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Department of Geology and Geophysics

Assessment of Student Learning: Geology PhD Degree

Contents


Goals


The ultimate goal of our PhD programs in Geology and Geophysics is to produce students who have the capacity to develop, evaluate and lead research at the cutting edge of the geological sciences in academia and as professionals in industry and in the government. We also expect Ph.D. students in Geology and Geophysics to have well developed skills in scientific communication and be able to converse effectively both to peers and to the general public. The Department of Geology and Geophysics has developed the following specific goals for its PhD program:

  • PhD students who reach the appropriate academic standard will be able to compete successfully for careers in academia.

  • PhD students who graduate with appropriate grades will be well prepared for positions as professionals within their, and other related, disciplines.

We recognize that: (1) graduate students merit a quality education that is nationally competitive and (2) employment and further graduate opportunities are strongly project-driven and require numeracy, computer literacy and skills in oral and written communication in addition to a current and relevant knowledge of their discipline.

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Objectives


The primary mission of our PhD program is to produce capable, independent researchers who have the ability to generate new knowledge about the Earth Sciences. We will provide a quality educational experience that prepares men and women to enter careers in academia, industry and other related fields. Within a few years following graduation, our graduates should be able to:

  • GG-OB1: Use cutting-edge knowledge of, and technical skills in a chosen core discipline as part of an academic and/or professional career in the Earth Sciences.
  • GG-OB2: Apply scientific and technical knowledge to specific tasks and problems.
  • GG-OB3: Cultivate the specific scientific and technical skills that will allow them effectively to serve their employers and to enhance their own career development.
  • GG-OB4: Develop increased capacity in the skills of independent learning and research, creative and critical thinking, problem definition, and problem solving.
  • GG-OB5: Develop enhanced numerical skills and computer literacy as part of a graduate program designed to deliver a current and relevant knowledge of their discipline.
  • GG-OB6: Communicate effectively and professionally through oral, written, and graphical means and to participate effectively in their workplace and in individual and team-related activities.
  • GG-OB7: Have the broad general education and an integrated knowledge needed to appreciate the role of Earth Sciences in the societal context and appreciate the importance of ethics in the practice of the profession.

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Outcomes


GG Outcome 1. Scientific competence in the core discipline

  1. Has the necessary knowledge of a diversity of subjects that form the core discipline to their degree, so that they can be productive and cutting-edge scientists in their chosen profession.
    Understand how the knowledge of the core discipline fits into an overall understanding of the Earth Sciences.

This outcome will be developed by

  1. Successfully completing graduate courses comprising the program of study.
  2. Successfully passing the Qualifying and Preliminary Examinations.
  3. Successfully preparing and defending a written dissertation on their chosen topic of study.
  4. Presenting papers at scientific conferences and for submission to peer-reviewed scientific journals.

GG Outcome 2. A broad knowledge of Earth Sciences

  1. Has broad knowledge of the diverse field of Earth Sciences.

This outcome will be developed by

  1. Attending the interdisciplinary Departmental Distinguished Lecturer Seminar series.
  2. Taking elective courses outside of the core discipline
  3. Successfully passing the Qualifying and Preliminary Examinations.

GG Outcome 3. Technical competence in computer, laboratory and/or field skills

  1. Has the technical skills in either computer, laboratory and/or field measurements necessary to be productive scientists.

This outcome will be developed by

  1. Successfully completing the computer/laboratory/field components of courses required throughout the program of study.
  2. Successfully completing the research component of their dissertation.

GG Outcome 4. Basic computer competence

  1. Demonstrates competence in basic computer tools including word processors, graphical applications, spreadsheets, presentation software, and Internet utilization.
  2. Has produced a personal website
  3. Can use and apply appropriate software for geological analysis.

This outcome will be developed by

  1. Demonstrated use of computers in labs during the program of study.
  2. Successfully completing the Fundamentals of Research course.
  3. Use of computer tools and relevant software in completing the research component of their dissertation.

GG Outcome 5. Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving skills

  1. Can critically read and critique research articles.
  2. Can formulate a scientific problem and design a strategy to address it in a proposal.
  3. Can carry out scientific research and write up the results.
  4. Can analyze, interpret, and integrate diverse datasets.
  5. Can develop new scientific knowledge, instruments or methods of analysis.

This outcome will be developed by

  1. Carrying out exercises or small projects within courses that have a research or laboratory component.
  2. Successfully completing the Fundamentals of Research course.
  3. Successfully demonstrating the ability to conduct an independent research project from initial planning to fruition.
  4. Successfully presenting research at meetings and in peer-reviewed journals.
  5. Successfully preparing and defending a written dissertation on the chosen topic of study.

GG Outcome 6. Development of individual learning skills

  1. Can develop the skills necessary to engage in independent learning.

This outcome will be developed by

  1. Research activities throughout the program of study.
  2. Exercises in courses, throughout the program of study.
  3. Successfully preparing and defending a written dissertation on their chosen topic of study.

GG Outcome 7. Competence in technical communication

  1. Can communicate effectively in written form through words, graphs, and tables.
  2. Can communicate orally using prepared presentations.
  3. Can create scientific documents such as reports using the correct formats.

This outcome will be developed by

  1. Preparing lab reports, proposals, papers, and oral presentations as required in courses.
  2. Successfully completing the written- and oral- presentation requirements of the Fundamentals of Research course.
  3. Presenting their research orally during a brown-bag seminar.
  4. Successfully completing the oral component of the Preliminary Exam.
  5. Being involved in writing grant proposals.
  6. Preparing and completing a research dissertation.
  7. Presenting papers at scientific conferences and for submission to scientific journals.
  8. Graduate teaching assistants communicate their knowledge to students as part of their TA assignments to students as part of their TA assignments.

GG Outcome 8. Ability to work effectively on a professional team

  1. Can communicate effectively with team members through personal and electronic means.
  2. Can work responsibly as a member of a team and demonstrate professional levels of conduct.

This outcome will be developed by

  1. Successfully completing team-based assignments in courses.

GG Outcome 9. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility

  1. Carries out responsibilities in a professional and ethical manner.

This outcome will be developed by

  1. Showing professional and ethical behavior during their studies.
  2. Completing dissertation work, course assignments and exams honestly and ethically.
  3. Participating responsibly in the Geology Club and/or professional societies.

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