Stanford University
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park


Understanding Earth. Benefitting Society.

Milestones and Resources


Geophysics Minimum Advising Expectations

The Department of Geophysics is committed to providing academic advising in support of graduate student scholarly and professional development. For a statement of University policy on graduate advising, see the "Graduate Advising" section in the Geophysics bulletin.

Each adviser meets with each advisee in Autumn or Winter quarter, beginning in the advisee’s first year, to develop/update a document entitled the expectations agreement that records the agreed upon approach to the topics detailed in the agreement form. For further details on the department policy of the minimum advising expectations, see the "Geophysics Graduate Advising Section" in the Geophysics bulletin.

Form: Geophysics Graduate Advising Expectations Agreement

MS Student Milestones

MS Proposal

  • Description: Submit a program proposal for approval by a faculty adviser in the first quarter of enrollment.
  • Deadline: By the end of the first quarter of enrollment.
  • Form: MS Proposal form

MS Orals

  • Description: Each candidate must present and defend the results of his or her research at a public oral presentation attended by at least two faculty members. Student must notify TWIG and post announcements.
  • Deadline: Must be completed before MS degree is awarded.
  • Form: MS Oral Presentation

MS Annual Review

  • Description:  For 1st year MS students. Discuss degree progress and future plans with the committee. Review to be attended by at least two faculty members.
  • Deadline: To be completed by end of Autumn quarter – 2nd year.
  • Forms: MS Annual Review and MS Degree Requirements

PhD Student Milestones

Pre Candidacy PhD Annual Review

  • Description:  For 2nd year PhD students. Discuss degree progress and future plans with the committee. Four committee members are recommended, a minimum of three required. At least two members should be Geophysics faculty.
  • Deadline:  Must be completed by end of Autumn quarter – 2nd year.
  • FormsPre Candidacy PhD Annual Review  and PhD Requirements

PhD Department Qualifying Examination

  • Description: Presentation of the proposed research. Further details found on the Stanford Bulletin. Committee must comprise at least three members, with a majority comprising of Geophysics faculty.
  • Deadline: University deadline mandates advancement to candidacy by the end of the second year. Departmental policy strongly encourages completion of the qualifying exam by the end of the Spring quarter for students entering in the Fall quarter. Student has to petition for an exception to this policy before their 6th quarter begins.
  • Form

Apply for PhD Candidacy

  • Description: Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree, following successful completion of qualifying procedures.
  • Deadline: End of 2nd year, preferably 6th quarter.
  • FormApplication for PhD Candidacy

Post Candidacy PhD Annual Review

  • Description: Discuss degree progress and future plans with committee. Four committee members are recommended, minimum of three required. At least two members should be Geophysics faculty.
  • Deadline: To be completed no later than Spring quarter of each year. The student’s PhD defense serves as the final year review.
  • FormPost Candidacy PhD Annual Review and PhD Degree Requirement Form

2nd Project

  • Description: Second scientific proposal or paper with a professor in another area (more detailed requirements can be found on the Geophysics Bulletin).
  • Deadline: Students are expected to complete this requirement by the end of their 3rd year.
  • Form:  Second Project Form

Teaching Assistantship

  • Description: All Ph.D. students are required to be appointed as a quarter time Teaching Assistant for at least two quarters. It is encouraged for the student and instructor to review the teaching assistantship-instructor agreement form prior to the start of the teaching assistantship appointment.
  • Deadline: Students are required to complete this requirement before TGR status.
  • Form: Teaching Assistantship Certification
  • Optional form:Teaching assistantship-instructor agreement

Reading Committee

  • Description: Dissertation is read and approved by the three members of the student’s committee. Reading Committee signatures or approvals on the Certification of Thesis Draft form signify that the student is ready to defend.
  • Deadline: Must be completed before approval of TGR status or before scheduling defense. Department strongly recommends that students form their committee during the 3rd year.  
  •  FormsDoctoral Dissertation Reading Committee Form  and Certification of Thesis Draft

TGR Status

  • Description: After 135 units and all degree requirements have been met (two TAships and second project), students can apply for TGR status (reduced tuition rate). Student enrolls in Geophys 802 (PhD) or Geophys 801 (MS) and solely works on dissertation, however students can still enroll in 3 units of electives with TGR tuition.
  • Deadline: Prior to the first day of classes
  •  Form & eForm (Required)Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee Form and TGR Form submitted through eForms

Thesis Defense

  • Description: Student defends dissertation before committee, includes an open session. Student is required to have four members plus a chair from another department and must turn in signed Certification of Thesis Draft two weeks before the defense.
  • Deadline: When thesis is completed. Typically during the 5th year.
  • FormUniversity Oral Examination Form, to be completed by the student two weeks in advance. Student is to completely fill out form and indicate each member of their committee. 

Dissertation and Thesis Submission

Please visit the University Registrar page for submission deadlines and preparation for electronic and paper submission:


IconsList of icons used on the sitemaillinkedindouble carrot leftarrow leftdouble carrotplayerinstagramclosecarrotquotefacebooktwitterplusminussearchmenuarrowcloudclock