Ph.D. Environmental Sciences (EVS)

  • About

    School of Environmental Studies | Ph.D. Environmental Sciences (EVS) 
    Concentrations in Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, & Integrated Research*

    About the Environmental Sciences Doctoral Program

    The School of Environmental Studies offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program that will help you reach your career goals in the extensive fields of environmental science.

    Our Ph.D. program endeavors to be more than a traditional "academic" program. The interdisciplinary faculty works with our graduate students to develop the critical thinking necessary to solve critical, real world problems.


    Ph.D. Concentrations in Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, and Integrated Research

    The program offers five concentrations of study - Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, and Integrated Research and also addresses environmental impacts on society and culture. Course work in agriculture, geology and sociology are included as core courses outside the selected concentration. 

    *More information on course requirements for the Agriculture, Geosciences, and Integrated Research to be updated summer 2018.

    • This cross-disciplinary approach prepares graduates for the 21st century workforce as projected by studies conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
    • If you have a Masters degree in either Biology or Chemistry, you can potentially complete your coursework in as little as 25 credit hours and the program in as little as three years!

    Program Mission

    The Environmental Sciences Ph.D. program's mission is to advance scholarly knowledge and promote leadership necessary to effectively address environmental problems by incorporating multiple perspectives from the sciences and other disciplines in the program's teaching and research activities.

    • As an effective interdisciplinary scientist, it is essential to understand the impact of our human endeavors on the environment we inhabit.
    • Our program's approach insures that students become aware of a wide range of environmental concerns with emphasis on solving complex environmental problems and that their research includes a breadth of environmental understanding beyond the boundaries of a particular discipline.
    • This broader understanding allows our students the ability to design effective means of protecting human health and wildlife habitat for the future and gives insight for options related to undoing the consequences of past environmental neglect.
    • The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare students for careers in research, management, government service, teaching, and other areas where they can make productive contributions to the solution of environmental problems.

  • Admission, Classification & Candidacy

    Admission, Classification & Candidacy for Environmental Sciences Ph.D.

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    Requirements for Admission

    Your admission as a Ph.D. degree-seeking applicant will be based on your prior academic record and letters of recommendation.


    Admission with Full Standing
    • Biology / Applicants must have:
      • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a biological science;
      • Grade Point Average of 3.5 or above for the highest degree earned;
      • GRE scores of at least 300 (Quantitative + Verbal) and 3.5 (Analytical Writing) for students entering any concentration within the Environmental Sciences Ph.D. degree program.
      • International applicants must satisfactorily complete the English Language Requirement on one of the following: TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic, FLS, ELS, TOEIC, CEFR, SLEP.
      • In addition, a graduate faculty member must have agreed to direct the student’s doctoral program and financial support must have been identified for a stipend and for research needs. Please click here for the form: Graduate Advisor Acceptance Form (PDF)
    • Chemistry / Applicants must have:
      • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in science, mathematics, engineering, or environmental science;
      • Grade Point Average of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale;
      • GRE scores of at least 300 (Quantitative + Verbal) and 3.5 (Analytical Writing) for students entering any concentration within the Environmental Sciences Ph.D. degree program.
      • International applicants must satisfactorily complete the English Language Requirement on one of the following: TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic, FLS, ELS, TOEIC, CEFR, SLEP.
    • Agriculture, Geosciences, and Integrated Research / Applicants must have (other requirements will be updated as they are determined):
      • GRE scores of at least 300 (Quantitative + Verbal) and 3.5 (Analytical Writing) for students entering any concentration within the Environmental Sciences Ph.D. degree program.
      • International applicants must satisfactorily complete the English Language Requirement on one of the following: TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic, FLS, ELS, TOEIC, CEFR, SLEP.

    PLEASE NOTE: Applicants who do not fully meet the above requirements may be admitted in Provisional Standing on the basis of a favorable recommendation to the College of Graduate Studies by the appropriate departmental chairperson and the Director of the Environmental Sciences doctoral program.


    Admission with Provisional Standing

    This classification indicates that in the opinion of the appropriate department and the Director of Environmental Sciences, the student did not qualify for Full Standing and that specific deficiencies must be removed before the completion of 15 graduate hours.

    Deficiencies may be either...

    • Insufficient undergraduate grade average
    • Insufficient background preparation for the specific field, indicating the necessity for certain pre-requisite courses as preparation for pursuing the proposed graduate program
    • Lack of satisfactory scores on admission tests.

    The student must apply for reclassification after having satisfactorily removed all deficiencies and met any special conditions or requirements as stated on their admission form.


    Admission with Special Standing
    • Students who declare a non-degree graduate objective or transient students who have been admitted to graduate schools of other institutions are assigned to Special Standing.
    • This classification enables a student to enroll for graduate credit in certain academic areas, but it does not guarantee that such credit will be counted toward a degree objective.
    • When a student in Special Standing has been reclassified to Provisional or Full Standing, a maximum of 9 semester credits earned in Special Standing may be counted toward a degree objective, provided approval is given by the department in which the student wishes to concentrate, the Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies, and the Director of Environmental Sciences.
    • A student classified as Special Standing who has already completed 9 hours should file for reclassification or admittance before additional course work is undertaken.
    • NOTE: Since Special Standing students are not at that time potential degree candidates, they may be denied permission to enroll in certain courses.

    Admission for Candidacy

    Admission to the Graduate School in any of the categories described previously does not imply admission to candidacy for a graduate degree.

    • A student is formally admitted as a Candidate for his/her Ph.D. degree in Environmental Sciences based on the recommendation of the student's Graduate Advisory Committee.
      • The student must have:
        • Completed eighty percent of the course work in the program of study
        • Satisfactorily completed the comprehensive examination
        • Submitted a proposed doctoral research project (research plan) that has been approved by the Graduate Advisory Committee.
    • It is the responsibility of the student to have their research advisor submit the proper memo to the College of Graduate Studies.

  • Forms & Schedules
  • Graduate Committee & Program of Study

    Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program Guidelines
    Graduate Committee Composition & Program of Study 
     
    Graduate Committee Composition Guidelines
    • The organization and appointment of advisory committees to supervise graduate study for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Sciences shall be the same (generally) as in the master's program, the only exception being that the advisory committee shall consist of at least five members of the Graduate Faculty, plus the Director of Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program who serves as an ex-officio, non-voting member.
    • Three members shall be from the student's area of concentration, either Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, or Integrated Research.
    • Two members shall be from separate departments of the environmental science core outside the student's area of concentration.
    • Changes in a Ph.D. advisory committee must adhere to all policies and procedures governing graduate study at the University, as contained in the Graduate Catalog and administered by the Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies 
    Program of Study Guidelines

  • Comprehensive Exam

    Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program Guidelines
    Comprehensive Examination 
     
    Prerequisites
    • Before requesting that his or her major's professor schedule a Comprehensive Examination, a student must:  (1) have achieved Full Standing in the program and (2) completed 80 percent of the course work in his/her Program of Study which should include all of the core (6010) courses.

    Descriptions
    •  The test will consist of written and/or oral portions as required by the Tennessee Tech Graduate School.
      •  Students in the Biology Concentration will have both written and oral portions.
      •  Students in the Agriculture, Geosciences, and Integrated Research options (TBD).
      • Students in the Chemistry Concentration will take the written portion only.
        • In the Chemistry Concentration, the oral portion is satisfied by a formal oral presentation of the Research Plan.
    •  The student's written portion will consist of four sections.
      • Total time for each section should not exceed eight hours.
      • Three sections will contain material from the student's area of concentration and one section will integrate material from the Environmental Sciences Core Curriculum.
      • The material from the Core Curriculum will be proctored by one of the two other advisory members and will be composed of questions from each area in the core, not to exceed a total of eight hours.
      •  It is important to note that the core exam is not meant to simply repeat the final exam material from the core courses, rather it is meant to test the student's understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of this degree.
      •  The oral portion of the exam (Biology only) will be administered by the student's advisory committee within three weeks of written notification of the results of the written portion of the exam. A question will be included in the oral exam that tests the student's understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of Environmental Sciences.
      • NOTE: If both written and oral exams are required, both portions must be completed during one academic semester Descriptions.

    Results
    • Four-fifths of the voting members of the committee must agree that the student has successfully completed the written and/or oral portion of the exam. All four exams must be given within a two week time period. After the committee meets to discuss the results of the exam, the student will be notified of the results. The student will not be informed of any individual scores until the committee has met and made its decision. Following completion of the last exam, the committee will grade the exams and make a decision within one week of the last exam. Upon written notification the student will then have three weeks to prepare for the oral exam (Biology Division only).
    • The student will be given one additional opportunity to pass each portion of the Comprehensive Examination. Failure to pass either portion on the second try will result in the student's dismissal from the Ph.D. program.
    • A written evaluation of the student's performance on the Comprehensive Examination will be prepared by the student's advisory committee and kept on file in the office of the Director of the Environmental Sciences Ph.D. program.

    Time Constraints
    • Successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination must be achieved in a timely fashion. Divisional requirements of the Comprehensive Examination must be met within a year following the completion of 80 percent of the course work in the student's Program of Study, including successful completion of all core courses.
    • It shall be the student's responsibility, in consultation with his/her advisor, to schedule this examination at a date agreeable to the whole examining committee. The committee shall be given at least two months advance notice of the Examination date in order to make preparations.
    •  Any second attempts to pass portions of the Comprehensive Examination must be scheduled in the subsequent (Fall/Spring) semester.
    • Failure to follow these procedures shall result in the student's dismissal from the program.
    • Any appeal by the student for exceptions to this policy shall be made in writing and submitted to the Executive Committee of the Ph.D. program.

  • Degree Requirements

    General Degree Requirements

    A student must adhere to all policies and procedures governing graduate study at the University, as contained in the Graduate Catalog and administered by the Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies.

    • A minimum of 61 semester credits of course work, including doctoral research and dissertation as follows:
      • Up to 18 hours transferred from a master's degree
        • A minimum of 43 semester credits of course work beyond the bachelor's degree.
      • 12 hours of interdisciplinary core course work
        • Courses can be chosen from EVSA 6010, EVSB 6010, EVSC 6010, EVSG 6010, EVSS 6010 (Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, and Geosciences will choose four out of five options that are not associated with their course of study. The Integrated Research concentration may choose any four of the five options)
      • 1 hour of seminar - EVS 7910
      • 12 hours of 7000-level elective courses which are committee recommended
      • 18 hours of research and dissertation
    • Completion of all requirements for the degree, including the dissertation within a period of eight consecutive years.
    • Maintenance of a general grade point average of 3.0.
    • Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive examination.
    • Satisfactory presentation and defense of a doctoral dissertation.
      • The Environmental Sciences Ph.D. degree at Tennessee Tech is a research degree requiring an orally defended dissertation.

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For more information please contact:
Dr. Hayden Mattingly 931-372-3698 hmattingly@tntech.edu

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