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Environmental Science Ph.D. Program

The Environmental Science Ph.D. Program is a multidisciplinary degree that is intended to accommodate student-scientists from a variety of physical, life, and/or mathematical science disciplines. The objectives of the ES Doctoral Program are to:

  1. train scholars who create new knowledge based on fundamental research.
  2. produce graduates who are critical thinkers with the skills necessary to develop and manage complex solutions to open ended challenges.
  3. mentor students to become recognized for their distinctive academic training and sought after for positions of responsible charge in academic, government, or private sector employment.

Program Admission

General requirements for admission to the Environmental Science Ph.D. Program include the following:

  1. An earned thesis-based Master’s degree in a physical, life, or mathematical science from an accredited institution
  2. An official application to the School of Graduate Studies
  3. Graduate Record Exam (GRE®) General Test
  4. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL®) if required by WIU’s Center for International Studies
  5. Three letters of reference
  6. Statement of research interest
  7. A curriculum vitae

Prior to being admitted as a student in the Environmental Science Ph.D. Program, applicants must hold an earned thesis-based Master’s degree in a physical, life, or mathematical science from an accredited institution by the time the applicant matriculates as a student in the ES Ph.D. Program.

All prospective students must file an official application to the WIU School of Graduate Studies or Center for International Studies, as appropriate.  Applications can be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies or the Center for International Studies’ International Admissions website.

All students must sit for and submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE®) General Test.  Students whose native language is other than English must demonstrate written and spoken English language proficiency.  Evaluation of English language proficiency will be based on the student’s scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL®).  Students must meet institutionally mandated minimum TOEFL® scores as established by the WIU Center for International Studies.

Applicants are also required to provide at least three letters of reference from individuals who can provide meaningful comments on the student’s academic and/or professional background; a statement of research interest (not to exceed two pages in length); and a curriculum vitae.

Reference letters, the statement of research interest, and curriculum vitae should be submitted directly to the Environmental Science Ph.D. Program Office.  Letters of reference should be mailed by the author directly to the Environmental Science Ph.D. Program Office.  Reference letters submitted via email may be accepted to facilitate turn around time of a student’s application.  However, no student will be offered formal admission to the program until signed hard copies of each letter are received.

Program Description

ES Ph.D. students must complete at least 60 semester hours (s.h.) beyond the Master’s degree in the following areas:

  1. Core courses, 14 s.h.
  2. Electives, at least 16 s.h.
  3. Dissertation/Research, 30 s.h.

ES Ph.D. students must maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA, calculated at the end of each regular academic semester (Fall & Spring).  Any student with a cumulative GPA less than 3.25 will be notified in writing by the ES Ph.D. Program Chair and given one regular academic semester to meet this requirement.  Any student who fails to meet the GPA requirement will be removed from the program and may apply to a suitable master’s degree program (e.g., a discipline-specific program or the Master of Liberal Arts & Sciences program).

Core Courses

Students must complete the following core courses (14 s.h.):

  1. ENVR 730.  Environmental Systems.  (4)  Through a systems approach, this course examines the outcome of physical and biological component modifications on system function.  It provides the background to relate diverse and disparate facts and phenomena to one another in a dynamic environment.  Lecture.  Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the Ph.D. program in Environmental Science.
  2. ENVR 740.  Advanced Analytic Tools in Environmental Science.  (4)  Development and use of advanced methods for the collection and analysis of environmental science data including statistics, mathematical modeling, molecular techniques, and geospatial analysis and simulation.  Lecture and laboratory.  Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the Ph.D. program in Environmental Science; ENVR 730.
  3. ENVR 750.  Integrated Environmental Decision Making. (3)  The linkage between scientific data, the needs of environmental managers, environmental use by the public and private agencies, and the development of management plans or environmental impact statements in the creation of high-quality decisions for use of the environment at the local, regional, national and global scale are examined.  Lecture.  Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the Ph.D. program in Environmental Science; ENVR 730 & 740.
  4. ENVR 799.  Dissertation. (3)  Preparation of a dissertation under the direction of the Chair of the student’s doctoral examining committee.  Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the Ph.D. program in Environmental Science.

Research

ES Ph.D. students must complete 30 s.h. of dissertation research.

ENVR 798  Dissertation Research.  (0–10, repeatable)  Research related to a dissertation topic of relevance to environmental science under the supervision of the Chair of the student’s doctoral examining committee.  Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the Ph.D. program in Environmental Science.

Elective Courses

All students will take a minimum of 16 s.h. of elective courses.  The selection of elective courses will be made by the student in consultation with his/her major advisor.  In particular, elective courses will be selected based on the academic background of each student and the needs presented by his/her area of research.  Elective courses must be taken at the 500, 600, or 700 levels.  A complete list of graduate courses is available in the WIU Graduate Catalog.

Courses taken by students to meet deficiency requirements cannot be counted as elective courses in the Ph.D. program in Environmental Science.