDF document as described in the Graduate School Handbook (GSC Sec. 6.4).
NOTE: Students are encouraged to present an unbound copy of the complete thesis, to the Orton Memorial Library of Geology.

Master’s Thesis Presentation
All Master’s candidates are strongly encouraged to give a 30 minute presentation to faculty and students at an open forum within the semester of the final examination.

Good Standing and Reasonable Progress
Reasonable progress for completion of the Master’s Degree is two calendar years (six semesters including summers) after initial registration in the graduate program. After two calendar years in residence if the thesis will not be completed, then a full time M.S. student must submit a letter or email, signed by the thesis advisor (or cc on email), to the Graduate Studies Committee Chair indicating their intention to continue registering. After three calendar years in residence, a full time M.S. student must provide written explanation for lack of progress and seek permission from the Graduate Studies Committee to continue to register.

Reasonable progress and good standing includes:

1.         maintaining a 3.0 grade point average.
2.         meeting the course load requirements of the Graduate School (GSH Sec. 3.1).
3.         having an M.S. thesis proposal approved by the Advisory Committee and GSC by the end of the second semester of enrollment.
4.         making appropriate progress on the thesis research.
NOTE the section “Reasonable Progress” in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 5.4).

Variances and Exceptions
Variances from the stated requirements and schedules, as well as exceptions to any of the requirements for which the graduate faculty in the of School of Earth Sciences has control, may be granted by the GSC in response to a petition from the student and their faculty advisor.

Additional Information
Complete information concerning the rules and regulations for the M.S. degree are given in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 6.1 through 6.8) and are summarized in GSH Sec. 6.6.

Transfer to the Ph.D. program before completion of the MS degree
*note that a complete list of details are included as a separate sheet on the SES website

Students who initially enroll as M.S. students in the School of Earth Sciences may petition the GSC committee to transfer to the Ph.D. program without completion of the M.S. degree. This process is reserved for students who make an exceptional start in their graduate research and can establish their ability to do Ph.D.-level research early in their time as a graduate student. A petition to the GSC must occur within 18 months of starting the M.S. program. The petition must include a letter from the student requesting the conversion, including a description of their research and a CV listing of their accomplishments (papers, meeting abstracts, awards). The petition must be accompanied by a letter of support written by the student’s research advisor outlining the evidence for Ph.D.-level abilities, and letters from 1-2 additional faculty who can comment on their abilities.

Students granted a conversion from the M.S. and Ph.D. program will be expected to submit a dissertation proposal on the same schedule as other Ph.D. students based on matriculation date, not their M.S. to Ph.D. conversion date. The qualifying examination should be taken when sufficient coursework is completed that a student can reasonably graduate if they adhere to the 3-credit post-candidacy minimum (more than 3 credits can be taken post-candidacy, but this should be discussed with the advisor if a GRA and the GSC if a GTA).

If a student converted to the Ph.D. program or entered the Ph.D. program directly from the B.S. and either fails to take the candidacy examination or fails the candidacy examination, the student may reapply to the Graduate School to the M.S. program (GSH Sec. 7.7). A M.S. thesis will remain a requirement for the M.S. degree.

If a student converted to the Ph.D. program or entered into the Ph.D. program directly from the B.S. and passed the candidacy examination but decides to terminate the doctoral course of study, she/he may petition the Graduate Studies Committee, as described in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 7.7).

Entering Ph.D. Program after completion of the School of Earth Sciences MS degree
*note that a complete list of details are included as a separate sheet on the SES website

Upon completion of the M.S. degree, a student is not automatically considered to be in the Ph.D. program. 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 a formal letter to the Graduate Studies Committee by the student including 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. IN addition, 3 new letters of recommendation forwarded to the Graduate Studies Committee.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements
Admission to Program
A student normally enters the Ph.D. program after completion of a Master’s degree, although in exceptional cases a student may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program from a baccalaureate program. A Ph.D. aspirant who matriculates into the Ohio State program with an incomplete Master’s degree may be admitted conditionally, but the M.S. degree must be completed within two semesters to remain in the Ph.D. program.

As described above, after admission into the M.S. program, a student may transfer from the M.S. to the Ph.D. program in exceptional cases.

Credit Hours and Degree Requirements
Total credit hours: A minimum of 80 graduate semester credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the Ph.D (GSH Sec. 7.2). degree. Students who have earned a M.S. degree at another institution may transfer a total of 30 semester credits earned as part of a Master’s degree toward the 80 hours, leaving a total of 50 credits needed (GSH Sec. 7.2). A student who earned a M.S. degree at Ohio State University may transfer additional (excess) credit hours beyond this total of 30, as approved by the GSC and the student’s advisor (GSC Sec. 7.2).  

Graded credit hours: The School of Earth Sciences requires 20 credits of graded graduate coursework in the Sciences or appropriate related fields. However, students who have earned a M.S. degree at another institution may transfer a total of 10 graded credits earned as part of a Master’s degree (included in the 30 total credits hours transferred; see above paragraph) toward the 20 graded hours, leaving a total of 10 graded graduate credits needed. The graded coursework must include at least 4 credits of 800​0​-level seminars (this total of 4 is the same regardless of whether the student needs a total of 10 or 20 graded credit hours as described above).

*Courses numbered at the 3999-level or below, or courses offered at the 4000-4999 level in the student’s own academic unit do NOT count as graduate credit.

Under exceptional circumstances (for example, a student with an M.S. degree in the School of Earth Sciences), the Graduate Studies Committee will consider petitions requesting modifications to the required number of graded credit hours.

A summary of all University degree requirements, including credit hours, is summarized in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 7.14).

Choice of Advisor and Research Area
A Ph.D. student will usually have identified an area of proposed research and contacted potential faculty advisors at the time of application to the program or by the time of initial registration. A student has until the end of the second semester of registration to select an area of research, by which time they also should have obtained the consent of a faculty member to serve as their Ph.D. advisor.

Program Approval Form
In consultation with the student’s advisor, a student will design a course of study appropriate to the field of specialization. Each Division may have a separate Program Approval Form. It is suggested that a completed Program Approval Form be submitted to the GSC by the end of the first year in the program. It will provide a record of the proposed course work and will serve as a guide for the completion of this portion of the graduate program.

Dissertation Committee Selection and Thesis Proposal
Advisory Committee (as recognized by SES and the Graduate School)
The student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee should be established by the advisor and the student before the end of the second semester of registration. The student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee is composed of at least four authorized Graduate Faculty members at Ohio State, who will also serve as the student’s formal Candidacy Examination Committee as recognized by the Graduate School at Ohio State (GSH Sec. 7.4). Graduate Faculty Eligibility is determined by the Graduate School and may include tenure-track faculty and emeritus faculty who have retained Graduate Faculty status (GSH Sec. 15.1). Associated Faculty (e.g., adjuncts at Ohio State, or faculty at other universities) can serve on the Candidacy Examination Committee upon approval and petition to the GSC and Graduate School, but do not count as 1 of the 4 required Graduate Faculty members (GSH 7.4).  Note that the Graduate School rules for the student’s formal Dissertation Committee (GSH 7.9) requires only 3 members with Graduate Faculty status, and in this case the 4th member could be an External Member (GSH 7.9) by approval of the Graduate School (adjunct appointments are not needed).

In terms of the expertise, student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee must include the advisor and 2 faculty members with appropriate knowledge.  It is recommended that the fourth member shall be from outside the student’s immediate area of specialization (as determined by their research advisor) 

The student shall meet with the Advisory Committee at the beginning of the program (prior to submission of the thesis proposal). Annual committee meetings are recommended, and additional meetings shall be scheduled as appropriate, especially if the focus of the research proposal changes.

PhD Research Proposal (*note that details are also included as a separate summary sheet on the SES website)
Before the end of the second year of enrollment (two calendar years), a Ph.D. aspirant should prepare a written dissertation proposal that outlines the student’s research problem. The scientific part of the proposal shall be approximately 5 to 9 pages in length not including references.  The proposal shall include: (1) title page, which includes the list of Advisory Committee members and space for their signature upon document approval, (2) nature and significance of the research, (3) description of the procedures to be employed, (4) projected timetable for completion of the project, and (5) estimated budget (stipend and its duration, anticipated source of funds; fieldwork costs; analytical costs and technician time; computer hardware and software costs; illustration expenses; etc.). NOTE: Anticipated and/or potential sources of funds for the research also must be identified for all budget categories. A separate document on thesis and dissertation proposals is available to all students.

It is normal for the student and her/his advisor to work together to develop a proposal and that the advisor approves the proposal before circulation. The other members of the Advisory Committee will review the dissertation proposal, and the proposal, with appropriate revisions, will be submitted to the GSC with the advisor and PhD Dissertation Committee signatures indicating approval for submission. The GSC in turn will review the proposal with respect to science plan, timetable, and budget; and if all is in order, the proposal will be accepted and included in the permanent file of the student. The Dissertation proposal must be approved by the Advisory Committee and GSC before the Candidacy Examination. Significant changes to the proposed dissertation research should be approved by the Advisory Committee and the GSC.

Admissions to Candidacy and Timing of the Candidacy Examination
Following approval of the Thesis Proposal, a Ph.D. aspirant must then pass a Candidacy Examination to be admitted to candidacy for the Doctoral degree (GSH Sec. 7.4). The Candidacy Examination is administered by the student’s Advisory Committee (Dissertation Committee) composed of at least four authorized Graduate Faculty members at Ohio State as described above in relation to preparation and approval of the Thesis Proposal (GSH Sec. 7.4).

The Ph.D. Candidacy Examination includes both a preliminary written portion (School of Earth Sciences requirement) (GSH Sec. 7.3) and an oral part (required by the Graduate School) (GSH Sec. 7.4). The Ph.D. Candidacy Examination should be completed no later than the end of the second year of enrollment in the Ph.D. Program for students who earned a M.S. prior to doctoral studies (after approval of the Thesis Proposal). A student who entered the doctoral program directly from a Bachelor’s degree or transferred to the doctoral program before completion of the M.S. degree should also take the candidacy examination at the end of the 2nd year, but this could potentially be delayed to the start of the 3rd year if the student has not yet completed the required 20 graded credit hours. A part-time student should complete the Candidacy Examination once their graded credit hour requirements have been met.

The student must be in good standing during the semester of the Candidacy Exam, and the student becomes a Ph.D. candidate on successful completion of the oral Candidacy Examination. (GSH Sec. 7.8).

Ph.D. Candidacy Examination Format
The Candidacy Examination shall test the student in the chosen field of dissertation research, as well as in related fields. The format of the preliminary written portion of the Candidacy Examination (School of Earth Sciences requirement) (GSH Sec. 7.3) is determined by the student’s advisor in consultation with the Advisory Committee, and can vary from open or closed book/note exams on campus (typically on the order of 4 hours in length) to take home exams.  Typically, each member of the Advisory Committee will provide the student’s advisor with a list of questions for the written exam. 

The format, principles and policies for the oral Candidacy Examination adhere to those of the Graduate School that are set out in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 7.4 to 7.7).  

If the written or oral portions of the Candidacy examination must be repeated, it should be retaken during the semester following the first examination.

Post-Candidacy Credit Hours and Continuous Enrollment
After advancing to Candidacy a student must enroll in a minimum of 3 credits each semester until graduation not including Summer (GSH Sec. 7.8). Note that this 3 credit minimum for full time student status is lower than pre-Candidacy minimums, and thus has the benefit of allowing the student, advisor, and/or unit to conserve budget resources used on tuition. If the final oral exam is not taken within five years of admission to Candidacy, the Candidacy exam must be retaken (GSH Sec. 7.8).

A Ph.D. student is generally expected to complete all requirements for his or her degree within five years of the semester following successful completion of the Candidacy Examination (GSH Sec. 7.8).

A student must register for at least one credit hour, to maintain office space and to use University facilities.

A student must register for at least three graduate credit hours during the semester in which any portion of the General Examination is taken, the semester during which the Final Oral Examination is taken, and the semester of expected graduation (GSH Sec. 7.14). A student must maintain continuous enrollment of 3 credits as described above.

Dissertation
To be awarded the Ph.D. degree, students must complete a dissertation that presents the results of an independent, original research project that is a scholarly contribution to the sciences (GSH Sec. 7.9). The dissertation document must be prepared according to the guidelines described in the “Graduate School Guidelines for Formatting Theses, Dissertations, and D.M.A. Documents.”

Application to Graduate
The candidate must submit an Application to Graduate form to the Graduate School by the third Friday of the semester in which graduation is expected at gradforms.osu.edu (GSH Sec. 7.13).  Submitting this application signals that the student plans to complete all degree requirements that semester or summer term (if requirements are not met, the form can be re-submitted in a subsequent semester). The form must be submitted by the student and approved by the advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee chair. The final Ph.D. Examination cannot be scheduled until the Dissertation Committee has given preliminary approval of the thesis document as described below.

Dissertation Format and Final Oral Examination Committee (including Graduate Faculty Rep.)
The candidate must submit a typed draft of the completed dissertation to the student’s Dissertation Committee (GSH 7.10) for review. Approval of the dissertation draft means that the members of the committee judge it to be of sufficient merit to warrant holding the Final Oral Examination. Each committee member indicates approval of the draft copy of the dissertation by electronic signature of the Application for Final Examination form that must be submitted to the Graduate School using gradforms.osu.edu no later than two weeks before the date of the Final Oral Examination (GSH Sec. 7.10). The dissertation document must conform to the Graduate School format requirements outlined in the “Graduate School Guidelines for Formatting Theses, Dissertations, and D.M.A. Documents” (GHS Sec. 7.9).

The Final Oral Examination Committee consists of the student’s Dissertation Committee plus a Graduate Faculty Representative (GSH 7.10). The Graduate Faculty Representative must receive a copy of the exam for review and approval no less than one week before the final oral examination (GSH 7.10).

Scheduling the Final Oral Examination
The Final Oral Examination cannot be scheduled until the Dissertation Advisory Committee has approved the dissertation document. Members of the Dissertation Committee should ideally be given two weeks to read the thesis prior to the final oral examination, and one week is a minimum. The reading copy of the thesis should be complete (i.e., with table of contents, illustrations, references, etc.).

Conduct of Final Oral Examination
The rules and regulations covering the Ph.D. Final Oral Examination are detailed in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 7.10 to 7.12). The GSC of the School of Earth Sciences adheres to these rules and regulations. The format, principles, and policies satisfy the requirements on standards. They enable the Ph.D. aspirant to present research results and engage in discussion of these and other topics before an audience of mentors, teachers and the student’s peer group, as well as responding to formal questioning by the Examination Committee.

Under Attendance and Format (GSH Sec. 7.10) the GSH states that, “…all members of the final oral examination committee must be present during the entire examination. All committee members are expected to participate fully in questioning during the course of the examination and in the discussion of and decision on the result. Other faculty members and graduate students may attend the examination, subject to the rules of the GSC”.

The presentation of the research at the Final Oral Examination in the School of Earth Sciences is open to all faculty and students, but only the Final Oral Examination Committee is present for the formal examination, discussion of the student’s performance, and the decision about the outcome of the exam. Each examiner indicates judgment by electronically signing the Final Oral Examination Report form using gradforms.osu.edu that must be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the posted deadline for the semester or summer session of graduation.

Approximately one week before the Final Oral Examination (the dissertation defense), the time and place will be broadly announced to all faculty and students of the School of Earth Sciences and other interested individuals. A title and abstract of the dissertation will also be provided.

According to Graduate School rules, the advisor chairs the examination (GSH Sec. 7.10) and the duration of the final examination is no more than 2 hours (GSH Sec. 7.10).

Format for the PhD Final Oral Examination:

1.         introduction of the Ph.D. degree candidate; the candidate’s committee; the Graduate School Representative; and a welcome to all other faculty, students, and guests. The introduction and welcome shall be conducted by the candidate’s advisor.
2.         a 30 minute brief synopsis of the dissertation research will be presented by the Ph.D. candidate.
3.         questions addressed to the candidate by non-committee members shall take no more than 15 minutes. All but the candidate, the Dissertation Committee, and the Graduate School Representative are excused at the conclusion of this portion of the Final Oral Examination.
4.         questions are addressed to the doctoral candidate by the Dissertation Committee and the Graduate School Representative. The candidate is excused at the completion of this portion of the exam.
5.         meeting of the candidate’s committee, with the Graduate School Representative, to consider action on the Graduate School Final Oral Examination and Dissertation forms. Decisions taken are then immediately announced to the candidate.

Final Dissertation Document
Ph.D. candidates must satisfactorily defend the dissertation research in a Final Oral Examination (GSH Sec 7.10, 11), and they must submit an approved final copy of the dissertation to the Graduate School (GSH Sec. 7.12).

NOTE: Students are encouraged to present an unbound copy of the complete dissertation, as submitted to the Graduate School, to the Orton Memorial Library of Geology.

Good Standing and Reasonable Progress
To remain in reasonable standing (GSH Sec. 5.4), a student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 and maintain reasonable progress. Reasonable progress for a student in Earth Sciences requires that the student:

1.         meets the course load requirements spelled out in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 3.1).
2.         has an annual Advisory Committee meeting that is reported to the GSC.
3.         has a dissertation proposal approved and filed by the end of the second year of enrollment.
4.         takes the Candidacy Examination within the prescribed time.

After successful completion of the Candidacy Examination, the advisor and Advisory Committee will monitor progress on the dissertation research and report annually to the GSC.

Doctoral Dissertation Lecture
In the academic semester during which the Final Oral Examination is undertaken, the candidate should present a public research lecture to an audience of faculty, students and guests. This lecture may be part of the School colloquium or in a Divisional colloquium. The lecture, of approximately 40 minutes duration, will treat the principal dissertation results to be presented, discussed, and defended at the Final Oral Examination. There will be an opportunity for the audience to discuss research results with the candidate at the conclusion of the presentation. The lecture shall be attended by the advisor and Advisory Committee.

Variances and Exceptions
Variances from the stated requirements and schedules, as well as exceptions to any of the requirements over which the graduate faculty in the School of Earth Sciences has control, may be granted by the GSC in response to a petition from a student and faculty advisor, as outlined in the GSH.

A student may have valid reasons for not making reasonable progress (e.g., serious medical problems, unexpected lengthy absence of the advisor from campus, pregnancy). A non-traditional student may not be able to take a normal course load for reasons of full time work or other commitments outside the University. In such cases, students cannot be expected to meet the guidelines for reasonable progress, and the student should petition the GSC in writing for an extension of the deadlines. This petition should give the reasons why such an extension is needed. The petition must be accompanied by a planned timetable for completion and also be supported in writing by the student’s advisor.

Additional Information
Additional information concerning the rules and regulations for the Ph.D. degree are given in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 7.1 through 7.14). A summary of these requirements is also given (GSH Sec. 7.14).

Monitoring Student Progress (M.S. and Ph.D.)
A student must submit an annual Student Activity Report to his/her adviser for signature and approval. The form will be made available in the SES Graduate Student Handbook and also as a fillable pdf to be downloaded from the SES website. The report will be due to the Graduate Coordinator on the Monday of the last full week of March each year, so that there may be time for the GSC to review reports prior to the end of the Spring Semester.

Response to Lack of Reasonable Progress (M.S. and Ph.D.)
Initial Letter
Any graduate student who fails to meet a deadline for reasonable progress will receive a warning letter from the GSC after the deadline has passed. A copy of this letter will also be sent to the student’s advisor. This letter will state the following:

1.         The student is not making reasonable progress according to the guidelines.
2.         The Graduate School may be notified that the student has failed to make reasonable progress.
3.         The Chair of the GSC may request an immediate meeting with the student and the advisor to determine the reasons for lack of reasonable progress.

Additional Actions
If the GSC determines that the reasons given for lack of Reasonable Progress are not valid, the GSC will issue a second letter to the student and the advisor. The purpose of this letter is to:

1.         Issue a formal warning to the student that the student is not making reasonable progress according to the School’s guidelines, and specify a definite deadline (usually the last day of that semester) by which the student must complete the required action (e.g. submit a thesis or dissertation proposal or take the Candidacy Examination).
2.         Inform the student that a formal request will be made to the Graduate School to block further registration unless the student completes the required action by the specified deadline.

According to the Graduate School handbook, the Graduate School can place a hold on registrations of students who fail to make Reasonable Progress as defined by these guidelines (GSH Sec. 5.4). Under University Rules, a student denied registration cannot be employed as a GTA or a GRA. According to the rules of the School’s Graduate Program, such students also can neither maintain office space nor use any facilities.

Reinstatement
Graduate School rules require that a student who has received formal warning about lack of reasonable progress, as described above, must apply to the GSC to be reinstated in the graduate program after the requirements for reasonable progress have been met (GSH Sec. 5.8). The GSC further requires that such an application should include a formal letter from the student’s advisor supporting the petition.

Addressing Graduate Student Concerns
Personal communication between the Graduate Studies Committee members, advisers, and students is strongly encouraged. Four graduate student representatives are non-voting members of the GSC. New ideas, concerns, and compliments can be transmitted to the GSC through the student representatives. Meetings between the Graduate Studies Committee members and graduate students will be held if requested.

Dates to Remember for M.S. Degree Program
General
Recommended: Yearly meeting with advisor and committee

Required: During Spring Semester submit “Graduate Student Activity Report”. The report will be due to the Graduate Coordinator on the Monday of the last full week of March each year.

Enrollment Requirements
G.T.A./G.R.A.: Autumn, Spring Semesters: minimum, 8; maximum 16.

G.T.A./G.R.A: Summer Semester: minimum, 4 maximum 8.

Fellowship or Trainee: Autumn, Spring Semesters: minimum, 12; maximum 16.

Fellowship or Trainee: Summer Semester: minimum, 6; maximum 8.

International student without support from OSU: Autumn, Spring Semesters: minimum, 8; maximum 16.

International student without support from Ohio State: Summer Semesters: minimum, 4; maximum 8

Post-Candidacy Ph.D. student: 3 credits minimum, Autumn, Spring, and Summer Sessions

Year 1, Semester 1; Term of Initial Enrollment
Establish your advisor.

If you have post-B.S./B.A. graduate credit that you want transferred to the OSU degree, start this process. First, speak with your advisor and the GSC chair. Credit transfers should be completed prior to the second semester of enrollment as discussed in GSH Sec. 4.2.

If you are native to a country where English is not the first language, you must take the ESL composition Placement Essay assessment and satisfy all provisions outlined in GSH Sec. 2.6.  If you have aspirations to be a G.T.A. during your tenure at Ohio State, you will need to pass the Test of Spoken English and take language classes if appropriate (GSH Sec. 2.6, 2.7).

Register normally from 12-16 semester credits (see SES Guidelines above and Graduate School Handbook for further explanation).

Year 1, Semester 2
Unless already completed, you must establish a research advisor for your M.S. program.

Recommended: Submit a Program Approval Form to the GSC.

By the end of the second semester, you and your advisor should have decided on a committee, and your M.S. Thesis Proposal should be approved by your committee and the GSC, including the Program Approval Form.

Year 2, Semester 1

  • Any credit hour transfers must be completed.
  • Semester of Graduation (see above for further details)
  • An application to Graduate must be submitted to the Graduate School on gradforms.osu.edu by the third Friday of the semester of the semester when graduation is anticipated.
  • Double check with the Graduate Secretary that credit hour degree requirements are met.
  • Consult members of your committee for availability for the final Master’s Examination
  • Complete your thesis
  • Secure preliminary approval to schedule the Final Master’s Examination from your committee
  • Prepare the examination draft of your thesis that must be complete and conform to the requirements established in the “Graduate School Guidelines for Formatting Theses, Dissertations, and D.M.A. Documents”.
  • Format check of document at Graduate School
  • Submit a complete copy of your M.S. thesis to each committee member at least one week before the M.S. Examination.
  • Complete Final Master’s Examination
  • Turn in the Examination Result document to Graduate School
  • Finalize thesis and obtain committee approval of the final document
  • Turn in the Thesis Approval document to Graduate School, and submit PDF of your thesis electronically as outlined in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 6.4 )
  • You are encouraged to submit of an unbound paper copy of your final thesis to the Orton Memorial Library of Geology.

Dates to Remember for Ph.D. Degree Program from Master’s Degree
General
Recommended: Yearly meeting with advisor and committee

Required: During Spring Semester submit “Graduate Student Activity Report”. The report will be due to the Graduate Coordinator on the Monday of the last full week of March each year.

Enrollment Requirements
G.T.A./G.R.A.: Autumn, Spring Semesters: minimum, 8; maximum 16.

G.T.A./G.R.A: Summer Semester: minimum, 4 maximum 8.

Fellowship or Trainee: Autumn, Spring Semesters: minimum, 12; maximum 16.

Fellowship or Trainee: Summer Semester: minimum, 6; maximum 8.

International student without support from OSU: Autumn, Spring Semesters: minimum, 8; maximum 16.

International student without support from Ohio State: Summer Semesters: minimum, 4; maximum 8

Post-Candidacy Ph.D. student: 3 credits minimum, Autumn, Spring, and Summer Sessions

Year 1, Semester 1
Establish your dissertation advisor.

Transfer of Graduate Credits to your M.S. Degree Program to your Earth Sciences doctoral program. Also, if you have additional post-B.S./B.A., graduate credits that need to be transferred to the OSU degree, inquire about transferring these credits. First, speak with your advisor and the GSC chair. Credit transfers must be completed prior to the third semester of enrollment as discussed in GSH Sec. 4.2.

If you are native to a country where English is not the first language, you must take the ESL composition Placement Essay assessment and satisfy all provisions outlined in GSH Sec. 2.6.  If you have aspirations to be a G.T.A. during your tenure at Ohio State, you will need to pass the Test of Spoken English and take language classes if appropriate (GSH Sec. 2.6, 2.7).

Year 1, Semester 2
Unless already completed, you must establish a research advisor for your Ph.D. program.

Recommended: Submit a Program Approval Form to the GSC.

Year 2, Semester 1
Any credit hour transfers must be completed.

Year 2, Semester 2
By the end of the second year, you and your advisor should have decided on the composition of a committee (refer to Committee composition rules in SES Handbook), and your Ph.D. Proposal and Program Approval Form should be approved by your committee and the GSC. The proposal must be approved before the Candidacy Examination.

Your candidacy examination should take place during this semester. All students who successfully complete the doctoral candidacy examination are required to be enrolled in every semester (summer session is excluded) until the dissertation is successfully defended.

Semester of Graduation (see above for further details)

  • An application to Graduate must be submitted to the Graduate School using gradforms.osu.edu by the third Friday of the semester when graduation is anticipated.
  • You should present a public research lecture summarizing your research to a School or Divisional Colloquium.
  • Double Check with the Graduate Secretary that your credit degree requirements are met.
  • Consult members of your committee for availability for the final Ph.D. Examination.
  • Complete your dissertation.
  • Secure preliminary approval to schedule the Final Ph.D. Examination from your committee.
  • Prepare the examination draft of your dissertation that must be complete and conform to the requirements established in the “Graduate School Guidelines for Formatting Theses, Dissertations, and D.M.A. Documents”.
  • No later than two weeks before the Final Oral Examination, you must submit the Application for Final Examination form that must be submitted to the Graduate School using gradforms.osu.edu. Each Committee member must sign this form, which signifies their approval of the dissertation draft for defense.
  • Format check of document at Graduate School
  • Submit a complete copy of your dissertation to each committee member at least one week before the Final Ph.D. Examination.
  • Complete Final Ph.D. Examination.
  • Confirm Examination Result forms are signed by the Committee using gradforms.osu.edu
  • Finalize dissertation and obtain committee approval of final document.
  • Turn in the Dissertation Approval document to Graduate School, and submit PDF of your dissertation electronically as outlined in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 7.9).
  • You are encouraged to submit of an unbound paper copy of your dissertation to the Orton Memorial Library of Geology.

Dates to Remember for Ph.D. Degree Program from Bachelor’s Degree
General
Recommended: Yearly meeting with advisor and committee

Required: During Spring Semester submit “Graduate Student Activity Report”

Enrollment Requirements
G.T.A./G.R.A.: Autumn, Spring Semesters: minimum, 8; maximum 16.

G.T.A./G.R.A: Summer Semester: minimum, 4 maximum 8.

Fellowship or Trainee: Autumn, Spring Semesters: minimum, 12; maximum 16.

Fellowship or Trainee: Summer Semester: minimum, 6; maximum 8.

International student without support from OSU: Autumn, Spring Semesters: minimum, 8; maximum 16.

International student without support from Ohio State: Summer Semesters: minimum, 4; maximum 8

Post-Candidacy Ph.D. student: 3 credits minimum, Autumn, Spring, and Summer Sessions.

Year 1, Semester 1
Establish your dissertation advisor.

If you have additional post-B.S./B.A., graduate credit needs to be transferred to the OSU degree, inquire about transferring these credits. First, speak with your advisor and the GSC chair. Credit transfers must be completed prior to the third semester of enrollment as discussed in GSH Sec. 4.2.

If you are native to a country where English is not the first language, you must take the ESL composition Placement Essay assessment and satisfy all provisions outlined in GSH Sec. 2.6.  If you have aspirations to be a G.T.A. during your tenure at Ohio State, you will need to pass the Test of Spoken English and take language classes if appropriate (GSH Sec. 2.6, 2.7).

Year 1, Semester 2
Unless already completed, you must establish a research advisor for your Ph.D. program.

Recommended: Submit a Program Approval Form to the GSC.

Year 2, Semester 1
Any credit hour transfers must be completed.

Year 2, Semester 2
By the end of the second year, you and your advisor should have decided on the composition of a committee, and your Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal and Program Approval Form should be approved by your committee and the GSC. The proposal must be approved before the Candidacy Examination.

Year 3
Your candidacy examination should occur after enough graded coursework has been taken so that graduation is possible if the student adheres to the 3-credit minimum course load post-Candidacy. The proposal must be completed before the candidacy Examination. All students who successfully complete the doctoral candidacy examination are required to be enrolled in every semester (summer session is excluded) until the dissertation is successfully defended.

Semester of Graduation (see above for further details)

  • An application to Graduate must be submitted to the Graduate School using gradforms.osu.edu by the third Friday of the semester when graduation is anticipated.
  • You should present a public research lecture summarizing your research to a School or Divisional Colloquium.
  • Double Check with the Graduate Secretary that your credit degree requirements are met.
  • Consult members of your committee for availability for the final Ph.D. Examination.
  • Complete your dissertation.
  • Secure preliminary approval to schedule the Final Ph.D. Examination from your committee.
  • Prepare the examination draft of your dissertation that must be complete and conform to the requirements established in the “Graduate School Guidelines for Formatting Theses, Dissertations, and D.M.A. Documents”.
  • No later than two weeks before the Final Oral Examination, you must submit the Application for Final Examination form that must be submitted to the Graduate School using gradforms.osu.edu. Each Committee member must sign this form, which signifies their approval of the dissertation draft for defense.
  • Format check of document at Graduate School
  • Submit a complete copy of your dissertation to each committee member at least one week before the Final Ph.D. Examination.
  • Complete Final Ph.D. Examination.
  • Confirm Examination Result forms are signed by the Committee using gradforms.osu.edu
  • Finalize dissertation and obtain committee approval of final document.
  • Turn in the Dissertation Approval document to Graduate School, and submit PDF of your dissertation electronically as outlined in the Graduate School Handbook (GSH Sec. 7.9).
  • You are encouraged to submit of an unbound paper copy of your dissertation to the Orton Memorial Library of Geology.
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