May 19, 2024  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Climatology (PhD)

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Requirements for the PhD Degree in Climatology

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in climatology are expected to have completed a master’s degree in geography, geology, atmospheric science, oceanography, environmental science, or meteorology, but students from other sciences, engineering, and the social sciences are encouraged to apply. Admission eligibility is evaluated on the basis of both the quality and the range of their education. Requirements of specific mathematical background (calculus through ordinary differential equations) and of computer analysis and programming skills will be required prior to admission, whereas any deficiencies in the topical core may be taken care of by course work during the degree program.

The Climatology Ph.D. typically requires a minimum of three academic years of graduate work. Students are expected to be in residence (enrolled full-time) for at least two continuous years beyond the master’s degree. Through the Ph.D. program, students are expected to acquire general knowledge of climatology, including physics of climatology (thermodynamics, radiation, and cloud processes), atmospheric dynamics (forces and flows), measurement (microclimatological methods and instrumentation, remote sensing) and computational methods for data analysis and synthesis. Students are also expected to obtain specialized knowledge in two areas, one of which is topical (covering the specific research area) and the other being in technical methods.

Qualifying Examination

Students will demonstrate general knowledge during a qualifying written examination, normally taken during the second year. The Academic Council of the Ph.D. program will approve the examination, and at least two-thirds of the time and effort on this examination will be devoted to the general knowledge of climatology. The student’s adviser and committee may contribute questions related to the specific subfield engaged in by the student for the remainder of the examination.

Specialized Knowledge

In addition to the core knowledge, specialized knowledge is required in two areas, one of which is topical (covering the specific research area) and the other being in technical methods. Typical technical methods include graduate course work in statistics, mathematics, computer science, or related sciences that are relevant to the area of research of the dissertation. Determining that a suite of courses adequately fulfills these requirements is the responsibility of the student’s Advisory Committee.


Each student must enroll in at least nine credits of GEOG 969 - Doctoral Dissertation (1 to 12cr.) . Enrollment for these credits is allowed only after achieving candidacy status. The doctoral dissertation must be original research contributing to knowledge following the traditions of the scientific method.

This research is conducted by the candidate in collaboration with the Advisory Committee. Leadership and clear contributions to scientific knowledge must be demonstrated by the candidate. The dissertation must not be based solely on literature review, but include new data collection, data analyses, experimentation, and/or modeling. A typical understanding of “contribution to knowledge” is that the dissertation reports on work suitable for publication in high-quality, refereed scientific journals. When the dissertation project has been fully designed, the adviser and student will schedule an oral comprehensive examination of the dissertation proposal with the entire Advisory Committee. Besides determining that the proposed work, if successfully carried out, constitutes a reasonable dissertation project, they will evaluate if the skills and knowledge acquired from courses and other work are sufficient for the intended project.

The Ph.D. Advisory Committee consists of four to six members who evaluate the program of courses, the comprehensive examinations, and the doctoral dissertation. The adviser must have established a record of scholarship in the field of the dissertation and be a member of the faculty of CEOE at the University of Delaware or professional staff that hold secondary faculty appointments within CEOE. A minimum of three additional members of the committee must fill the following categories: one will be another member of CEOE from within the topical area of concentration, one will represent the secondary area of study (usually the methods or technical area of study), and one will be an external member. The external member may be from outside the University in order to broaden the perspectives of the committee or the external member may have a primary appointment in a University of Delaware department outside of CEOE. The external member is a full, voting member of the committee.

Last Revised 2014-2015 Academic Year

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