Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture

Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. in Forestry symbolizes the mastery of a special field of learning and indicates the ability of the recipient to independently complete original research and the highest levels of scholarly work. The recipient must demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the specialized field by successful completion of a prescribed course of study, planning and conducting original research, preparation and defense of a well written dissertation, and passing qualifying and final examinations. Ph.D. in Forestry is a research degree awarded in recognition of the student's ability to think and work independently as a scholar and to contribute to society by conducting original research in a chosen field of natural resource management.


18 Characteristics of SFASU Doctoral Programs Report

Admission Requirements

  1. Hold or qualify for a master's degree in an appropriate area of knowledge from an accredited college or university.
  2. For clear admission, the applicant must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) on their master's degree and an acceptable composite score on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test.  Clear admission also requires that a Graduate Faculty member in the Arthur Temple College of Forestry & Agriculture agrees to serve as the applicant's major professor. It is recommended that prospective students contact potential major professors before proceeding with the application process.
  3. Probationary admission may be granted to students who do not meet GPA and GRE requirements if a major professor can be identified. Probationary students can be admitted to clear admission by earning a 3.5 GPA on 12 credit hours of approved graduate course work.
  4. Exceptions to the above admissions requirements may be made on the recommendation of the Graduate Council in the ATCOFA to the Dean of the ATCOFA following a written appeal by the applicant to the Graduate Council.
  5. An applicant for admission to the Ph.D. degree program must submit all of the required forms, test scores and fees and be officially notified of admission prior to taking any course work in the program.
  6. Students not having an undergraduate Forestry degree will be required to complete background courses at the undergraduate level as part of their graduate program. Background course work must include courses in each of the following areas: Forest Biology, Forest Resource Inventory, Social Forestry, Forest Ecosystem Management and Forest Resources Administration. Specific courses to meet these subject area requirements will be selected with the advice and approval of the major professor and the advisory committee, subject to approval by the Dean of the ATCOFA. To ascertain weakness in his/her background may require additional background courses, the applicant may be required to take an examination over areas of knowledge within the Ph.D. degree program.
  7. Graduate assistantships may be available to qualified applicants; application forms are available via the ATCOFA Web site. Teaching assistantships are generally awarded to applications who have a background that would enable them to assist with undergraduate forestry courses. Research assistantships are available only if potential major professors have funded research projects that will cover the graduate stipend. Doctoral assistantships are only available to Ph.D. students who enter graduate study with clear admission.

Advisory Committee

Immediately after admission and enrollment for the first semester of course work, the student must consult his/her major professor and develop an advisory committee. This committee will consist of no fewer than four members of the graduate faculty. One of the members must be from outside the ATCOFA. The advisory committee, chaired by the major professor, will then assist the student in the development of a degree plan that includes the required background courses and the graduate course work needed for the field of interest of the student. This degree plan should be filed with the associate dean during the first semester of course work. Subsequent duties of the advisory committee are to assist the student in the development of a formal research proposal that should be completed prior to initiating the research activity and to serve as the examining committee. It is the student's responsibility to insure that all paperwork is completed prior to deadlines as stipulated in the university calendar.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Beyond the master’s degree, a student must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate coursework, six of which will be a research tool, plus six credit hours of dissertation FOR 699 for a total of 42 credit hours.

Required core courses for Ph.D.:

Approved research tools include:

  • Statistics (6-9 hours)
  • Computer science (6-9 hours)
  • Foreign language (6-9 hours or by examination, or other research tools as recommended by the committee)

Transfer of Credit on Ph.D. in Forestry Degree

Courses for which transfer credit is sought must have been completed with a grade of B or better and must be approved by the student's Advisory Committee and by the Dean of the Graduate School as applicable toward the Ph.D. in Forestry degree. Credit for dissertation research or writing or the equivalent is not transferable; course work taken at foreign colleges and universities is not normally transferred; and courses may be transferred only for credit and not for grade points. No more than 9 graduate transfer hours will be accepted toward a Ph.D. in Forestry degree.

Residency Requirement

No residency requirement.

Time Limit

No terminal time limit is imposed for the doctoral degree. All completed graduate course work included in the candidate's degree program must have been taken within six years of application to candidacy, exclusive of a maximum three years of military service. If the degree is not completed within three years after admission to candidacy, the candidate's work is subject each year thereafter to an annual review by the Advisory Committee. The Committee may recommend new requirements adopted in the interim, additional course work, or termination of candidacy. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee are forwarded through the Dean of the ATCOFA to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination (required of all students within approximately six semester hours of completing the formal course work specified on the official degree plan) determines the student's mastery of the subject matter in all fields of his/her program and helps to determine whether he/she is to be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Before the examination, the Advisory Committee Chair submits a schedule for the examination to the Dean of the Graduate School. When the Dean of the Graduate School approves the schedule, he will appoint a Graduate Faculty representative to the student's Examination Committee.

The Examination Committee is chaired by the student's Advisory Committee Chair and is comprised of his Advisory Committee and the appointed Graduate Faculty representative. Formal announcement of the Qualifying Examination must be received in the Graduate School no less than one week prior to the date of the first scheduled written examination. Unless otherwise recommended by the Examination Committee and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School, the examination will be both oral and written. Credit for the Qualifying Examination is not transferable and both written and oral parts must be completed within a length of time approved by the Dean of the Graduate School, usually not to exceed four weeks.

The written part of the examination will cover each area of study included in the student's program. Each member of the student's Advisory Committee will be responsible for administering a written examination in a particular area of the student's program. If the written examination of any member of the examining committee is reported unsatisfactory, the entire Examination Committee must agree (subject to the approval of the Dean of the ATCOFA and the Dean of the Graduate School: 

(1) to proceed to oral portion of the Qualifying Examination or 
(2) to another course of action. 

The written examinations will be made available to all members of the Examination Committee before proceeding to the oral part of the examination.

After the oral examination, the Chair of the Examination Committee will report in writing to the Dean of the ATCOFA and the Dean of the Graduate School the results of the Qualifying Examination and the Examination Committee's recommendation on admission to candidacy. No student can be admitted to candidacy without satisfactorily completing all parts of the Qualifying Examination. By permission of the Advisory Committee and the Dean of the Graduate School, a student who has failed in the Qualifying Examination may be given one re-examination six months after his/her first attempt. Upon successful completion of the Qualifying Examination, the student has three calendar years to complete all remaining degree requirements before being required to repeat the Qualifying Examination.

Dissertation and Final Examination

Required of every candidate for the Ph.D. in Forestry degree, the dissertation is a work of creditable literary workmanship, independent investigation in the candidate's major area of study, and an original contribution to scholarship. The format of the dissertation must be acceptable to the Graduate School. (Thesis Guide, a manual describing the Procedure for the Preparation of Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations, is available in the University Bookstore.)

No student is permitted to register for a dissertation course before having been admitted to candidacy for the degree. As soon as his/her research project can be carefully reviewed and approved by his/her Advisory Committee, the research proposal for the dissertation should be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for final approval. A student must be registered for the appropriate dissertation course in any semester that he/she expects to receive faculty advice on and assistance in the preparation of the dissertation. By the date indicated in the current Graduate Bulletin, the candidate must submit to the Graduate School:

  1. Four copies of the dissertation in final form, incorporating all suggestions and corrections by the candidate's Advisory Committee.
  2. A completed Application for Dissertation Examination. The Application for Dissertation Examination schedules the Final Examination and should be submitted at least two weeks before the proposed date for the examination. 
    Receipt for payment of fees to the University library for binding, shipping and microfilm reproduction.
  3. Not later than the date specified in the current graduate catalog, the candidate for the Ph.D. degree must pass the Final Dissertation Examination, conducted by the student's Examination Committee after each committee member has had time to examine the dissertation. Other interested faculty members may attend the examination without vote. The dissertation and students performance on the final oral examination must be approved by a positive vote of at least three-fourths of the voting examiners.

After the Final Examination, the Examination Committee will complete the Report of the Dissertation Examination. Following passage of the Final Examination, the four copies of the dissertation signed by the committee will be presented with the Report of the Dissertation Examination for the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. The Report of the Dissertation Examination when signed by the Examination Committee is the committee's guarantee that the candidate has completed the work assigned by the committee; passed all examinations required by the department, including the final orals; completed a dissertation that reveals creditable literary workmanship, independent investigation in the candidate's major area of study, and is itself an original contribution to scholarship; and submitted for publication in Dissertation Abstracts an abstract approved by the committee.

English Proficiency. A candidate for the Ph.D. degree must be able to use spoken and written English to the satisfaction of the Advisory Committee. The student deficient in such usage must take additional course work or other steps the Advisory Committee recommends.

Application for the Ph.D. in Forestry degree must be filed in the Graduation Office by the deadline indicated in the current Graduate Bulletin. A student must be formally registered at SFA for the semester or summer session in which the degree is conferred.

Forms for Ph.D. Students 

Guidelines for a Successful Ph.D. Program
Ph.D. Degree Plan
Petition to Change Graduate Degree Plan
Dissertation Proposal Approval Form
Application for Doctoral Qualifying Examination
Report of Doctoral Qualifying Examination
Admission to Candidacy
Application for Dissertation Examination
Report of Dissertation Examination

Please click on the following link for important dates and deadlines concerning graduation.



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