PhD Admitted Students

Steps in Obtaining a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy

          Step           Timeline
Admission: Advisor Assigned, Possible Provisions Attached Start
Enroll in First Semester of Classes After confirming enrollment through Graduate Admissions application portal
Provisions (if applicable) must be met in first 12 credits and then apply for full admission* 12 credits in
Reduction of credits of up to 30 credits for previous graduate work, must be relevant* After admission, within the first year
Plan Coursework with advisor (use Program of Study Form as a reference) Every semester
Submit Annual Report to advisor and Graduate Office Manager.


Every September
Form Dissertation Committee: At least four members. The chair (normally your advisor on admission) must be a graduate faculty member from COS or SIS. Two additional members must be from the GMU graduate faculty. One of these members may be appointed committee co-Chair. One member may be from outside Mason. Students should meet with the committee at least once per year after committee formation.

Committee formation form available at: under “COMMITTEE FORMATION AND AMENDMENT”

Before the end of the fourth semester of coursework
Program of Study (final coursework program for PhD) must be approved by full dissertation committee. Required for Advancement to Candidacy.

Form available at this link: under “PROGRAM OF STUDY FORMS”

Soon after committee formation
Qualifying Exam (written and oral, oral within one month following written) (may be repeated once at the discretion of the committee) After all (or nearly all) of the coursework has been completed
Approval of dissertation proposal. New COS handbook stipulates formal dissertation proposal defense. See this link for details: under “ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY”

Blooms form is required 

This can be found under “EVALUATION PROCESS” at the same link above

(requires all committee member’s signatures, program director signature, department chair signature, Assoc Dean signature)

After Qualifying Exam is successfully passed
Advancement to Candidacy (must have completed previous 4 steps); once advanced, student must maintain continuous registration, and forms are available at: under “FULL TIME EQUIVALENCY” Must be completed within 6 years of enrollment
Dissertation Defense and Submission: Requires submission of Dissertation Defense Readiness Form to Stephanie Lister; notification email to Dean’s office and ESP grad office with title, date/time/location, names of all committee members, abstract of ≤100 words; a copy of the final draft of the dissertation to all committee members, the Dean’s Office, and the library reserve desk.

Following a successful defense, the signature page must be completed in triplicate, and the final draft of the dissertation must be formatted and approved by the library (

Blooms form is required under “EVALUATION PROCESS” at:

Must be completed within 9 years of enrollment

*Work directly with the Graduate Office Manager, Stephanie Lister, on these steps.


College of Science PhD Student/Faculty Handbook 2019-2020

New Graduate Students Checklist: