Degree Program

Please follow this link for further information on the Ph.D. program and application details.

Degree Requirements For the Ph.D.

Completion of the Ph.D. will take approximately five years. In most cases, students are supported by research assistantships that include tuition remission and a monthly stipend. All students are also required to serve satisfactorily for two terms as teaching assistants in the Abess Center undergraduate program.

Opportunities for graduates are available in a range of prestigious institutional settings; an increasing number of leading universities are developing academic programs and centers that span disciplines, as are independent think-tanks and well-funded research centers and non-governmental organizations.


Students admitted into the program must have earned a Bachelor's or Master's degree in an appropriate field.

Core Courses and Credit Requirements

Students must complete 12 credits worth of coursework in the following core courses:

  • ECS 601  Interdisciplinary Environmental Theory
  • ECS 603  Interdisciplinary Environmental Methods
  • ECS 605  Interdisciplinary Environmental Law and Policy
  • EVR 607  Environmental Governance

These core courses are completed in year 1. A combination of electives -- selected by the student and advisor -- and pre-candidacy research credits and dissertation credits round out the credit requirement.

To attain the Ph.D., students must take a minimum of 60 credits, of which at least 26 must be for coursework taken while in residence at the University of Miami. (Students entering the program with a Master's degree in a related field may be given credit for up to 24 course credits.) Students must accrue at least 12 credits worth of dissertation research.


All Ph.D. students will be given comprehensive examinations following the conclusion of the core series of courses. A majority of the examination committee must be members of the graduate faculty of the University. In the event of failing to pass an examination, students are required to retake and pass the examination within one calendar year. By the end of their second year, students must present and defend a research proposal. Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination and research proposal defense, the student may apply to candidacy for the degree. Any student who fails to be admitted to candidacy for the degree within this two-year period can be dismissed from the program.


By the beginning of the second year, students should form a four-member dissertation committee; by the end of the second, write and defend a research proposal. Students may proceed with the dissertation after the dissertation committee has been appointed and the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate School have accepted the dissertation proposal. The dissertation must be an investigation of a substantial scholarly topic and bridge both scientific and policy aspects of the topic area. A final oral defense of the dissertation is required.