Show The Graduate Center Menu


Environmental and Geological Sciences Specialization
Geography Specialization



Program Information

Students entering the Ph.D. Program in Earth and Environmental Sciences select either the specialization in Geography or the specialization in Environmental and Geological Sciences, but are encouraged to consider courses across the program.  Although there is a common structure to both specializations, the curricular requirements differ slightly.

Geography provides an opportunity to pursue doctoral studies in one of the world’s largest and most dynamic metropolitan locations with a diverse faculty at the City University of New York, whose interdisciplinary focus is Human and Physical Geography, Geographic Information Sciences, and Urban Studies, among other specializations.

Environmental and Geological Sciences provides an opportunity to pursue doctoral studies in one of the world’s largest and most dynamic metropolitan coastal locations with a diverse faculty at the City University of New York, whose interdisciplinary focus is Environmental Sciences, classical Geology, Earth Systems, Planetary Science, among other specializations. 

Degree Requirements

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded for the successful completion of the following requirements:  60 course credits, including core courses and transfer credits if applicable; passing of the First and Second Examinations and Advancement to Candidacy; and defense of the dissertation. 


At least 60 credits of approved graduate work, including the course requirements in the field of specialization, are required for the degree. Specific credit requirements vary and should be discussed with the administration of the EES Doctoral Program in consoltation with a student’s academic advisor. Of the 60 credits, a maximum of 30 acceptable graduate credits taken prior to admission to the doctoral program may be applied toward the degree provided the courses were completed with a grade of B or higher within an appropriate period preceding the time of application and are equivalent to comparable courses at the City University. An evaluation of previously earned credits will be made before a student moves from Level 1 to Level 2 following his or her passing of the First Examination.


Students must complete a dissertation that embodies original research. The dissertation must be defended at an oral final examination (Third Examination) and be deposited in the Graduate Center’s Mina Rees Library before the degree is granted. The Mina Rees Library will archive the dissertation electronically with the candidate’s permission. Instructions for preparing the dissertation appear on Library’s website.

The dissertation committee is composed of at least four members, of which three are members of the CUNY doctoral faculty. The Chair of the committee must be a member of the EES doctoral faculty and serve as the principal academic advisor of the candidate. The fourth committee member will be an outside reader who is appointed by the academic advisor in consultation with the candidate.

Human Subjects Certification

The Graduate Center has an ethical and legal commitment to protect human subjects in research. All such research, whether for the dissertation or for other purposes, must be reviewed and approved by the CUNY Human Research Protection Program, prior to its initiation. Please see the Bulletin of The Graduate Center for details.

Time Limit for the Doctoral Degree

All requirements for the degree must be completed no later than eight years after matriculation. A student who matriculates after transferring 30 credits form a prior graduate degree must complete all requirements within seven years. See Sample Paths to Degree

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students must be making satisfactory progress toward the degree in order to maintain status at The Graduate Center and to be eligible for any CUNY financial assistance. A student is deemed not to be making satisfactory progress if he or she has a grade point average below 3.00, has accumulated more than two open grades (INC, INP, NGR, ABS and ABP), has completed 45 credits without having passed the First Examination, has completed 10 semesters without having passed the Second Examination, has received two “NRP” grades in succession, or has exceeded the time limit for the degree. The Graduate Center reviews each student’s record every semester. If formal standards have not been met, a student may register (and receive financial aid, if otherwise eligible) only upon petition of the student’s Executive Officer to the Vice President for Student Affairs. Students whose petitions are approved are then considered to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree, they may register and are eligible to receive financial aid.

Waiver of Requirements

To waive any specific requirement for the degree, a student may petition the Associate Provost and Dean for Academic Affairs after consulting with his or her advisor and the EO or DEO.

Requirements for Program Specializations

Student outcomes within the Program are assessed though the passing of three exams and completion of coursework as discussed below.

Advancement to Level II

With the completion of all required courses and successful passing of the First Examination, a student with a total of 45 credits (including up to 30 transfer credits) will be eligible to move from Level 1 to Level 2, which is done automatically by the registrar.