The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences offers programs leading to the PhD degree in a wide range of disciplines, covering the atmosphere, biosphere, oceans, geochemistry, geology and geophysics, and planets. Our goal is to educate scientists who will make fundamental and lasting contributions to their fields.

The graduate program is designed to give every student the training and the tools needed for independent research and a rewarding scientific career. The PhD program is flexible so that every student has a custom experience. Course loads vary according to prior experience and research focus. Graduate-level courses include both core classes and seminars with topics that change from year to year. Students are encouraged to take classes in other JHU departments, depending on the individual’s research focus.

At the core of our program is a close working relationship between the graduate student and faculty members at the cutting edge of research, with an education and research program tailored to meet the particular goals of each student. Graduate students in Earth and Planetary Sciences are full members of our academic family. They receive financial support in the form of tuition fellowships, research and teaching assistantships, and special scholarships. They share offices in Olin Hall, have access to all laboratories and research facilities, and participate fully in seminars, field trips, and other professional and social activities. All students participate in Journal Club, in which graduate students present their latest research to the entire department in each year of their study.

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First Year

  • Conference with your adviser and advisory committee during the second semester to review the quality of your work in courses during the year.

Second Year

  • Pass the Departmental Qualifying Examination by May 15 and prepare a thesis proposal before May 1.
  • Proposal must be approved by two faculty members in the department, usually the prospective readers of your thesis.

Third Year

  • Complete the Graduate Board Oral Examination.

Fourth Year

  • Prepare a dissertation approved by two faculty members appointed by the department.
  • Present the results of the dissertation to the department in a seminar of approximately 50 minutes.
  • Presentation must be certified as satisfactory by a group of at least five EPS faculty members.

Graduate Student Research

Prior to applying, prospective students are encouraged to contact individual faculty members to learn about available research opportunities.

Journal Club

The weekly Journal Club provides an environment for graduate students to develop and hone a professional style of delivering research talks, plus informs the faculty of each student’s research topic and progress.