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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. Thesis Advisory Committee

A thesis advisory 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.
 

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 events toward the degree. The study plan must be approved by the thesis advisory committee. Before the study plan is approved, a student can not apply to take the Qualifying Exam.
 

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. Qualifying Exam- Written Exam

After completing at least one academic year of work in the program, a student may apply to the curriculum committee to take the written section of the qualifying examination with the approval of his or her thesis advisor. A student has only two chances to pass this section of the qualifying examination. If a student fails the written section for the first time, s/he may apply to the curriculum committee for re-taking it as early as the next time when it is offered. Students who fail the written section of the qualifying examination twice will be dismissed from the ESS Program. The scope, questions, and grades of written exam will be determined by the thesis advisory committee, based on the student’s courses taken and research interest.
 

8. Qualifying Exam- Oral Exam

After passing the written section of the qualifying examination, a student should submit a research proposal to the curriculum committee for evaluation within 1 year. The oral section of the qualifying examination is based predominantly on this research proposal. An examining committee, consisting of at least five faculty members, will be appointed by the curriculum committee. During the oral section of the qualifying examination, the student should be prepared to present to and discuss with the members of the examining committee the justifications and plans for his or her thesis work, including relevant literature, and his or her progress on the thesis work to date. A student has only two chances to pass this section of the qualifying examination. If a student fails this section for the first time, s/he may apply to the curriculum committee for re-taking it as early as the next time when it is offered. Students who fail the oral section of the qualifying examination twice will be dismissed from the ESS Program.
The qualifying exam (oral and written) should be completed by the end of the third year in the program.
 

9. Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree

A student who has passes both the oral and the written section of the qualifying exam advances to candidacy. He or she will devote full time to independent study and research on his or her thesis topic.
 

10. Publication

A Ph.D. candidate must have at least one manuscript published or accepted for publication as the first author in a SCI (Scientific Citation Index) or SCIE listed journal which its ranking of the category should be in top 75%(Q3 and above) in the year (If the ranking of the year is yet announced, refer to the latest ranking), before s/he can apply to the faculty committee to take the oral defense of his/her thesis work before the members of an examination committee. Other journals not from the mentioned scope should be reviewed by Curriculum Committee. This adjustment applies only for publication published/manuscript accepted since 2020, Jan 1st. Only SCI listed journal will be recognized when the publications published prior to 2019, Jan 31st.
※Please use website of “Web of Science ” to check the impact factor and ranking in category of the journals. The journals’ ranking in category should locate in Q3, Q2 and Q1 of the year.
 
 

11. 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 appointed by the curriculum committee and is consisted of at least five members, with at least a third of external members outside of university, whose expertise is closely linked to the candidate’s area of research. The Ph.D. candidate’s thesis advisor may not chair the examination committee.
PIs from Academia Sinica are considered as external members