Water Resources PhD Program

Doctoral Graduation Requirements

The PhD degree in the emphasis area is designed to prepare students for academic careers in research and teaching or other advanced scientific or professional careers. The student pursuing the doctoral degree is expected to pass a qualifying, comprehensive and final examination administered by the student’s doctoral committee. This committee is structured at a minimum as defined by the MU Graduate School and must have at least one representative from outside of the School of Natural Resources and must consist of at least 4 members. An independent scholarly dissertation approved by the student’s adviser and program committee must be completed in a form acceptable to the doctoral committee, and MU Graduate School.

The PhD degree is conferred only upon those students who, after extensive study, have demonstrated a high level of achievement in their particular specialization in water resources and have completed independent research contributing to knowledge in the field.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline from an accredited institution
  • Undergraduate GPA: 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 in last 60 hours
  • Minimum Graduate Record Exam score (GRE)*: Verbal-150, Quantitative-150, Analytical Writing-3
  • Minimum TOEFL scores: 550 (paper-based test), 80 (Internet-based test), 6.5 (IELTS Academic)
  • Experience in research or management of water resources. Practical skills are strongly considered.

Students whose GPAs and GRE scores do not meet the requirements will be evaluated individually. The GRE requirement may be waived under exceptional circumstances. Applicants will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Degree Requirements

  • MU requires a minimum of 72 hrs beyond the Baccalaureate degree for the PhD
  • The committee may recommend that a certain number of credits be transferred from the Master’s degree toward the PhD
  • A maximum of 30 hours of post baccalaureate graduate credit from an accredited university can be transferred toward the PhD degree program.
  • The program must include a minimum of 15 hours of 8000 level course work, exclusive of problems, readings and research.
  •  A minimum of one credit hour of graduate seminar must be included in each student’s graduate program

Must take at least 6 credit hours from the following courses in Water Resources (other SNR courses may be substituted as appropriate):

Common Course Categories and Courses Offered

Aquatic Ecosystem Science
Fisheries and Wildlife 8460 Wetland Ecology
Fisheries and Wildlife 8520 Stream Ecology
Fisheries and Wildlife 7400 Techniques for Fisheries Management and Conservation
Fisheries and Wildlife 7100 Limnology
Fisheries and Wildlife 8450 Advanced Limnology
Fisheries and Wildlife 8550 Advanced Waterfowl Ecology
Forestry 7390 Watershed Management and Water Quality

Climate and Meteorology
Atmospheric Science 7400 Micrometerology
Atmospheric Science 7590 Radar Meterology
Atmospheric Science 8400 Atmospheric General Circulation
Atmospheric Science 8600 Climate Theory
Atmospheric Science 9300 Chaos Theory

Environmental Chemistry
Environmental Science 7318 Environmental Soil Chemistry
Environmental Science 8500 Chemistry of the Vadose Zone

Hydrological Science and Water Quality
Atmospheric Science 7550 Atmospheric Physics
Environmental Science 7320 Hydrologic and Water Quality Modeling
Environmental Science 7305 Environmental Soil Physics
Environmental Science 7306 Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory
Environmental Science 8400 Solute Transport in the Vadose Zone
Civil Engineering 7710 Soil and Water Conservation Engineering
Geography 7630 Fluvial Geomorphology
Geology 7100 Groundwater Hydrology
Geology 7130 Groundwater Modeling
Geology 8240 Hydrogeologic Processes

Water Management Technology
Natural Resources 8290 Hydrologic Measurements and Synthesis
Atmospheric Science 7510 Remote Sensing for Meteorology and Natural Resources
Atmospheric Science 7590 Radar Meteorology
Atmospheric Science 9590 Advanced Radar Meteorology

Elective Courses
After meeting required common courses (above), students may supplement their respective course plan with the following recommended courses. Other courses may be substituted as appropriate. It is understood that interdisciplinary Water Resources students course plan may require customization and therefore may consist of courses not provided below.

Agricultural Systems Management 7420 Surface Water Management
Agricultural Systems Management 7440 Water Quality and Pollution Control
Agricultural Systems Management 7460 Irrigation and Drainage
Civil Engineering 7230 Introduction to Water Quality
Civil Engineering 7240 Water Quality Analysis
Civil Engineering 7290 Wastewater Treatment & Process Design
Civil Engineering 7700 Hydraulics of Open Channels
Civil Engineering 8200 Water Quality Modeling
Civil Engineering 8215 Environmental Transport Phenomena
Civil Engineering 8225 Aquatic Chemistry
Civil Engineering 8270 Design of Water and Wastewater Treatment Facilities
Geology 7300 Introduction to Low Temperature Geochemistry
Geology 7500 Organic Geochemistry
Geology 8400 Ancient Greenhouse Climate
Plant Science 7720 Aquatic Entomology

Doctoral Committee

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination determines whether the student’s background is adequate to enter the Ph.D. program, as a candidate. It also is intended to ascertain if there are areas of weakness in which a candidate will be required to gain background through appropriate course work. Therefore, it is advisable that the student, in conjunction with advisor, selects a committee and completes the qualifying exam within the first 3 semesters.

D-1 Qualifying Examination Results and Doctoral Committee Approval Form

Submission of the D-1 form follows a meeting of the student’s graduate committee and approval by the committee, of the student’s proposal and plan of research and coursework. Submit D1 to the Graduate School no later than the end of the student’s second semester of enrollment.

D-2 Plan of Study

The D-2 form accompanies the D-1. Submit D2 to the Graduate School no later than the end of the student’s third semester of study.

Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive exam must be take a minimum 6 months before dissertation defense. The comprehensive examination is taken following the completion of most if not all, the course work requirements established by the graduate committee.

The objectives of the comprehensive examination are twofold:

  • to determine if a student has acquired sufficient depth and breadth of knowledge in selected areas of concentration; and
  • to evaluate the candidate’s capacity to apply that knowledge in solving applied or theoretical problems.

D-3 Doctoral Comprehensive Exam Result Form

The D-3 forms should be completed and filed with the MU Graduate School within one month of exam completion.

Final Examination (Dissertation Defense and Seminar)

The final examination is directed toward, but not limited to, exploration of the dissertation research project.

The DGS must be informed of the dissertation defense seminar at least two weeks in advance of the seminar. It must be well advertised and open to the public.

D-4 Report of the Dissertation Defense Form

The D-4 form should be completed and filed with the MU Graduate School as soon as possible after the defense.