ESSIC | State Climatologist | Ocean Sciences at UMD | AOSC Grads |

Recently we have seen more accomplished scientists in nearby federal labs who are interested in
our fast track Ph. D. program. Although we have posted the associated guidelines on our Web,
some of them (and us) are still unclear about the necessary procedures to follow when applying
for the fast-track program. Here I have drafted the following procedures for discussion. If
there is no question/suggestion raised, we will follow these procedures for future candidates.

To qualify for the fast-track Ph. D. program, the candidate must 1) have an earned MS degree in
atmospheric or oceanic science, or a related field, ordinarily from an accredited American
university; and 2) have published at least five, peer-reviewed, Science Citation Index (SCI)
journal articles in atmospheric, oceanic, or a closely related science. He or she must be the
lead or corresponding author of at least three of those papers.

Procedures to apply for the fast track programs are:
1) Submit graduate application, following the same guidelines as set by the Graduate School for
regular students, including undergraduate and graduate transcripts, reference letters, and
copies of the certificates of B. S. and M.S. degrees. In addition, a copy of resume and copies
of the first page of each publication must be included. In the application, the candidate should
indicate his/her academic and research advisors if possible.

2) Write petition to the Graduate Director for replacing the written portion of the
Comprehensive Exam with a seminar followed by an oral examination.

3) Form an Examination Committee of at least three faculty plus the Graduate Director, and the
Admissions Committee Chair, after receiving Graduate Director~Rs approval.

4) Schedule an open seminar on his/her past research, with an email announcement at least one
week in advance. In the presentation, the candidate should make it clear on what have been
published, what his/her contributions were, and what roles his/her collaborators had played.

5) After a period of open questions from the audience following the seminar, a closed oral exam
will be performed by the Examination Committee. The Committee~Rs questions should focus more on
the scientific/technical issues associated with the seminar, and examine whether or not the
candidate has appropriate background to conduct a Ph. D. project.

6) The quality of candidate~Rs seminar and his/her performance during the oral exam will be
discussed by the Committee, followed by a vote of either pass or conditional pass, or fail. Two
or more negative votes constitute failure. The conditional pass may include a recommendation
taking one or more courses or any condition as the Committee sees it fit. The final decision
will be subject to review by the committee of the whole. If the candidate receives a decision
of failure, he/she will not be given a second chance to go through the above process.

7) Like the Comprehensive Exam scores, the candidate~Rs seminar materials will be archived by
the Department, together with the Committee's vote.

8) If the candidate passes the Examination, he/she will be treated as a regular Ph. D. student,
and expected to take the Specialty exam in roughly one year. The Specialty Exam Committee should
make sure that the candidate uses little materials from his/her previous seminar.