Earth System Science

Department of Geosciences

Graduate Application for Earth System Science

The Program
The Earth System Science, by its very nature, involves the linkage of the physical, chemical, and biological, and social sciences to the understanding the interaction of Earth-system processes and humans.  Thus, Earth system-based advanced training, which incorporates the elements of natural and social sciences, offers an effective way to train the next-generation professionals that our state and nation require.  The program provides a curriculum of unusual richness and breadth.  Students can choose among various areas of academic specialization (e.g., geosciences, climate and Earth systems, energy, forestry and wildlife sciences, water resources and hydrology, ecosystem and food security, coupled natural and human systems, geospatial science, and big data science, etc.)
Degree Options and Requirements
Students may apply for admission to the interdisciplinary program directly, or any time after entering Auburn through admission to one of the affiliated departments/schools, typically in the second or third year. The interdisciplinary PhD degree requires satisfactory completion of a dissertation chosen in conjunction with a faculty advisor. The degree, without previous graduate course work, requires successful completion of a minimum of 60 semester credit hours at the graduate level (6000-8000 level).  The total 60 hours must include: 1) 7 hours of required core courses across Earth System Science disciplines, 2) a minimum of 10 hours of dissertation credit, and 3) additional elective course work to develop an academic focus with the approval of the faculty adviser and dissertation committee.  The maximum number of directed-study credits that may be applied toward the degree is six (6) units. The total number of credit hours of previous graduate course or thesis work may be transferred toward the PhD degree must be less than 50 percent of the credit hours listed on the Plan of Study. A maximum of four hours of Master thesis credit may be transferred and counted toward PhD course requirement.

Financial Assistance
Teaching assistantships (twelve-month appointment), which currently carry a monthly stipend of $2,126 and a complete tuition waiver, are now competitively available to qualified applicants. Outstanding graduate applications will also be considered for (i) Presidential Graduate Research Fellowships and (ii) an offer of a one-time $2,000 to $5,000 incentive after they are accepted into our graduate program. Research assistantships, which carry a comparable stipend and an out-of-state tuition waiver, also may be available depending on current faculty grants in awarding assistantships.

New Tuition Fellowship Policy states that University funded in-state tuition support will cover 110% of the number of hours required for a graduate degree. Read the attached for details.

Entrance Requirements
Admission to the PhD program requires a Bachelor's or Master’s degree in related Earth Science disciplines. The program will require a satisfactory GPA (B+ average) and minimum GRE scores (above 50% percentiles). Applications will be reviewed comprehensively, including other areas of particular strength (e.g., journal publications, conference presentations, academic honors and awards, previous college pedigree, availability of external funding, strong reference letters and state-of-purpose, etc.). For the year 2024-2025, the requirements for submitting applicant's GRE scores is optional.

Application Procedure
Applications for admission can be initiated online via the Auburn University Graduate School link (Apply Here). GRE scores (optional for 2024-25) and an official undergraduate transcript from all colleges attended must be submitted directly to the Graduate School at least four weeks prior to the start of the semester in which the student desires to enroll (preferably by January 15 if financial assistance is requested). In addition to GRE scores (optional for 2024-25), international applicants also are required to submit official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to the Graduate School. Applicants should instruct Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send official TOEFL scores directly to our Graduate School using institutional code 1005 and departmental code 5199. IELTS scores are directly mailed to our Graduate School. Official transcripts from applicant’s undergraduate and graduate institutions should be sent directly to:

Ms. Theresa Morgan
Director of Graduate Admissions
Graduate School
Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849-5122, USA
Tel: (334) 844-4700


For transmitting official GRE scores (optional for 2024-25) from ETS, please use the following institution and department codes for Auburn University and the Department of Geosciences:

Institution code:  1005
Departmental code:  5199

Three supporting letters of recommendation can be uploaded directly by the referees at (Apply Here). A Letter of Intent and an updated curriculum vitae also need to be submitted to Geosciences GPO, Dr. Ashraf Uddin. Please follow the instructions to complete your Letter of Intent. Questions with graduate applications can be addressed to:

Dr. Ashraf Uddin
Graduate Program Officer
Department of Geosciences
2050 Beard Eaves Coliseum
Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849, USA
Tel: (334) 844-4885

Finally, students are encouraged to contact individual Geosciences faculty member(s) who might share their research interests.