Stanford University
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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.

Each advisor 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 advisor 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: No later than the last day of classes of the quarter the student is graduating. See the Academic Calendar for specific dates.
  • 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 Ph.D. students. Discuss degree progress and future plans with the committee. Four committee members are recommended, a minimum of three required. Majority 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 advisory committee. Four committee members are recommended, minimum of three required. Majority should be Geophysics faculty.
  • Deadline: Recommended to be completed no later than Spring quarter of each year. The student’s Ph.D. defense serves as the final year review.
  • FormPost Candidacy PhD Annual Review and PhD Degree Requirement Form

Breadth Requirement

  • Description: The Breadth Requirement can be met with either secondary research or secondary coursework. More detailed requirements can be found on the Geophysics Bulletin. The Geophysics Department provides up to $1,000 to be used for the breadth projects.  The funds can be used to support research and to present results. Students should consult with their advisor and secondary research advisor for guidance on funding support.
  • Deadline: The requirement must be complete before students go TGR.
  • Form:  Second Project Form
  • Secondary Research Advising Expectations Agreement

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. TA training is required prior to the start of the TA-ship. More information about TA training and support can be found on the CTL website:
  • Deadline: Students are required to complete this requirement before TGR status.
  • Optional form: To be completed before the TA-ship: Teaching assistantship-instructor agreement
  • TA Training: to be completed before the TA-ship
  • TAing for International Students: International graduate students who wish to be appointed as teaching assistants or course assistants must first be screened by EFS for readiness to use English in a teaching role prior to starting the TA appointment. To make an appointment, a student should visit the following link to enter their information and book an appointment directly with Kristopher Geda. This only needs to be completed prior to the first TA-ship.
  • Form: To be completed after the TA-ship:Teaching Assistantship Certification

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 breadth requirement), 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: The student defends the dissertation before the defense committee and includes an open session. The defense committee is required to have four members plus a chair from another department. The student is advised to meet with the Student Services manager a quarter prior to their defense to review a defense checklist. Two weeks before the defense date, the student is required to submit a University Oral Exam form, Certificate of thesis draft form, a defense flyer, and if applicable, a petition for non-academic council member form if any member on the defense committee is a non-academic council member.
  • Deadline: When the 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.
  • Form:Certification of Thesis Draft, to be completed and approved by all committee members two weeks in advance of the defense date.
  • Form: If applicable,Petition for non-academic council member form

Dissertation and Thesis Submission

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


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