High-pressure organic extraction apparatus.
Welcome to the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago! We have assembled this handbook to give you insight into the policies and procedures of the Department and the University.
This handbook is divided into four sections. These sections are meant to enhance the information that you have already received, as well as information found in various University publications, including the Graduate Programs in the Divisions Announcements. We hope that you will read this handbook carefully, familiarize yourself with the information it contains, and keep it for reference.
Students should also consult the University's "Policies and Regulations" on the Registrar's site, also accessible through the Time Schedules.
In keeping with its long-standing traditions and policies, the University of Chicago, in admissions and access to programs, considers students on the basis of individual merit and without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national or ethnic origin, disability, or other factors irrelevant to participation in programs of the University. The Affirmative Action Officer is the University official responsible for coordinating its adherence to this policy, and the related Federal and State laws and regulations (including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended).
The Department of The Geophysical Sciences
Overview of the Department
The Department of the Geophysical Sciences was founded on the concept that studies in the earth and planetary sciences, whether they be of the solid earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, or the solar system, are intrinsically related. The faculty is committed to the development of creative scientific talent through theoretical, laboratory, and field research on fundamental problems covering a broad range of geophysical topics.
The Department occupies the Hinds Laboratory, constructed in 1969 with funds provided by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the bequest of Henry Hinds. The research and teaching in the department encompass solid earth geophysics, geochemistry and cosmochemistry, paleontology, and the atmospheric and oceanic sciences. Research opportunities available to students are broadened by ties with the Enrico Fermi Institute, the Field Museum of Natural History, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, and various laboratories throughout the country.
Facilities are available for sediment transport, satellite data analysis, atmospheric chemistry, remote atmospheric probing, synoptic meteorology; high temperature and high pressure experiments in mineralogy, petrology, and geophysics; fossil preparation and fossil image analysis; low temperature geochemistry and sedimentology, trace-element analyses by neutron activation; and for studies employing the following equipment: an electron microprobe and ion microprobe, a scanning electron microscope, stable isotope mass spectrometers, x-ray diffractometers, and single crystal diffractometers.
The department has numerous links to computing facilities on campus as well as to computers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, National Science Foundation computing centers, and Argonne National Laboratory. Various projects in the department operate their own workstations for advanced graphics and image processing applications. The resources of Regenstein and Crerar Libraries, which contain over four million volumes, are located within one block of the department.
The Department of the Geophysical Sciences was formed in 1961 by merging the previously existing departments of Geology and of Meteorology.
THE DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY (1892-1961)
The Department of Geology was founded in 1892 by T.C. Chamberlin, the most distinguished geologist of his day. Chamberlin's research interests concerned the origin and early history of the solar system, a theme that has persisted at Chicago to the present time. Together with Rollin D. Salisbury, he wrote the most influential textbook in geology of the first half of this century.
The early years of the Department were dominated by outstanding scholars engaged in research on glacial geology, areal surveys and economic geology. In addition to Chamberlin and Salisbury's three volume Geology, these were the years of Chamberlin's Origin of the Earth, Johannsen's Manual of Petrographic Methods and the founding of the Journal of Geology (1893). Chamberlin was responsible for the rebirth of the Illinois Geological Survey, and Stuart Weller served as the first member of its staff while still on the faculty.
During the period 1917 to 1941 research in the Department of Geology began to shift from regional studies toward more fundamental problems. Late in this period Norman L. Bowen established a high-temperature laboratory for the study of equilibrium relations among mineral systems. This pioneering work ultimately led to the establishment of a strong school in geochemistry at Chicago. Francis Pettijohn completely revised the field of sedimentary petrology with his Manual of Sedimentary Petrology (with W.C. Krumbein) and Sedimentary Rocks.
At the same time, the next advance in sedimentary geology was initiated by Krumbein's development of modern quantitative methods of analysis. The work of the vertebrate paleontologists Samuel W. Williston, Alfred S. Romer and E.C. Olson was largely responsible for revealing the early history of the reptiles and the beginnings of the mammalian radiation. After World War II, Olson, together with R.L. Miller, introduced multivariate quantitative methods to the study of fossils. The work of Stuart and Marvin Weller provided much of the geological framework for the development of the midcontinental coal industry.
In the following years, the Department became even more oriented toward basic research on fundamental problems. The application of chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology to the solution of geological problems replaced the earlier emphasis on the regional field studies and the systematic classification of observational data. Particularly notable were Lowenstam's ecological studies of ancient reefs, which provided a new way to view paleontological data. Ralph Johnson continued this approach by applying studies of modern marine communities to the interpretation of the fossil record. The strong tradition begun by Bowen in experimental petrology was strengthened and continues to this day.
Chicago is preeminent in the area that encompasses geochemistry, experimental petrology, mineralogy, and crystallography. John Jamieson established a program in geophysics to determine the behavior of earth materials under high pressures and temperature. Robert Miller turned his mathematical skills from paleontology to the statistical analysis of sedimentary data and the physics of sediment transport.
Throughout its history, the Department of Geology played a major role in the training of geologists. Salisbury and J. Harlen Bretz were particularly noted for their rigorous, forceful teaching in the field and lecture hall. Up until the time it was absorbed into the new Department, the Department of Geology had turned out more Ph.D.'s than any other department of geology in the country.
THE DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY (1942-1961)
Meteorology as a separate discipline was started at the University of Chicago in 1940, first as an Institute under the auspices of the Department of Physics, but became independent in 1942. The Department was organized by Carl-Gustaf Rossby, considered to be the outstanding meteorologist of his generation. A magnetic personality, Rossby attracted to Chicago some of the leading meteorologists of that period, and created an atmosphere of intense excitement in the new views of the upper troposphere then unfolding.
By the time he returned to his native Sweden, Rossby had established what was known as the "Chicago School" of meteorology. The Chicago School was characterized by the development of dynamic models of the general circulation. This research revealed the existence of the jet stream, a discovery in which the distinguished Finnish meteorologist Erik Palmen, then a visitor, was intimately involved. It also established the importance of vorticity theories of wave motion in both the atmosphere and the ocean. War-time needs led to the establishment of the Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Puerto Rico. It was there that Herbert Riehl began the development of models of tropical weather disturbances.
The momentum of the Chicago School of meteorology carried the Department beyond the end of World War II. Dave Fultz developed laboratory-scale models of atmospheric flows. The results from his laboratory were so stimulating that similar laboratories were subsequently established at a number of other institutions. The thunderstorm project under the direction of Horace Byers led to a program in physical meteorology. Byers, later joined by Roscoe Braham, was the first to reveal the life cycle of thunderstorms. Braham continued this program with pioneering work in the physical and chemical aspects of the nucleation processes responsible for precipitation in the atmosphere. As an outgrowth of the thunderstorm project, T.T. Fujita began his work on mesoscale disturbances. Later he turned his attention to the use of satellites to detect severe storms and to obtain data on the general circulation.
Rossby, although primarily a theoretician, recognized the importance of keeping in touch with the real atmosphere. In concert with Byers, he invited Sverre Petterssen to join the faculty to provide the bridge between theory and practice. Petterssen applied the important theoretical results of the Chicago School to practical forecasting. Earlier, George Platzman, a theoretician, participated in the first experiments in numerical forecasting. Applying these methods to oceanography, he made the first numerical storm-surge forecast.
As in the case of the Department of Geology, the Department of Meteorology was deeply committed to teaching. During the war, the Department trained over 1,700 air corps weather officers. Subsequently graduates of the Department have taken positions of leadership in meteorology in this country and abroad.
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Faculty and Current Research
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The Department of the Geophysical Sciences offers the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degree in Geophysical Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. Both of these programs prepare students for careers that draw upon the earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. The principal distinction between the B.A. and B.S. programs involves the number of courses required in geophysical sciences and their distribution among subdisciplines.
The B.S. degrees provide a more focused and intensive program of study for students who intend to pursue graduate work in one of these disciplines. The B.A. degree also offers thorough study in the geophysical sciences, but it provides considerable elective freedom to pursue interdisciplinary interests, such as environmental policy, law, business, and precollegiate education.
Students should refer to the most recent edition of Courses and Programs of Study published by the College for additional details and requirements of the B.A. and B.S. degrees.
The Ph.D. program has two phases: pre-candidacy and candidacy. The pre-candidacy phase is a formal program of study, including course work, designed to strengthen and enlarge the student's grasp of fundamental knowledge, particularly in the areas in which it is intended to concentrate for the dissertation. The candidacy phase consists mainly of research for the dissertation. At the conclusion of each of these two phases of the program there is a formal examination. The Preliminary Examination at the end of the pre-candidacy phase consists of a written part designed to test comprehension of basic principles, followed by an oral part aimed at assessing the student's research promise. The Final Examination at the end of the candidacy phase is oral, and is concerned mainly with the subject of the dissertation.
The Pre-Candidacy Phase
The Initial Year
Each student is assigned an interim advisor who is available during the student's first year of residency to provide academic guidance or discuss any problems that may arise. If a student desires advice or guidance beyond that provided by the interim advisor, he/she should contact the Graduate Counselor. If necessary, the Graduate Counselor will convene a group to address the student's concerns.
During the first year of pre-candidacy, the student should explore the facilities of the Department and the research activities of the faculty in order to find the most suitable area for development of a thesis research program. For those students admitted with Research Assistantships, every effort will be made to match their stated interests with the available research assistantships, but this in no way commits a student to research in a given area, or to academic sponsorship by any specific faculty member.
At any time during the first year of pre-candidacy, but no later than the end of the third quarter, the student should obtain the consent of a member of the Department faculty to serve as a permanent Advisor. Together, they will form a permanent Advisory Committee consisting of the advisor as chairman and four or more other faculty members whose areas of interest are related to those of the student. The function of the Advisory Committee is to determine the make-up of the remainder of the pre-candidacy program and to convene the examining board for the preliminary examination.
Students are expected to take the initiative to secure a permanent advisor. If no permanent advisor is identified by the end of the third quarter of residency, the student should communicate this to the Graduate Counselor and his/her interim advisor. Upon notification by the Graduate Counselor or the interim advisor, the Student Affairs and Admissions Committee will convene to consider the case and resolve any problems.
Annual Progress Reports
Every student is required to meet with his/her Advisory Committee at least once every academic year. If the student has already met with his/her Committee prior to the distribution of the Annual Progress Reports, the student does not need to convene a separate meeting.
All students must submit an Annual Progress Report to the University on a form distributed to them through the Division and Department. These reports will generally be due in the spring of each year and are kept on file by the Office of the University Registrar. Failure to complete the progress report may result in loss of student financial support and loan eligibility. The Annual Progress Report also is used by the Department in evaluation of graduate students who have not yet successfully passed the general knowledge examination and defended their dissertation proposal.
In addition, all students must submit a Department Annual Progress Report, filled out by the student and signed by his/her committee. This report must be turned into the Graduate Student Services Office for the student to remain in good standing and thus be able to register for subsequent quarters. This form is due at the same time as the University's Annual Progress Report.
A student must be in residence at the University during the pre-candidacy program, except for interruptions (such as the Summer Quarter) approved by the advisory committee. In each quarter of residence the student must register for the full program of three courses per quarter until the 9-quarter residence requirement is fulfilled. After that, registration for one course is considered full registration. Registration materials are available from the Graduate Student Services Coordinator on the days of registration. Registration dates are noted on the inside cover of the University Directory and are posted in the Department before registration. Part-time arrangements require special approval by the advisory committee.
During the quarter in which the student identifies a permanent advisor and advisory committee, the committee and student will consider whether the student's research interests are such that a foreign language requirement is necessary, what the requirement should be, and how and when it should be satisfied. The decision must be reached by the whole committee. This information should be recorded in the student's file.
The preliminary examination consists of two parts: a written part and an oral part. Both parts are administered by an examining board of at least five members, including the advisory committee and other members of the University faculty invited by the committee in consultation with the student. Persons from other institutions may be invited to join the examining board. The advisor serves as chairman.
- Written preliminary examination
Purpose: to evaluate general intellectual ability and background in broad areas of science that include the student's research interests.
Preparation: The subject matter of the written examination corresponds in level with that of 300-series. The advisory committee will give the student a general idea of the areas to be covered in the written exam, and may provide a reading list for this purpose. Topics from Departmental seminars and colloquia may be used as a basis of examination questions.
Procedure: The examination may be open or closed book, in whole or in part, as determined by the examining board. Depending on the student's area of specialization, the exam may be confined to 5-6 hours on one day or span five days, with a question each day.
- Oral preliminary examination
Purpose: to evaluate the student's promise as a creative research scientist.
Research prospectus: With advice of the advisory committee, the student selects a topic in which to prepare a research prospectus for the oral part of the preliminary examinations. This selection should be made at least three months before the oral preliminary examination and the examining board must have ample time to read the prospectus (at least two weeks) prior to the oral examination.
The research prospectus is a proposal of a research topic, and should be a carefully prepared document in which the current status of the proposed field of investigation is surveyed and the important literature cited. In it, the student should discuss the relationship between the proposed research and the broader aspects of geophysical sciences. The research prospectus may or may not be the eventual subject of thesis research. It need not contain the results of original research by the student. It should explain in detail a feasible way to solve an important problem. Students are often encouraged to write their prospectus as if it were a proposal for a federal research grant.
Content and form: The oral examination normally tests general knowledge as it pertains to the student's research prospectus, such as the principles and techniques on which the proposed research is based and the relation between the proposed research and other areas of study. Principal emphasis, however, is to evaluate, through questioning based on the prospectus, those many attributes—such as originality, capacity for critical and independent thought, awareness of the significant problems in the field—which are important to success in research. Questions concerning deficiencies in the written examination may be asked.
The written part of the preliminary examination is normally offered twice each academic year, in the firth week of the Autumn and Spring Quarters. A student wishing to take the examination should notify the Graduate Counselor by the end of the second week of the quarter in which the examination is to be taken. The normal deadline for the examination is in the Spring Quarter of the second year, but students are urged to take the examination as soon as they feel ready. Under special circumstances, with permission of the advisory committee, the deadline may be extended to the seventh quarter of residence, excluding summers.
The oral part of the exam is scheduled by agreement between the student and his/her Examining Board. In some areas of the department the oral part of the examination is given within three weeks of the written exam. In other research areas it is customary for the prospectus preparation to begin only after the written part of the Preliminary Examination is completed. If the advisory committee considers this to be appropriate, the written part of the examination will be used as a basis for deciding whether the student should be permitted to continue. If the outcome is favorable, the oral part of the examination must be taken no later than the Autumn Quarter of the third year.
In the event of a failure on the exam as a whole, or on either part of the exam, the student may continue only by consent of his/her committee, or may petition the Department Chairman to form a new committee. The advisory committee can allow a student who has failed the written part of the exam to proceed with taking the oral part on schedule. Two failures on either part, however, bar the student from candidacy. If the student is allowed to retake either part of the exam, this must be done no later than the Spring Quarter of the third year.
The Candidacy Program
Admission and Dissertation Committee
After passing the preliminary examination and completing satisfactorily all other parts of the pre-candidacy program, the student is eligible for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. This step is governed by regulations of the Division of the Physical Sciences, administered by the Divisional Dean of Students. Candidacy application forms are available from the Department Graduate Student Services Office.
The regulations are as follows:
"Application should be submitted by the student to the Chairman of the Department to obtain a recommendation for admission to candidacy and the subsequent approval of the Dean of Students in the Division at least eight months before the final examination for the degree. Responsibility for fulfilling the requirements for candidacy and for filing the application at the proper time rests entirely with the student. The approval of the application certifies:
- That the candidate has begun the investigation for a dissertation and that an approved title has been submitted.
- That the candidate is recommended to candidacy for the Doctor's degree. A Department may require the candidate to take an examination to demonstrate his knowledge in the fields of his major interest to the Department.
- That the candidate has satisfied the foreign language reading requirement of Department [where applicable]."
If a student wishes to carry out a portion of the candidacy program while not in residence at the University, a written petition to this effect must be submitted to the advisory committee, with evidence that proper facilities and conditions of work will be available.
A Dissertation Committee should be formed from the recommendations of the Advisory Committee. This Dissertation Committee will consist of the student's research advisor and four or more others. The Dissertation Committee may be the same as the Advisory Committee formed in the pre-candidacy phase. At least 50% of the Dissertation Committee members must be University of Chicago faculty members; others may be faculty members from other universities or University of Chicago post-doctoral appointees of Senior Research Associate rank or higher. Every student is required to meet with his/her Dissertation Committee at least once every academic year.
Annual Progress Reports
Annual Report requirements are the same as in the pre-candidacy period.
The minimum duration of the candidacy program is three quarters, and the total minimum duration beyond the Bachelor's degree is nine quarters of full-time registration. After nine quarters of full registration, the student must register for a minimum of one course each quarter, including the Summer Quarter if research is carried on at the University during that quarter. Portions of this residence may be waived up to a maximum of nine courses (three quarters) by equivalent work at other institutions or other units of the University.
A complete draft copy of the dissertation must be submitted to each member of the advisory committee. Each committee member must have sufficient time to read the draft and provide comments. After having been brought into a form tentatively acceptable to the committee, revised copies of the dissertation must be submitted to the committee prior to the examination. If the student passes the final examination, he/she puts the dissertation in a final form approved by the advisory committee and submits two copies, one to the Dissertation Secretary of the University, and one to the Committee.
University regulations state that the final copy for the Dissertation Secretary must be submitted no later than three weeks before convocation. See the inside cover of the quarterly Time Schedules for exact deadlines dates. Failure to meet this deadline will result in removal from the Convocation list for the Quarter. Therefore, it is extremely important that the Final Exam is scheduled so as to leave time to meet the Dissertation deadline.
The final examination is administered by an examining board either identical to the board convened for the preliminary examination, or constituted in the same manner as that board. It consists of at least five persons. All members of the Department faculty are invited to the final examination. Other persons from outside the Department or University may also be invited. The final examination is oral and is connected mainly with the subject of the dissertation and the field of specialization. The student should fill out the Report of Final Exam form, obtained from the Department's Graduate Student Services Office, prior to the exam. The Report should be signed by the Chair of the student's Committee upon successful completion of the Exam, and returned to the Graduate Student Services Coordinator.
The student must submit an Application for a Degree in the quarter in which he/she expects to graduate. The deadline for the application is the first day of the quarter.
A degree application is valid only for the Quarter for which it is made. If the degree is not granted at the end of the Quarter in which it was expected, the student must reapply before the deadline of the next quarter. The University will charge a Degree Cancellation Fee in this case. Exception: Applications withdrawn by the end of the first week of the quarter will NOT be assessed the cancellation fee. Fees are listed in the Time Schedules.
Students who expect to receive a degree must have fulfilled all financial obligations to the University by the end of the ninth week of the quarter in which they expect to receive a degree. Students who fail to meet this obligation will be removed from the list of degree candidates and must re-apply for a degree after settling their accounts. Students who have questions or wish to make arrangements for payment should make an appointment with the Bursar well in advance of the deadline for meeting this requirement.
Revocation of candidacy
A candidate who has not completed a dissertation within three years after admission to candidacy must submit a written petition to the Department Chairman for renewal of candidacy which otherwise may be revoked. If there is insufficient evidence of progress, the student may be advised to discontinue work, and registration for future academic quarters may be denied.
Leave of Absence
During Scholastic and Research Residence a student may voluntarily apply for a Leave of Absence from the Ph.D. program. Leaves are approved for up to one year by the Department; at the conclusion of the leave, the student resumes residence at the point where he or she left off. Once a student has registered for 12 or more academic quarters (Advanced Residence), there is no provision for Leave of Absence except in cases where circumstances beyond the student's control make continuation of work toward the degree impossible (e.g., illness, injury). Under such circumstances, a student may petition the Dean of Students in the University for a Leave of Absence not to exceed one year.
Graduate students on the graduate residence track who decide to discontinue their studies must see the Department's Graduate Student Services Office to complete withdrawal forms. Students who withdraw and then later petition successfully to resume their graduate or doctoral studies will be responsible for any outstanding accumulated registration fees.
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The Department has no formal Master of Science program, but some students elect to take an M.S. degree on the way to the PhD. The divisional requirement for the degree of Master of Science is nine courses. In addition the Department requires:
- Approval of the departmental counselor and an individualized advisory committee of a program of study and an essay. Normally the program of study shall include the following: (a) Three or more physical and/or biological science courses of which, at most, three may be of 20000-level, the rest of 30000-level. (b) Three or more 30000-level courses in the department. (c) At least one, but not more than three, reading/research courses.
- An average grade of B and no grade less than C in courses offered for the degree.
- An essay, thesis, or publication demonstrating either (i) Ability and promise as a research scientist; or (ii) Ability to organize a body of knowledge such as is required of an instructor at the undergraduate level in a liberal arts college, in conjunction with the research course and a seminar delivered to a general departmental audience.
The master's degree is not required for work toward the Ph.D. in the department. The requirements for the M.S. degree may be completed concurrently with the pre-candidacy phase of the Ph.D. program. The minimum time for completion is three quarters, but with allowance for research and writing this normally extends through four to seven quarters.
The student must submit an Application for a Degree in the quarter in which he/she expects to graduate. The deadline for the application is the first day of the quarter.
Additionally, the student's advisor must submit a signed M.S. form stating that all requirements have been met prior to the final Convocation deadline of the quarter in which t he student will receive the degree.
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All regularly scheduled courses will be taught unless fewer than three students register. If only one or two register, and the material is deemed necessary at the particular stage in a student's program, arrangements can usually be made with the instructor to cover similar material in a reading course. Students should look ahead and urge others to register together for a course that might otherwise have insufficient enrollment. Undergraduates are encouraged to participate in Department seminars and other activities and to seek opportunities for involvement in faculty research projects.
The Department of the Geophysical Sciences offers undergraduate courses to students interested in the sciences of the earth, atmosphere, and oceans. These courses have been designed not only as the basis for a Bachelor's degree program in the geophysical sciences, but also to permit their use as electives for undergraduate majors in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology or environmental studies. They may be taken singly or in combinations.
Geophysical Sciences faculty also teach course sequences in the Physical Sciences and the Natural Sciences for non-science majors.
Listings and descriptions of course content and prerequisites can be found in the College catalog: Courses and Programs of Study. The College catalog can also be accessed on-line at http://catalogs.uchicago.edu.
Field Courses and Field Trips
The department typically sponsors several trips each year that range in length from one day to five weeks. Destinations of trips have included areas as far afield as Newfoundland; the Canadian Rockies; Baja, California; the Caribbean; and Iceland. The longer trips are designated as undergraduate field courses (GEOS 28001, 28002, 28003, 28004, 28005), and the shorter trips are mostly scheduled in connection with undergraduate and graduate lecture courses. However, all students and faculty are welcome to participate, space permitting.
The Department of the Geophysical Sciences offers graduate courses to students interested in atmospheric and oceanic sciences, paleobiology and historical geology, and the solid earth geosciences.
Listings and descriptions of course content and prerequisites can be found in the Graduate Programs in the Divisions Announcements. The graduate catalog can also be accessed on-line at http://catalogs.uchicago.edu.
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