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Environmental Science Ph.D. Program

After admission to the program the doctoral student works, with the Program Director (Temporary Advisor); Major Professor (Doctoral Committee Chair); and Dissertation Committee Members, while pursuing the Ph.D. degree. The initiative in planning the doctoral program, however, must be assumed by the student.


Immediately upon being accepted into the program, the Program Director will assume the role of temporary advisor for the student until a major professor is selected. The purpose of temporary advisement is to provide the initial guidance the student needs to make a successful start in the program. This arrangement gives the student time to become familiar with departmental faculty and the University and to explore possible research interests. This time may also be used by a student to identify the faculty members who may be asked to serve on the doctoral committee. Specifically, the temporary advisor will assist students in:

  1. Understanding departmental expectations.
  2. Understanding the registration process and program operations.
  3. Planning a tentative program of study.
  4. Scheduling initial classes.
  5. Selecting a major professor.
  6. Defining their professional goals.



The Major Professor should be selected by the student in consultation with the Program Director and the College Dean and approved by designated school officials by the end of the first semester of study after the completion of prerequisite course work. The Major Professor’s name must be on the published list of Graduate Professors from the Dean of the College of Science, Engineering & Technology.

Criteria for serving as major professor include:

  1. Having a Ph.D. or any other terminal degree
  2. Being on the list of full members of the graduate faculty.
  3. Having an active laboratory and/or field research program.
  4. Having expertise in the area of the Student’s dissertation research.


The major professor is certainly the chair of students’ doctoral advisory committee. He/she is the immediate supervisor of the student’s research and dissertation activities. Also, he/she has the responsibility for calling required and necessary committee meetings. Specifically, the major professor will assist the student in:

  1. Preparing course schedule and approving it for each registration period.
  2. Selecting the topic, preparing the proposed research and completing the dissertation.
  3. Identifying appropriate research needs.
  4. Selecting appropriate members of students’ advisory/doctoral committee.
  5. Resolving conflicts which may arise between committee members and students.
  6. Completing and filing all Forms and Applications required in earning the degree.


Advisory Committee 

After receiving admission to the Division of Graduate Studies and enrolling for graduate studies, the student will consult with the Environmental Science Advisory Committee concerning appointment of the Chair of the Student’s Advisory Committee.  The Student’s Advisory Committee will consist of not fewer than four members of the graduate faculty representative of the Student’s several areas of study and research. One of the Committee members should not be affiliated with the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

The Chair, in consultation with the student, will select the remainder of the Advisory Committee.  No individual located away from the campus may serve as chair of a Student’s Advisory Committee, but may serve as Co-Chair with an individual located on the campus.

The Committee members’ signatures on the approved degree program (Form I: Doctoral Degree Plan: To be completed during the first year of full time study) indicate their willingness to accept the responsibility for guiding and directing the entire academic program of the student and for initiating all academic actions concerning the student.  Although individual committee members may be replaced by petition for valid reasons, a committee cannot resign en masse.  The Chair of the committee, who usually has immediate supervision of the student’s research and dissertation has the responsibility for calling required meetings of the committee, and for calling meetings at any other time considered desirable.

The duties of the committee include responsibility for the proposed degree program, the research proposal, the preliminary examination, the dissertation or record of study, and the dissertation defense (final examination).  In addition, the committees as a group and as individual members are responsible for counseling the student on academic matters, and, in the case of academic deficiency, initiating recommendations to the Dean of the College

Environmental Science Ph.D. Program


1400 John R. Lynch Street
Jackson, MS 39217-0280

Phone: 601.979.2241