Graduate Catalog
Earth Sciences

M. JERRY BARTHOLOMEW, PhD
Chair
Room 111, Johnson Hall
(901) 678-2177

ANDREW M. MICKELSON, PhD
Graduate Coordinator
(901) 678-4505

E-mail: amicklsn@memphis.edu

I. The Department of Earth Sciences offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Arts degree with a major in Earth Sciences and concentration in Geography; the Master of Science degrees with a major in Earth Sciences and concentrations in Archaeology, Geography, Geology, Geophysics, or Interdisciplinary Studies; the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in Earth Sciences; and a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems.

A. Program Admission

Admission to both the Graduate School and the department is required. To meet departmental requirements for admission, students must submit a letter of intent stating research interests and previous research experience, three letters of recommendation, and complete the GRE. Applicants are expected to have a bachelor's degree in geography; geological sciences; geophysics; some branch of the social, natural or physical sciences; computer science; engineering; or mathematics. Admission will be based upon a number of factors including academic records, GRE scores, work or research experience, and career plans as described in the letter of intent. Applicants to the PhD program should make direct contact with one or more faculty members to discuss mutual research interests.

Admission to the program is not automatic upon meeting minimum departmental admission requirements. Students are selected from the pool of qualified applicants and the number selected depends on several factors including adequate faculty supervision, the availability of financial aid if requested, and the needs of the program. NOTE: Deadline for completion of submission is January 15 for the following fall semester and November 1 for the following spring semester. Summer school admission must be completed by April 1 for entrance into the Graduate School and the departmental program. Late submissions may be considered on an individual basis, but will normally be deferred to the following semester.

Students seeking a PhD degree are placed at the time of their admission into either the masters or PhD program by the faculty, based upon careful examination of their academic background, demonstrated abilities, and stated preferences on bypassing the masters. If a student is admitted to the masters degree program, the degree must be obtained before proceeding to the PhD unless a bypass petition is submitted to the Graduate Coordinator and approved by the DES Graduate Program Committee prior to the end of the student's first year of graduate study.

 All graduate students must comply with the general requirements of the Graduate School (see Admissions Regulations, Academic Regulations, and Minimum Degree Requirements) as well as the program requirements of the degree being pursued.

II. MA Degree Program in Geography

Program objectives are the development of depth of geographic knowledge, and the ability to apply this knowledge to student's career development, in at least one of the following areas: (1) human, urban, economic, and regional geography; (2) weather and climate, landforms, soil, biogeography, and water resources; (3) environmental issues and/or natural hazards; or (4) geographic techniques, computer cartography, remote sensing, geographic information systems, global positioning system, and quantitative and spatial analysis.

A. Program Requirements

  1. Students may be required to make up deficiencies as determined by the student's graduate committee.
  2. Completion of ESCI 7000, ESCI 7301 (minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 semester hours), ESCI 7504, and other courses within Earth Sciences and/or outside the department as approved by the advisor to total a minimum of 36 graduate credits.
  3. Satisfactory completion of a Professional Paper ESCI 7900 for 3 semester hours or completion and successful defense of a thesis (ESCI 7996) for at least 6 semester hours. The professional paper option, if chosen, requires preparation before graduation of one paper of professional quality.
  4. A minimum of 70% of the total required hours must be 7000 courses. No more than a total of 12 hours of workshop courses and independent study courses may be applied to a Master's degree.
  5. Successful completion of a written Comprehensive Examination. A written examination will be administered by the student's graduate committee after the end of the second semester and before the end of the third semester, as determined by the student's graduate committee. The student must have completed 18 graduate credit hours prior to taking the comprehensive examination. The examination will not exceed three hours in length and will cover basic material presented in courses taken since the student's enrollment in the DES graduate program.

III. MS Degree Program in Earth Sciences

Program objectives are: (1) ability to solve advanced Earth Science problems involving observations and measurements in the field and the laboratory; (2) attainment of advanced knowledge of Earth Science concepts and their application in one or more subdisciplines; and (3) preparation for professional employment or for entering a doctoral program in an Earth Science or a related field.

A. Program Requirements

  1. A student may be required to make up deficiencies as determined by the student's graduate committee.
  2. Completion of at least 3 semester hours of graduate seminar coursework.
  3. Completion and successful defense of a thesis (ESCI 7996): at least 6 semester hours. NOTE: Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write.
  4. Completion of ESCI 7000 and at least 1 of the following courses: ESCI 7310, ESCI 6515, ESCI 6521, ESCI 7801, ESCI 7301, or ESCI 6101.
  5. At least 22 hours of coursework at or above the 7000-level (including thesis).
  6. Successful completion of a written Comprehensive Examination. A written examination will be administered by the student's graduate committee after the end of the second semester and before the end of the third semester, as determined by the student's graduate committee. The student must have completed 18 graduate credit hours prior to taking the comprehensive examination. The examination will not exceed three hours in length and will cover basic material presented in courses taken since the student's enrollment in the DES graduate program.
  7. Concentration requirements:
    1. Archaeology concentration:
      1. Completion of 12 semester hours of archeology graduate coursework. It is recommended that these 12 hours include courses in archaeological theory, methods, and fieldwork.
      2. Completion of elective graduate coursework, in consultation with the student's graduate committee, to obtain a minimum total of 32 semester hours.
    2. Geography concentration:
      1. Completion of 12 semester hours of geography graduate coursework. It is recommended that these 12 hours include courses in: environmental and earth sciences; human-economic geography, and geographic techniques. Students not submitting acceptable undergraduate credit in quantitative methods or statistics will be required to take a quantitative methods or statistics course.
      2. Completion of elective graduate coursework, in consultation with the student's graduate committee, to obtain a minimum total of 32 semester hours.
    3. Geology concentration:
      1. Completion of 12 semester hours of geology graduate coursework
      2. Completion of elective graduate coursework, in consultation with the student's graduate committee, to obtain a minimum total of 32 semester hours.
    4. Geophysics concentration:
      1. Completion of 12 semester hours of geophysics graduate coursework.
      2. Completion of elective graduate coursework, in consultation with the student's graduate committee, to obtain a minimum total of 32 semester hours.
    5. Interdisciplinary Studies concentration:
      1. Completion of 12 semester hours of archaeology, geography, geology or geophysics coursework.
      2. Completion of elective graduate coursework, in consultation with the student's graduate committee, to obtain a minimum total of 32 semester hours

IV. PhD Degree Program in Earth Sciences

Program objectives are: (1) understanding in at least one of the major disciplines of earth science and principles and concepts of that discipline with a more in-depth knowledge in the chosen research focus or foci; (2) expertise in experimental design, data analysis, and oral and written presentation of research results; and (3) competitive for professional positions in the field earth sciences.

A. Nature of the Program

The doctorate prepares the student for a research career, primarily by establishing a broad knowledge of one of the basic areas of geography, geology, or geophysics, and through the experience of successfully completing a dissertation of original research. The prescribed examinations will permit the student to demonstrate mastery of his or her chosen fields of expertise. The individual curriculum will reflect the student's preparation and the demands of the dissertation topic selected, and will assure a strong general knowledge of Earth Sciences.

B. Program Requirements
  1. Completion of a minimum of 72 semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree or a minimum of 40 semester hours beyond the masters degree. The courses to be completed shall be determined in consultation with the student's graduate committee.
  2. Satisfactory performance on the Qualifying Examination. The Qualifying Examination will be given at the beginning of the third semester of residence, on or before a date set by the discipline Graduate Coordinator. At least one week prior to the examination date, a PhD student will present to his/her committee an abstract describing a topic that involves original research. The abstract should be no longer than one page and must describe an original concept or approach to a research problem with a suspected positive outcome deduced by the student. The subject may or may not become part of the dissertation. The exam will begin by the student giving a 15 to 20 minute presentation of the material in the abstract. An oral exam, not to exceed two hours, will follow covering (primarily) the topic described in the abstract but the questions can and should broaden to other areas.
  3. Satisfactory completion of a Comprehensive Examination. The Comprehensive Examination will be given at the beginning of the fifth semester of residence, on a date set by the Graduate Coordinator. The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to determine the student's understanding of the chosen field of specialization ("depth") as well as general knowledge in earth sciences ("breadth"). The comprehensive examination will consist of a two-day (12 hours maximum) written examination followed no more than two days later by a two-hour oral examination. The oral examination will be used to clarify any points left in question by the written responses. A student should consult his or her dissertation advisor and graduate committee regarding the areas in which comprehension is expected.
  4. Submission of two manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals or books.
  5. Completion and successful defense of a dissertation: (ESCI 9000) at least 9 hours. NOTE: Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write.

V. Graduate Certificate Program in Geographic Information Systems

The Graduate Certificate Program in Geographic Information Systems is an interdisciplinary program open to students from departments in all colleges at the University of Memphis. The program draws on the expertise of faculty from different departments and colleges and includes elective courses from a wide variety of departments. The academic program for each student will be individually crafted by the student in consultation with members of the GIS Certificate Program Committee. The program is intended for students currently admitted to a graduate program at the U of M or another university or students holding a graduate degree with an interest in using GIS as a spatial problem-solving tool.

A. Admission to the Program

  1. Students currently admitted to a graduate program at the U of M or other university or students already holding a graduate degree may apply for admission to the Graduate Certificate Program in Geographic Information Systems.
  2. For students enrolled in a graduate program, a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for admission.
  3. In rare instances, students who have completed an undergraduate degree program but who have neither completed a graduate degree nor been admitted to a graduate program must apply to the Graduate School for admission as Non-Degree Seeking students; they will be considered for admission on an individual basis.
  4. Students must apply to both the certificate program and the graduate school. To apply, students submit:
    1. transcript of undergraduate degree program and transcripts of prior and current graduate study;
    2. two letters of recommendation;
    3. A letter describing reasons why the student is interested in pursuing a graduate certificate in the area of geographic information systems and how the program corresponds with prior experience and anticipated career plans.
    4. GRE scores are required and are an important factor in admission.
    5. A minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL or 210 on the computer-based TOEFL and a minimum score of 50 on the Test of Spoken English (for students whose native language is not English)

B. Program Requirements

  1. The proposed program requires completion of 12 semester credit hours.
  2. Nine of the 12 hours must be met by satisfactory completion of three core courses:
    1. ESCI 6515 Geographic Information Science,
    2. ESCI 6525 Analytical Geographic Information Science,
    3. ESCI 7998 Capstone GIS project
  3. Three credit hours of electives, selected per student's interest, with the approval of the GIS Certificate Advisory Committee
  4. In order to continue in the program, students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.

EARTH SCIENCES (ESCI)

In addition to the courses below, the department may offer the following Special Topics courses:
ESCI 6308-12. Special Topics in Regional Geography. (3) Geographic analysis of physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of selected regions of the world.

ESCI 6370-6379. Special Topics in Archaeology. (3). Addresses various areas of archaeology; topics are announced in the online course listing. May be repeated with change of topic.

ESCI 6610-19. Special Topics in Geography. (3).
Topics are varied and announced in online course listings.

ESCI 7010-19–8010-19. Special Topics in Geology. (3). PREREQUISITE: Permission of Instructor.

ESCI 7020-29--8020-29. Special Topics in Geophysics. (3).

ESCI 7390-99. Special Topics in Archaeology. (3-6). (ANTH 7380-89). Provides understanding of archaeological interpretation through detailed examination of current archaeological issues and topics. No more than 6 hours may be counted toward degree requirements in Earth Sciences.