Doctor of Philosophy

General Requirements:

Graduate Degree Requirements:
Students enrolled prior to Fall Quarter 2016 may use either the 2004 or 2016 approved graduate degree requirements.  Students enrolled in Fall Quarter 2016 or thereafter must abide by the 2016 approved graduate degree requirements.

2004 Approved Graduate Degree Requirements

2016 Approved Graduate Degree Requirements

A student must be in residence at least six academic quarters. Residency implies registration for at least four units of upper division (100 series) or graduate (200 series) courses in a quarter.

Graduate students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average in all upper division and graduate courses in order to remain in a graduate program or to be awarded a graduate degree.

Ph.D. Course Plan

Ph.D. Course Plan (PDF)

Ph.D. Requirements

The Atmospheric Science Graduate Group (ASGG) offers a Plan A Ph.D. program, which includes a five member Dissertation Committee and a final exam. In addition to meeting the requirements of Graduate Studies, students pursuing the Ph.D. degree in Atmospheric Science must also fulfill the following requirements:

1. Coursework

(36 units of graduate and upper division courses)

A. Breadth Requirement

M.S. degree in accepted atmospheric science program OR a B grade average or better in ATM 120, 121a, 128, and 121b or 158 or 160. A grade of B or higher in an equivalent course at another institution may be used to satisfy any or all of these course requirements, but will not contribute to the requirement of 36 units of coursework.

B. Depth Requirement

Courses taken to satisfy the Breadth requirement may not be used to satisfy these requirements. These or equivalent courses may be completed during prior M.S. study.

  1. 6 units of graded ATM graduate courses with a grade of "B" or better
  2. 9 units of additional graded upper-division or graduate courses
  3. additional units to complete the 36 unit coursework requirement, chosen with the advice of the major professor and/or the Graduate Advisor

C. Seminar

  1. 6 units of ATM 290
  2. 3 formal presentations, normally given as part of ATM 290

2. Satisfactory completion of the Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination is administered by the student's Qualifying Examination Committee, and is normally completed before the end of the student's third academic year. The Qualifying Examination Committee is recommended by the Graduate Advisor in consultation with the candidate and his/her prospective major professor and submitted to Graduate Studies for approval in accordance with Academic Senate regulations. It is composed of 5 members, including at least 3 members from the Atmospheric Science Graduate Group, and at least 1 member from outside of the group. The student's major professor may not be the Chair of this committee.

A. Written Examination

Open book written examination (no more than 8 hours to complete), whose general contents are set by the student's Qualifying Examination Committee at least four weeks before the exam. The exam will focus on preliminary research results and Depth course work. This exam, which is graded by the Qualifying Exam Committee, must be passed before the student may progress to steps B. and C.

B. Prospectus

A written Ph. D. Prospectus of approximately 10 pages. The Prospectus must be submitted to the Qualifying Examination Committee at least ten working days prior to the date of the Oral Exam.

C. Oral Qualifying Examination

Oral Qualifying Examination, which is administered by the student's Qualifying Exam Committee, and is open to all Atmospheric Science Graduate Group (ASGG) faculty with the unanimous consent of the committee and student.

3. Advancement to Candidacy

Successful completion of all three parts of the qualifying exam, followed by filing the application for Advancement to Candidacy with Graduate Studies, promotes the student to a candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. As part of the Advancement to Candidacy form the candidate in consultation with the Graduate Advisor and his/her major professor will recommend to Graduate Studies five people for the Dissertation Committee. This committee is composed of three committee members that will help guide the candidate's dissertation research and two additional members that will participate in the Final Exam. The student's major professor will be chair of this committee. At least one committee member must be from outside of the ASGG. The committee is approved in accordance with Academic Senate regulations.

4. Dissertation

Satisfactory completion of a Ph.D. Dissertation. The Ph.D. dissertation must be an original and substantial contribution to knowledge in the student's major field. It must demonstrate the ability to carry out a program of advanced research, relying extensively upon one's own initiative and skills, and must report the results in accordance with standards observed in recognized scientific journals. The dissertation must be written in accordance with the rules issued by Graduate Studies and must be approved by the three members of the Dissertation Committee that helped guide the candidate's dissertation research.

5. Defense

Satisfactory Ph.D. Dissertation Defense including public seminar. The defense will be composed of two parts:

  1. a public exit seminar open to all students and faculty
  2. a closed oral examination administered and evaluated by the five members of the Dissertation Committee

The oral examination will focus on the dissertation and the relationship of the candidate's research to the overall discipline.

For further information see the following web sites:
Atmospheric Science Graduate Group
UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies