Earth System Science — Interdisciplinary PhD Program

The formal requirements for the PhD degree are the same as outlined in graduate school web page: PhD program, due to its interdisciplinary nature, has specific course requirements as below:

Course Requirements: The interdisciplinary PhD degree, without previous graduate course work, requires successful completion of a minimum of 60 semester credit hours at the graduate level (6000-8000 level). The total 60 hours must include: 1) 7 hours of required core courses across earth system science disciplines, 2) a minimum of 10 hours of dissertation credit, and 3) additional elective course work to develop an academic focus with the approval of the faculty adviser and dissertation committee. Click here for recommended elective courses for students interested in a particular career path. The maximum number of directed-study credits that may be applied toward the degree is six (6) units. The total number of credit hours of previous graduate course or thesis work may be transferred toward the PhD degree must be less than 50 percent of the credit hours listed on the Plan of Study. A maximum of four hours of Master thesis credit may be transferred and counted toward PhD course requirement. Required core courses (7 hours) include:

1) Earth System Science and Global Change (3 hours)

2) Earth System Observation and Analysis (3 hours)

3) Earth System Science Seminar (1 hour)

The Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Earth System Science (ESS)

The new interdisciplinary graduate PhD degree program in Earth System Science is based on the integration of scientific disciplines from five participating colleges and 10 academic departments at Auburn University, providing for a curriculum of unusual richness and breadth. The earth system science involves the linkage of the physical, chemical, and biological, and social sciences to the understanding the interaction of Earth-system processes and humans. Our program offers an effective way to train the next-generation professionals in the areas of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Affiliated Colleges and Programs

College of Sciences and Mathematics
College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment
College of Agriculture
College of Engineering
College of Liberal Arts
International Center for Climate and Global Change Research

Research Opportunities and Laboratory Facilities

Students will be engaged in all aspects of research and mentored by strong cross-disciplinary faculty group, including new faculty hires from the CHESS (Climate, Human, and Earth System Science) cluster initiatives. Students can choose among various areas of academic specialization (e.g., climate and earth systems, geological sciences and energy, environmental biogeochemistry, water resources and hydrology, coastal processes, ecosystem and food security, coupled natural and human systems, geospatial sciences, big data science, etc.). Laboratory and coursework provide students with a multidisciplinary background that will enable them to conduct state-of-the art research in earth system science. Auburn’s state-of-the-art analytical and computational facilities and labs are available to all students in the PhD program.

Department of Geosciences Research Instrumentation and Facilities
Auburn Allied Facilities

Affiliated Faculty for the Program

College of Sciences and Mathematics

Department of Biological Sciences

F.Stephen Dobson, Aaron Rashotte

Department of Geosciences

Laura BilenkerPhilip ChaneyBill HamesDavid KingMing-Kuo Lee, Luke Marzen, ​Karen McNealChandana MitraAnn OjedaStephanie RogersStephanie ShepherdAshraf UddinLorraine WolfHaibo Zou

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Ash Abebe

College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment

Christopher AndersonArt ChappelkaLatif KalinSanjiv Kumar, Christopher Lepczyyk, Graeme LockabyWayde Morse, Susan (Shufen) PanLisa SamuelsonLarry Teeter, Hanqin Tian

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Department of Civil Engineering

Xing FangFrances O'Donnell, Jose Vasconcelos

Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering

Kai H. ChangWei-Shinn Ku, Bo Liu

College of Agriculture

Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology

Ruiqing MiaoDenis Nadolnyak

Department of Animal Sciences

Russell Muntifering

Department of Biosystems Engineering

Sushil AdhikarWilliam BatchelorPuneet Srivastava

Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences

Charles Y. ChenYucheng Feng, Branda OrtizDi TianMatthew Waters

Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Nannan Liu

School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

Dennis DeVries

College of Liberal Arts

Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Kelly Alley

Auburn University Montgomery

Department of Biology and Environmental Science

Benedict Okeke

Ph.D. Program Contact Information

Dr. Edward Thomas, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies,, 334-844-4126.

Dr. Ming-Kuo Lee, Professor of Geosciences,, 334-844-4898.