Interdisciplinary Doctorate of Philosophy (IPh.D.)

Geosciences is a discipline in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program administered by the School of Graduate Studies.

Note: The discipline-specific requirements listed here are in addition to the requirements listed in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Admissions Procedure and Minimum Criteria for Admission and Minimum Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Academic Regulations and Degree Requirements.

Discipline-Specific Admission Requirements

Specific admission requirements defined by the faculty of the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences follow the guidelines established by the School of Graduate Studies.

Typically, a student would be expected to hold an undergraduate or master’s degree in geology, geography or a closely related field. Opportunities within the department range from the physical sciences to the humanities. Because of the wide range of faculty expertise, and in keeping with the general spirit of the entire interdisciplinary program, the faculty of the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences has deliberately chosen to establish broad guidelines for admission of Interdisciplinary Ph.D. students. All prospective graduate students must attain a GPA of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 grading scale, in all university work prior to admission. Three letters of recommendation from professors as well as a proposal from the prospective student detailing goals and expectations are needed for an evaluation of the application.

 Non-native English-speaking applicants seeking geosciences as a coordinating discipline must demonstrate proficiency in English. This requirement can be satisfied by obtaining English proficiency certification from the UMKC English Department.

Suggested Compatible Co-disciplines

Faculty members in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences conduct research in applied geophysics, atmospheric sciences, climate variability and climate change, cultural and historical geography (Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa), engineering and environmental geology, geochemistry, GIS, historical cartography, geoarcheology, geomorphology, mineral deposits, stratigraphy, and quaternary environments. Suitable co-disciplines for the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program are practically unlimited (see for possibilities). Consultation with the principal graduate advisers for geology and geography would be a good way for the student to explore the possibilities. Previous students have designated co-disciplines of chemistry, civil engineering, computer science, curriculum and instruction, and physics. Other excellent possibilities would include economics, history and sociology.

Core Program Requirements

Specific core program requirements follow the guidelines established by the School of Graduate Studies and are otherwise defined by the student’s supervisory committee in consultation with each individual student.

Other Discipline-Specific Special Requirements

While there is no set minimum number of hours for all students, at least 50 percent of the course credit hours for students who select geosciences as their coordinating unit must be taken in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences. Students who have selected geosciences as a coordinating unit or a co-discipline are expected to take no less than three courses from the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences as determined by their supervisory committee. Other special requirements are defined by the student’s supervisory committee in individual consultation with each student. All geosciences students (coordinating or co-discipline) are expected to successfully complete a qualifying examination in their subject area, devised by departmental faculty, by the end of their first two semesters of residency.

Comprehensive Examination Guidelines

Comprehensive examinations of all Ph.D. students, who select the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences as the coordinating unit, will contain both written and oral components and may include questions from each of the co-disciplines and from related fields as determined by the student’s examining committee. The committee consists of the student’s supervisory committee and others who may be appointed by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

Interdisciplinary Work

The faculty of the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences are committed to an interdisciplinary approach and expect that all Ph.D. students, whether enrolled in the coordinating or the co-disciplinary category, will complete courses and conduct research with this principle in mind.


Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Coordinator: Dr. Fengpeng Sun

Graduate Geography Advisor: Dr. Wei Ji