Apr 17, 2024  
2021-2022 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering: Geology Specialization, PhD

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Contact Information

Dr. Laurie Anderson, Department Head
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering
Mineral Industries 303
(605) 394-2461
E-mail: Laurie.Anderson@sdsmt.edu

PhD in Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering - Geology Specialization

Students must elect to pursue a specialization in Geology, Geological Engineering , or Mining Engineering . Each specialization has different background and program requirements. For more information see the graduate programs pages for the Departments of Geology and Geological Engineering  and the Department of Mining Engineering and Management .

Degree requirements

Distribution of credits

Geology Specialization

Core requirements: 4 credits
Research requirements: 36 credits
Elective requirements: 32 credits
Total credits: 72

At least 36 of the required 72 credits must be taken at the 600-level or above.

Students may apply 24 coursework credits and 6 research credits from a previous MS degree toward the PhD requirements, subject to approval by the student’s committee.

Core requirements

Research requirements

The completion of a doctoral dissertation, approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee and the Dean of Graduate Education, is required for this degree.

*Thirty-six (36) credit hours of GEOL 898D are required. No more than 36 credits of 898D may be counted toward the degree.

Elective requirements

The candidate’s committee is responsible for assisting the student in developing a program of study that prepares the student for his/her intended field as well as provides general knowledge for the discipline.

A total of 32 elective credits is required. At least fifteen (15) credits of electives with a GEOL/GEOE/PALE prefix and at least seventeen (17) credits of additional GEOL/GEOE/PALE or other electives are required.

It is recommended that six (6) to twelve (12) hours of coursework be taken outside the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering.


When the student has substantially completed the required 36 credits of coursework for the PhD, and before work on the dissertation research commences in earnest, the student must complete a combined examination composed of two parts: a qualifying examination and a comprehensive examination. After successful completion of both exams, the student will be admitted to PhD candidacy. Detailed information on both examinations is outlined in the Geology and Geological Engineering Graduate Handbook and in the Graduate Education Policies GEP VIII. Ph.D. Degree Requirements 

If the student has not completed all requirements for the PhD degree by the fifth year following the comprehensive examination, his/her active candidacy status will be automatically terminated and the comprehensive examination must be repeated.

Qualifying examination

The qualifying examination will consist of a written examination covering the student’s field of study and related subjects.

Comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy

The comprehensive examination consists of the oral presentation and defense of the student’s dissertation research proposal. All PhD students are required to prepare a research proposal for the research to be accomplished for the dissertation.

Dissertation defense

A dissertation defense and a final oral examination are required for this degree. The final defense must take place no earlier than 12 months after admission to candidacy.

Additional requirements

Any physical specimens (and associated documentation) collected, prepared, and cited in a thesis or dissertation are to be deposited in the Museum of Geology as part of the student’s work. Guidelines and forms are available.

In addition to these degree-specific requirements, the student must also meet the requirements and policies applied to all graduate degrees  by the Council of Graduate Education.

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