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The Interdisciplinary PhD Program in
Earth System Science (ESS)


The new interdisciplinary graduate PhD degree program in Earth System Science is based on the integration of scientific disciplines from five participating colleges and 10 academic departments at Auburn University, providing for a curriculum of unusual richness and breadth. The earth system science involves the linkage of the physical, chemical, and biological, and social sciences to the understanding the interaction of Earth-system processes and humans. Our program offers an effective way to train the next-generation professionals in the areas of Earth and Environmental Sciences


Affiliated Colleges and Programs

College of Sciences and Mathematics
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
College of Agriculture
College of Engineering
College of Liberal Arts
International Center for Climate and Global Change Research


Research Opportunities and Laboratory Facilities

Students will be engaged in all aspects of research and mentored by strong cross-disciplinary faculty group, including new faculty hires from the CHESS (Climate, Human, and Earth System Science) cluster initiatives. Students can choose among various areas of academic specialization (e.g., climate and earth systems, geological sciences and energy, environmental biogeochemistry, water resources and hydrology, coastal processes, ecosystem and food security, coupled natural and human systems, geospatial sciences, big data science, etc.). Laboratory and coursework provide students with a multidisciplinary background that will enable them to conduct state-of-the art research in earth system science. Auburn’s state-of-the-art analytical and computational facilities and labs are available to all students in the PhD program.

Department of Geosciences Research Instrumentation and Facilities
Auburn Allied Facilities


Affiliated Faculty for the Program

College of Sciences and Mathematics

Department of Biological Sciences

Nanette Chadwick

F. Stephen Dobson

Aaron Rashotte

Department of Geosciences

 Laura Bilenker

 Luke Marzen

 Stephanie Shepherd

 Philip Chaney

 Karen McNeal

 Ashraf Uddin

 Bill Hames

 Chandana Mitra

 Lorraine Wolf

 David King

 Ann Ojeda

 Haibo Zou

 Ming-Kuo Lee

 Stephanie Rogers


Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Ash Abebe



School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences

Christopher Anderson

Art Chappelka

Latif Kalin

Sanjiv Kumar

Christopher Lepczyk

Graeme Lockaby

Wayde Morse

Susan (Shufen) Pan

Lisa Samuelson

Larry Teeter

Hanqin Tian



Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Department of Civil Engineering

Xing Fang

Frances O'Donnell

Jose Vasconcelos

Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering

Kai H. Chang

Wei-Shinn Ku

Bo Liu


College of Agriculture

Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology

Loka Ashwood

Ruiqing Miao

Denis Nadolnyak

Department of Animal Sciences

Russell Muntifering



Department of Biosystem Engineering

Sushil Adhikar

William Batchelor

Puneet Srivastava

Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences

Charles Y. Chen

Yucheng Feng

Brenda Ortiz

Di Tian

Matthew Waters


Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Nannan Liu



School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

Dennis DeVries




College of Liberal Arts

Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Kelly Alley




Auburn University Montgomery

Department of Biology and Environmental Science

Benedict Okeke




Ph.D. Program Contact Information

Dr. Edward Thomas, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies,, 334-844-4126

Dr. Ming-Kuo Lee, Professor of Geosciences,, 334-844-4898.

Last Updated: 01/19/2021