Earth and Planetary Science
EPS Near-Surface Geochemistry and Geobiology

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it okay to contact a prospective advisor about being interested in working with them?

It is strongly recommended to contact professors you are interested in working with. This will give you a chance to find out if they will be likely to take on students, discuss research opportunities and interests, and learn more about their research groups. It will also allow the faculty member to keep an eye out for your application.

 Q: How much does the PhD degree program at EPS cost?

Graduate student positions include complete financial support, meaning that tuition, fees, health insurance, and a stipend are all paid while you make satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree. This typically means that five years of funding are provided. The Ph.D. qualifying exam must be passed near the end of the second year, and all students are strongly encouraged to serve as a teaching assistant for at least two semesters during the five-year program. The current stipend is roughly USD 40,000 per year; your tuition, fees, and benefits amount to about USD 35,000 per year and are additionally paid for.  The financial support for your studies comes in a variety of forms, such as governmental research grants to your advisor, fellowships that might be granted to you, and compensation for teaching assistant duties.

 Q:  Do I have to take a GRE subject test?

No.  Note that we are not accepting GRE scores this year.

Q:  I took the GRE and/or TOEFL years ago.  Are my scores still valid?

GRE scores are valid if taken within the last 5 years, and for the TOEFL, 2 years.  Note that we are not accepting GRE scores this year.

 Q:  When will I be contacted about a visit?

Not all applicants are invited for a visit.  If you would like to arrange a visit on your own, please contact the professor you’re interested in working with to see if they’re available.

 Q:  Should I have transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores sent directly to the department or should I send them myself in sealed envelopes?

Neither.  We do not need hard copies of any supplemental materials.  Please don’t send hard copy transcripts; we only need uploads.  Once you’re admitted the Graduate Division of the university will contact you about submitting hard copies.

 Q:  What GPA and GRE scores are required to be considered for admission?

The minimum GPA is 3.0 for all coursework completed after the first two years of undergraduate study.  We do not accept or decline admission based on standardized test scores; we review the applicant’s complete profile including research experience, letters of recommendation and academic preparation.  However, satisfying minimal standards does not guarantee admission, since the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places available.  As a result, many well-qualified applicants cannot be accommodated.

 Q:  Can I apply to be a part-time student?  Does the department offer any online courses?

Our program is a full-time PhD program, and we admit students for the fall semester only.  We do not have a part-time program.

 Q:  Do you offer summer courses?  Does the department offer any online courses?

Summer courses are limited and only available at the lower division undergraduate level.  There are no graduate-level courses offered in the department.  During the summer we offer an introductory astronomy class online.

 Q:  Do you accept transfer credit from other institutions?


 Q:  Is a masters degree required for admission to the EPS PhD program?

No.  We accept applicants with masters degrees, but they are not required for admission.