Portland-State-University 2017-2018 Bulletin

Earth, Environment and Society Ph.D.

The Earth, Environment, & Society (EES) doctoral program provides an opportunity for the student to engage in relevant research while acquiring advanced academic training in Environmental Science and Management, Geography, or Geology. One of the goals of the program is to provide a broadly based understanding of one of the above the fields coupled with scientific training in one or more specialty areas. The student will follow a program of study and research approved by the EES program. The graduating student will be awarded a degree in Earth, Environment, & Society.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the Earth, Environment, & Society (EES) doctoral program normally will be expected to have completed a Bachelor's or Master's degree in a related field that will have prepared them to become engaged in state-of-the-art research. A list of individual faculty research expertise and research groups is available on the School of the Environment website: http://www.pdx.edu/environment.

Degree requirements

In addition to the requirements listed above, each student must complete the following.

At least 81 credits past the bachelor's degree and the following courses:

Course requirements

  • Four credits of seminar, which may be satisfied by any combination of ESM/G/Geog 507 Speakers Series, ESR 655/ESR 656/ESR 657 Professional Prep series, Research Group Seminars at the departmental 500 level, and Journal Clubs offered in the student’s area at the departmental 500 level (4 credits);

  • Two credits of professional development, ESR 655 and ESR 656 or other similar courses recommended by the Advisory Committee and subject to approval by the EES doctoral program director (2 credits);

  • One course in research methods, such as ESM 566, ESM 567, G 523, Geog 525, Geog 597, Geog 694, USP 683, Soc 592 or other similar course recommended by the Advisory Committee and subject to approval by the EES doctoral program director (3-4 credits);

  • Dissertation credits (27 credits).
Total Credit Hours:36-37

Substitutions for the courses listed above may be granted by petitioning the EES doctoral program director.

Total Credit Hours: 36-37

Additional Requirements

In addition to the general requirements, each student will be required to complete any coursework necessary to indicate competence in environmental scholarship at the graduate level, as determined by the Advisory Committee. It is required that all EES doctoral students take at least one 1-credit seminar course (as defined above) for every term they're in residence until advancing to candidacy. 


The student must submit a prospectus outlining a proposed research project suitable for the doctoral dissertation in Earth, Environment, & Society. This is done under the guidance of the student’s adviser and is approved by the Dissertation Committee and the Director of the School of the Environment. The research for the dissertation is conducted under the guidance of the student’s dissertation committee. After the dissertation is complete and after advancement to candidacy (see below), a final oral defense will be conducted, open to the public, within the subject area of the dissertation.

Advancement to candidacy

As soon as the student has successfully completed the course and comprehensive examination requirements and has had the dissertation prospectus approved, the student is recommended for advancement to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. This recommendation is approved by the dean of Graduate Studies.

Financial support

There are a limited number of teaching assistantships and research assistantships available that are offered through the School of the Environment and through the constituent departments (ESM, Geography, Geology). For more information, please see www.pdx.edu/environment.


Any student who ceases to be enrolled for more than one academic term without formal leave of absence will be assumed to have withdrawn from the degree program and will be formally dropped from it. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress toward the degree may be dropped from the program.

The student can be readmitted only by formal application, subject to all current admission requirements. In addition, completion of the degree will be subject to the student’s meeting all current degree requirements.

Leave of absence

Under special circumstances, requests for a leave of absence may be approved.