Ph.D., Geophysics

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Complete the following admission requirement:

  • Submit GRE scores.
  • Complete a master’s degree in geology, geophysics or an appropriate field of physical science or engineering.

Admission to Ph.D. Geophysics Program Directly from a Bachelor’s Program

Entering graduate students whose highest earned degree is the baccalaureate are normally admitted as Master of Science candidates. However, exceptionally able and accomplished students in this category are eligible for direct admission to the Ph.D. program. For direct admission from the baccalaureate to the Ph.D. program, a student must receive approval from the graduate admission committee and also meet one of three criteria:

  1. At least one first-authored manuscript published, accepted or submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal
  2. Receipt of an NSF, NIH or similar prestigious pre-doctoral fellowship.
  3. Demonstrated research proficiency AND either
    • attained a GPA of at least 3.5 in mathematics and science courses at the undergraduate level, or
    • scored at or above the 80th percentile in two of three categories in the GRE.
      The requirement of demonstrated research proficiency can be waived for exceptionally promising students. In this case the student is required to complete a research or review paper focusing on a thesis-related topic approved by the graduate advising committee. The paper should be roughly 4,000-5,000 words and must be submitted and approved by the advising committee within the first three semesters to maintain Ph.D. status. Failure will result in changing the student’s status to M.S. candidate.

After admission, M.S. candidates may, in exceptional cases, petition for conversion to the Ph.D. program if they satisfy one of the above criteria. Such petitions must be approved both by the student’s current (M.S.) and proposed (Ph.D.) advisory committee and the department director or designee.

Minimum Requirements for Degree: 18 thesis credits

General University Requirements
Complete the general university requirements.
Master's Degree Requirements
GEOS F631Foundations of Geophysics4
GEOS F682Geoscience Seminar (fall semester)1
Complete 6 credits from relevant graduate-level courses agreed by the advisory committee, or select one of the following concentrations:6
Solid-Earth Geophysics
Complete 6 credits from the following:
Global Tectonics
Applied Seismology
Tectonic Geodesy
Volcano Seismology
Snow, Ice and Permafrost Geophysics
Complete 6 credits from the following:
Ice Physics
Sea Ice
Remote Sensing
Complete 6 credits from the following:
Atmospheric Radiation
Digital Image Processing in the Geosciences
InSar and Its Applications
Visible and Infrared Remote Sensing
Microwave Remote Sensing
Remote Sensing of Volcanic Eruptions
Advanced Skills Categories
Complete 3 credits each in two of the following advanced skills categories:6
Digital Signal Analysis and Remote Sensing
Digital Image Processing in the Geosciences
Visible and Infrared Remote Sensing
Microwave Remote Sensing
Digital Time Series Analysis
Statistics and Parameter Estimation
Analysis Methods in Meteorology and Climate
Inverse Problems and Parameter Estimation
Regression and Analysis of Variance
Applied Multivariate Statistics
Mathematical Methods
Applied Analysis
Numerical Linear Algebra
Numerical Analysis of Differential Equations
Finite Element Analysis in Engineering
Skills course
One graduate-level advanced skills course approved by the student’s advisory committee
Ph.D. Degree Requirements
Complete the Ph.D. degree requirements.
Complete and pass a written and oral comprehensive examination.
Complete and submit a written thesis proposal for approval.
Complete a research program as arranged with the graduate advisory committee.
Complete 18 credits of thesis, write a thesis and pass an oral defense of thesis.18