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Graduation Requirements

1.Course work

Credit requirement

The overall course requirements for the Ph.D. in all research strands are similar. Students who enter the program with an earned Master’s degree must complete a minimum of 18 credit units of course work, excluding seminars and research. Students who enter the program without an earned Master’s degree must complete a minimum of 34 credit units of course work, excluding seminars and research. All international students are also required to take one-year’s Elementary Chinese course, but credit units in Elementary Chinese course cannot be used to satisfy the overall credit requirement.

Course Distribution

The typical course distribution is as follows:
   (1) Required course for all students –Introductory Earth System Science.
   (2) Core courses in declared area of concentration –2 courses out of the listed 5 courses in the declared area of concentration of the student.
   (3) Elective courses – Any number of the remaining courses offered by the ESS program.If elective courses are not offered by the ESS program, the credits cannot be included in the credits required for graduation. From 2021, TIGP-ESS does not recognize the elected courses taken at institution outside TIGP-ESS.
   (4) Seminar and Research discussion – to be taken for at least four times. It is the responsibility of the advisor to assist each student in formulating a program of study that will best satisfy his or her personal needs and fulfill the graduation requirements. Depending on the background of the incoming student, a prescribed program of additional courses for making up background deficiencies might be required as part of the degree requirements.
Students are expected to complete at least 18 credit units within the first two years of enrollment. Students are also required to take a one-credit course on “Seminar and Research Discussion” in each semester, for a total of four credit hours, during the first two years of their enrollments in the program.

2. Research skill

Required research skills are at the discretion of the advisor. Students must meet the research skill requirements of their advisors.

3. Thesis Advisor

Incoming students are expected to identify a thesis advisor and a co-advisor in AS and school one for each by the end of the first six months, and in no case later than the end of the first year, of study in the program. Every incoming student should become familiar with the research work of a number of laboratories before proposing a specific faculty member as the prospective thesis advisor. The process might involve attending a series of seminars on faculty research in the program, or a series of laboratory rotations. The formal assignment of a thesis advisor requires the agreement of the faculty member to serve in such a capacity and the approval by the student affairs committee.

4. PhD Candidate Qualification Examination Committee

A PhD Candidate Qualification Examination committee, composed of three(3) to five(5) members with ranks of assistant fellow/ professor and above, shall be formed by the thesis advisor with input from the student to guide the student and evaluate his/her doctoral dissertation research. The composition of the thesis advisory committee must be approved by the Student Affairs Committee and submitted to the TIGP-ESS Office. (This regulation applies to students enrolled after September 2021.)

5. Study Plan

A student must submit a study plan before the end of the first year. A study plan must include a course plan, a dissertation research theme, and a proposed timeline of milestones toward the degree. The study plan must be approved by the PhD Candidate Qualification Examination Committee.

6. Annual Progress Report

The annual progress report shall be made out by the thesis advisor and the thesis advisory committee. The report shall be sent to ESS office before Aug. 15th of every year. (The TIGP stipend will be renewed annually another two years upon evidence of satisfactory progress towards the degree.)

7. PhD Candidate Qualification Examination

A student should complete Introductory Earth System Science and two or more core courses offered by this program, and submit a research proposal. After the approval of the advisor, he/she can apply for the PhD candidate qualification examination. The PhD Candidate Qualification Examination Committee shall handle the examination matters, the examination methods and subjects. The qualification examination for doctoral degree candidates is limited to two times. A student who fails the qualification examination should apply for a re-examination within half a year.
A student must pass the PhD Candidate Qualification Examination by the end of the third academic year (excluding the period of leave of absence).


8. Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree

A student who passes the PhD Candidate Qualification Examination and complete the required courses is submitted to the student affairs committee of the program for reference, and can be regarded as doctoral degree candidates. The candidate will devote full time to independent study and research on his / her thesis topic.

9. Publication

A doctoral candidate must publish (or have been accepted) at least one article in an international journal with a peer-review system as the first or corresponding author during doctoral studies, and it must be related to the graduation research before submitting thesis for graduation.  

10. Thesis Defense

This defense will take the form of a thesis seminar followed by an oral examination on the thesis research. The examination committee is consisted of at least five members, with at least a third of external members outside of student’s home university. The Ph.D. candidate’s thesis advisor may not chair the examination committee.
※ PIs from Academia Sinica are considered as external members.