GEOLOGY DISSERTATIONS AND THESES
THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
from 1884 to 2010
compiled in 2011
Daniel F. Merriam
KU Department of Geology Historian
This list of KU geology dissertations and theses has been compiled from the university library plus a variety of other sources, and the information verified as complete and accurate as possible. The dates may differ from the official university records and the time of defense or on the conferring of the degree; early university records are incomplete and may differ as to source.
The Department of Physical Geology and Mineralogy was constituted in 1892 and the Graduate School was formally established in 1897. Degrees granted before those dates were given by the university and the master of arts degree was granted to those with a bachelor of arts and the master of science degree to those with a bachelor of science. The first master of science degree in geology was not conferred until 1923; until that time all the degrees were a master of arts. At the instigation of Samuel Wendell Williston in 1894 an outline of regulations to obtain the PhD at KU was formulated and listed paleontology, mineralogy, stratigraphical and physical geology as fields of study in which the degree could be obtained (Debicki, n.d., p. 11); the first PhD degree then was granted in 1896 in mathematics. The first doctorate in geology was not conferred until 1931, however, a PhD in zoology (paleontology) was granted to Joshua William Beede in 1899. The degree of master of arts in geology was discontinued in 1989.
Walter Schoewe published a list of all theses (and dissertations), including geology, submitted to Kansas colleges and universities as a service to members of the Kansas Academy of Science. However, he published only four lists for the years 1962 to 1965 (Schoewe, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965).
The hardcopy of theses and dissertations prior to 2006 may be consulted in the Anschutz Library on campus at KU or borrowed through local libraries or interlibrary loan. KU theses and dissertations from 2006 are available only online. Dissertations and abstracts may be consulted online in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, and from 1993 all dissertations are available for a price from the database 'Current Research.' The list can be consulted by accessing 'KU Libraries,' then to 'Databases:' 'Articles and More;' go to 'Current Research@University of Kansas' (see dissertations and theses@ University of Kansas), and search Geology for desired author, title, or keywords. University Microfilms or UMI Dissertation Publishing has been publishing dissertations and theses since 1938.
As of December 2010, there were 803 geology theses and dissertations on record at The University of Kansas. Please keep in mind this is not a list of degrees granted.
I would like to thanks Berry Bunch of University Archives, Elizabeth Gravatt of the Department of Geology, Virginia Sayler and Rochelle Bass-Montgomery of the KU Graduate School, Scott R. McEathron and Robert Szabo of Anschutz Library, and Janice Sorensen of the Kansas Geological Survey for help in various aspects of this compilation. Some of the data (not seen) were supplied by KU Department of Geology faculty. Yolanda Davis, of the Department office staff, provided information on theses and dissertations not in the library in hardcopy. David Newell analyzed the graduate degrees and provided the graphics. The 2007 manuscript was assembled and proofed by LeaAnn and Jessie Davidson, and LeaAnn Davidson helped check and assemble the 2010 list presented here.
Debicki, A.P., n.d., Early graduate education at the University of Kansas: beginning the quest for research and scholarly discovery: unpubl. manuscript, University Archives, Spencer Library, Univ. Kansas, 34 p.
McEathron, S.R., 2007, Guide to information resources: geology: Univ. Kansas Libraries: http://www.lib.ku.edu/
Merriam, D.F., and Gantz, M.M., 1958, Graduate degrees in geology conferred by The University of Kansas from 1895 to 1958, 9 p.; supplement by Sundbye, M.M., and Merriam, D.F., 1960, 4 p.
Merriam, D.F., Gantz, M.M., and Stultz, D., 1965, Graduate degrees in geology conferred by the University of Kansas from 1895–1965: Univ. Kansas, Dept. Geology, 15 p.
Merriam, D.F., 2007, Graduate degrees in geology conferred by The University of Kansas from 1884 to 2007: Univ. Kansas, Dept. Geology, 51 p.
Moore, R.C., 1954, Master's and doctor's thesis manual: Univ. Kansas, Dept. Geology, 62 p.
Schoewe, W.H., 1962, Theses — 1962: Kansas Acad. Science Trans., v. 65, no. 2, p. 194–205.
Schoewe, W.H., 1963, Theses — 1963: Kansas Acad. Science Trans., v. 66, no. 2, p. 334–346.
Schoewe, W.H., 1964, Theses — 1964: Kansas Acad. Science Trans., v. 67, no. 3, p. 567–578.
Schoewe, W.H., 1965, Theses — 1965: Kansas Acad. Science Trans., v. 68, no. 2, p. 336–348.
Wilder, B.E., compiler, 1949, University of Kansas graduate school theses, 1888–1947: Univ. Kansas Publ., Library Ser. No. 2, 305 p
Wilder, B.E., compiler, 1961, University of Kansas Graduate School theses, 1948–1958: Univ. Kansas Publ., Library Ser. No. 12, 23 p.
Masters Theses/Doctoral Dissertation Data 1884–2010
In the 126 year history of graduate work in the KU Department of Geology, 803 theses and dissertations have been submitted for degrees — 625 theses and 178 dissertations. Of the 803 total in the history of the Department only 92 theses have been by women and only 20 were doctoral dissertations.
First Master's Thesis: Erasmus Haworth — 1884
First Doctoral Dissertation: Joshua William Beede — 1889
First Masters Thesis by a Female: Olive L. Hoffman — 1927
First Doctoral Dissertation by a Female: Rosalie F. Maddocks —1965
Most Pages in a Masters Thesis: Natalie Brooke Givens 580 p. — 2006
Least Pages in a Masters Thesis: Charles H. Grover 8 p. — 1895
Most Pages in a Doctoral Dissertation: Donald L. Rasmussen 775 p. — 1977
Least Pages in a Doctoral Dissertation: Frederick M. Swain, Jr. 56 p. — 1943
Range of Pages in Masters Theses: 8 to 580 p.
Range of Pages in Doctoral Dissertations: 56 to 775 p.
Non-Thesis Masters Degree (12)
Grace C. Keroher — 1969
Scott D. Adams — 1975
Richard M. Young — 1980
Albert James Robb III — 1992
Susan L. Hoff — 1993
Susan G. Stover — 1993
Pauline R. Denham — 1994
Mary C. Bitney — 1995
Chong Dae Chung — 1996
Meri J. Fite — 1997
Julie L. Grauer — 1998
Kathy Baker — 2008
KU Geology Dissertations and Theses
KU has granted some 791 graduate degrees in geology in its 126 year history since the first one in 1884. In general, many PhDs went into university teaching and after WWII many of the masters students went to industry when a masters degree was almost necessary to get a job as a geologist. The first masters degree granted was to Erasmus Haworth in 1884 for his study of the lead and zinc mining district in southeast Kansas and the first PhD was to Joshua Beede in 1899 for his study of Carboniferous invertebrates (Merriam, 2011; Fig. 1).
As the university grew in numbers, as would be expected, the ratio of geology students to the total number of students decreased. Many masters degrees were granted in the late 1950s and early 1960s, again in the early 1980s, and the mid 2000s. The number of masters students was linked with GIs returning to school, economics of the time, and demand for geologists by industry. Doctorates seemingly were linked with interest in the program and the desire to enter the teaching profession or a position in research.
Prior to WWII there were only a few faculty to advise graduate students and R.C. Moore was the 'choice' of most. Moore provided the base for the program at KU and influenced geology and a generation of students through his persuasive powers. He supervised some 19 doctoral students plus 20 masters students from his arrival at KU in 1916 to his retirement in 1962; Andy Ireland produced 48 masters students (Merriam, 2007). Lowell Laudon was the faculty member, who during and just after the war, produced most of the students with graduate degrees. After the war when the faculty was enlarged, there were more options for students, but Moore still attracted doctoral students, in fact, 17 of his 19 were post-WWII advisees.
Because the department was strong in paleontology, stratigraphy, and sedimentology, it was not surprising that many of the graduate students conducted research in those fields. Many focused their effort on problems in or related to the Midcontinent and Kansas in particular. Soft rock faculty members R.C. Moore, Lowell Laudon, Luke Thompson, Al Fischer, and John Imbrie were names that drew students to KU. Some of these students were supported by the Kansas Geological Survey and others were members of the survey who could pursue a degree part-time.
By the late 1960s computer techniques and statistics were being employed in research as noted by the titles. By the 1980s studies were be conducted in geophysics, geochemistry, and structure reflecting the interest of some new faculty. By the end of the century, research reflected interpretation of the data rather than description. The dissertations and theses became larger mainly because the data were incorporated rather than just reporting the results. Studies, too, now were being conducted in other parts of the country and abroad as funding of research became easier to obtain.
As the faculty grew from 3 in 1892 to 24 in 2010 the possibilities for research in different areas and different subjects grew. In some ways the new and young faculty members had interest in subjects and could supervise students in areas and subjects beyond those of the classical faculty.
Hard copies of the list of dissertations and theses can be consulted in the Department of Geology office at KU or the Kansas Geological Survey Library in Hambleton Hall on the West Campus. An up-to-date list can be obtained online - first access KU Geology Department, then Alumni Information, followed by Alumni News and Events, and then Theses and Dissertations.
Merriam, D.F., 2007, Raymond Cecil Moore, legendary scholar and scientist, world-class geologist and paleontologist: Univ. Kansas Dept. Geology and Paleo. Inst., Spec. Publ.5, 169 p.
Merriam, D.F., 2009, Geology at The University of Kansas, the first century (1866–1966) and a bit beyond: Univ. Kansas Dept. Geology and Paleo Inst., Spec. Publ. 6, 210 p.
Merriam, D.F., 2011, Geology dissertations and theses at The University of Kansas from 1884 to 2010: Univ. Kansas Dept. Geology, 51 p.
K. David Newell and Dan Merriam