Placeholder image for Geology

Geology, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #201 (ARWU) Knoxville, TN, United States
Students are required to pass a comprehensive examination. The examination includes both written and oral components in which individuals are tested on their knowledge of their intended research area and related fields. The candidate is expected to be conversant across a wide range of the geological sciences.


Successful completion of the PhD requires a minimum of 24 credit hours of approved graduate coursework beyond that required for the master’s degree (i.e., a student entering the PhD program with a bachelor’s degree must complete 48 credit hours of approved graduate coursework), an additional 24 credit hours of dissertation, approval of a written dissertation proposal, completion of a comprehensive examination, and successful oral defense of a written dissertation.

Students entering the PhD program with a Master’s degree must complete the comprehensive examination by no later than the end of the student’s third semester. Students entering the PhD program with a Bachelor’s degree (but without a Master’s degree) must complete the comprehensive examination by no later than the end of the student’s fourth semester.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Credits
    72 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

The written dissertation will demonstrate high-quality, original research by the student. Research results will be presented orally in a departmental seminar open to the public, and will be defended in a private defense restricted to the Dissertation Committee and interested departmental faculty. Publication of at least one research paper on the student’s dissertation topic (not previous work) in a peer-refereed journal or equivalent outlet is expected.

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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General Requirements

Admission requirements:

  • The completed online Graduate Application for Admission 
  • A non-refundable application fee 
  • One unofficial transcript from all colleges and universities attended submitted on-line at the time of application to the Graduate School
  • The submission of official transcripts and degree certificates
  • Departmental application
  • Reference letters or rating forms

Tuition Fee

  • International

    31538 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 31538 USD per year and a duration of 36 months.
  • National

    13120 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 13120 USD per year and a duration of 36 months.
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Living costs for Knoxville

  • 885 - 1460 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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