Path Through Program
It is in the students’ best interest to finish their graduate studies expeditiously. For each part-time student, the pace and duration of graduate studies will depend on the individual circumstances of the student. As students progress through program, they submit department forms to the Graduate Coordinator. The following timetable applies to full-time students.
For full-time students, the first two years of the program is generally occupied by class work during the Fall and Spring semesters. The curriculum includes Fundamental Climate Science Courses, Core Computational Courses, Climate Dynamics Seminars and Electives. See the Mason Catalog Program Description for more information about required classes, and Graduate Courses for more information on individual Climate Dynamics classes. For students who have already completed graduate work at another institution, there are provisions for Transfer of Credits from the previous classes.
Full-time students take the core component of the qualifying examination in June following their first Fall semester in the program. They are expected to pass both the core and specialty components within two years of the beginning of their first Fall semester in the program.
Each student must form a dissertation committee before taking the specialty component of the examination. Students are encouraged to form their dissertation committee by about eighteen months after the beginning of their first Fall semester in the program. In order to efficiently plan an examination date, the student must form the committee at least two months before the student plans to take the specialty component.
Students should defend their dissertation proposals within twelve months of passing the qualifying examination.
Students will normally be given financial support for no more than five years. Regardless of the source of their financial support, full-time students are encouraged to finish their PhD within five years.
For an exception to any of the requirements discussed above, a student may submit a written request to the Chair of the AOES Department.