Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students are expected to develop and complete original research with minimal supervision and to report this work in a comprehensive dissertation. Eventual publication in a scholarly, refereed journal is expected of research from the dissertation. The requirements for the degree and graduation are:

  • Core requirements completed
  • Completion of at least 72 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree
    • If the student has a Master’s degree from another another institution, a maximum of 18 hours of relevant graduate credit from that degree may be applied toward this minimum, upon the recommendation of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee, and the minimum required will be 54 semester credit hours
    • If a student completes a master’s degree at NC State and continues for a doctoral degree without a break in time, up to 36 relevant credit hours taken while in master’s status may be used to meet minimum requirements for the doctoral degree. If there is a break in time between completing the master’s (at NC State) and beginning the doctorate (at NC State), the allowance is limited to 18 hours. Either allowance may include those 400-level courses taken as an approved part of the master’s degree.
    • A typical Graduate Plan of Work has 30 to 40 semester credit hours of graded course work at the 500-level and above, with about one-third of the credit hours coming from courses taught outside of the discipline of Soil Science, subject to consultation with the committee.
    • A minor is optional
  • At least one credit of SSC 801 Seminar
  • Serve as a Teaching Assistant in the equivalent of two sections of SSC 201 Soil Science Laboratory
  • Completion of preliminary written and oral examinations must be completed within six calendar years from the date of admission
  • Successful completion of an original research program
  • Successful completion of the final oral examination
  • Completion of a non-credit exit seminar is required
  • The final oral examination and all other requirements must be completed within ten calendar years from the date of admission

Core Requirements for the PhD Degree

The table below shows the core requirements for all Soil Science graduate students. All PhD students are required to demonstrate competence in all five core course areas and to complete at least 1 credit of SSC 801 Seminar. The required competencies can be achieved using relevant course work from a previous graduate degree program and/or completing these courses at NC State. In rare cases, relevant professional experience may be considered. When a student’s Advisory Committee agrees that prior coursework, or in rare cases relevant professional experience, satisfies one or more competencies, a written request must be submitted to the Director of Soil Science Graduate Programs for approval.

CourseCourse TitleCredits
SSC 511Soil Physics4
SSC 521Soil Chemistry3
SSC 532Soil Microbiology4
SSC 541Soil Fertility3
SSC 551Soil Morphology, Genesis and Classification3
SSC 592Soil Mapping – concurrent with 5511
SSC 601/801Seminar1