a student squats next to a mountain stream with electronic instruments

Graduate Program

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is a medium-sized, nationally-ranked program, with opportunities for scholarship in many areas, including geology, geobiology, geochemistry, geophysics, and planetary science. We are one of the few departments in the country with an integrated program of instruction and research that treats Earth as a planet and makes direct use of knowledge gained by exploring the solar system. As a graduate student, you will have the opportunity to explore the many disciplines through your course work, conduct cutting-edge research in world-class facilities, and join a collaborative and supportive community of scholars.

We welcome students of many different academic backgrounds, including:

  • Geology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Environmental Science
  • Engineering

Our Ph.D. training emphasizes modern, quantitative approaches. It involves field and laboratory work, as well as theory and advanced computation. The degree requirements are intended to ensure that all doctoral candidates develop independence and originality of thought and acquire knowledge that has sufficient breadth (the broad knowledge of Earth and planetary sciences) and depth (a deeper working knowledge of a specific research area). We believe that the major advances in science are likely to be made at the discipline boundaries and, therefore, does not define disciplines or impose strict rules on what constitutes depth. Instead, the Research Advisory Committee, working with the student, defines the areas of expertise the student wishes to pursue.

Person using lab machine

Plan the Path Ahead

Program Details & Requirements

What will the road ahead be like? We have a detailed list of requirements that should answer all your questions.

View More Details

How to Apply

Our Ph.D. program provides a comprehensive grasp of modern approaches to studying the earth and other solar system bodies. We welcome students of many different academic backgrounds. All application materials—including all mandatory supporting documents—must be received by January 1st to ensure full consideration for fall admission, but we encourage you to apply early. Apply online by clicking the link below.

Online Application

Common Questions About Applying

What are the GRE and TOEFL codes for WashU?
The GRE (and TOEFL) College/University code for WashU is 6929

What are the GRE and TOEFL codes for the department?
The GRE department code for EPSc is 0806, and the TOEFL department code is 71.

Where should I send my supplemental materials?
Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work, current test scores, and letters of recommendation should be mailed to:

Katherine Totty
Dept. of Earth & Planetary Sciences
Washington University
Campus Box 1169
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63130

Research That Pushes Boundaries

Want to know more about the labs and facilities where you'll be doing your research? Our Research page lists all of our research groups by concentration area, and you can also explore the cutting-edge facilities we have in the department as well as others around WashU.


Browse Labs and Facilities
Person using microscope


For more information, email the Director of Graduate Studies.

Contact the Director of Graduate Studies