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Requirements for Earth & Energy Sciences Ph.D.

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the application and admission requirements for the UL Lafayette Graduate School, to be considered for the PhD program in Earth and Energy Sciences you must:

  • Have a B.S. or M.S. degree in geology, environmental science, physics, chemistry, or a related field
  • Submit a personal statement of interest in the program (take care to include any previous research experience you may have in this statement)
  • Submit a Curriculum Vitae
  • Have completed Calculus I and Calculus II
  • Have completed a minimum of two courses and one laboratory in chemistry, environmental science, geology, and physics

Degree Completion Requirements


To earn your PhD in Earth and Energy Sciences, you must complete 72 graduate hours of coursework.

Learn more about the Earth and Energy Sciences graduate courses.

General Comprehensive Examination

You are expected to complete a general comprehensive examination at the end of your third semester.

This exam will focus on your mastery of course content and how well you can apply that knowledge to structuring research and solving problems.


Dissertation Topic, Adviser, and Committee

After you’ve passed your comprehensive exam (and before the end of the second year in the program), you must choose your field of specialization and a dissertation adviser from the graduate faculty in that field.

In consultation with your dissertation adviser, you will create a doctoral committee, which includes your dissertation advisor and a minimum of three other graduate faculty members from the disciplines contributing to the Earth and Energy Sciences doctoral program. At least two members must be from a discipline that is not represented by your dissertation advisor. Outside committee members (from other departments or institutions) are allowed and recommended.

Dissertation Proposal Defense

At the end of your third year in the program, you must hold a dissertation proposal defense in front of your committee.

At the defense, you will present an oral exposure of the problem to be investigated, motivation, preliminary results, and a detailed plan of action, in order to receive feedback from the committee. During the defense, you are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between fundamental research and applied research in relation to your research topic.

Final Examination

The oral defense of your dissertation serves as the final examination for your PhD in Earth and Energy Sciences.

During the dissertation defense, your committee will conduct a rigorous examination of your dissertation and related topics. Your written dissertation must be reviewed by the doctoral committee prior to the defense.
Your dissertation is expected to represent your original work and be of a high enough quality for publication in peer-reviewed journals in your specific field of study. Your dissertation committee will likely suggest additions and edits before your dissertation is considered complete.

Submission of Manuscript for Publication

Submission of at least one manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal is a requirement for graduation.