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Applied Geophysics—BS

The world needs professionals who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Geophysicists are closely involved in gathering subsurface data for laboratory interpretation—and a bachelor’s degree in applied geophysics from Michigan Tech will equip you with the skills needed to conduct site investigations using advanced technology and geophysical techniques, such as signal processing.

You will also gain a rock-solid understanding of the Earth’s climatic history and paleogeography, the identification of oil and gas reserves or water supplies, and the evaluation and mitigation of natural hazards. The program’s curriculum focuses on the application of physics to studying the Earth, with the benefit of humankind and the environment at its core. Specialty areas in geophysics include the following:

  • Volcanology
  • Oceanography
  • Natural hazards mitigation
  • Remote sensing
  • Geographic information system (GIS) mapping
  • Natural resources (ecology and/or forestry)
  • Oil or gas exploration and recovery
  • Seismology

The daily duties of geoscientists, such as geophysicists, could include investigating natural phenomena and collecting data on location, interpreting the results in a lab, and writing reports. Field studies bring geoscientists to diverse landscapes around the globe—from volcanoes to oceans to oil fields. Geoscientists must have the ability to develop a picture of a field site based on limited data; therefore, sound critical-thinking skills are advantageous in this discipline. Due to the nature of their work, these professionals must adapt to a variety of situations and working conditions.

About the Program

  • Our state-of-the-art facilities allow students to experiment with advanced geologic technology. The department maintains labs dedicated to remote sensing and volcanology, GIS, subsurface remediation and visualization, and seismic petrophysics, among other areas.
  • Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula offers beautiful outdoor facilities. The area is ideal for a wide variety of geologic studies. You don’t have to drive far to find miles of rocky Lake Superior shoreline and acres of forestland.
  • Our well-rounded curriculum focuses intensely on field studies; we teach two field courses in the summer but also provide plenty of opportunities for students to see classic and novel field sites in Michigan and beyond. We also emphasize the study of geophysics and social geology, or methods for mitigating natural hazards through effective communication and community involvement.
  • Undergraduate research opportunities are plentiful in the department. Our faculty conduct research abroad, and students often accompany them on field trips. You might study volcanoes in South America, Precambrian rocks in Australia (or right here in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula), or the Bering Glacier’s melt rate in Alaska.
  • Get ready to contribute on the job from day one. Our students benefit from hands-on experiences ranging from Enterprise to Senior Design to internships/co-ops.
  • Faculty and staff focus on giving students the personal attention and support necessary for not only academic success, but also a positive undergraduate experience overall.
  • Opportunities for intercultural exchange abound at Michigan Tech. The Study Abroad Program sends students to countries around the world for stints ranging from two weeks to one year. D80 allows students to apply their studies to the problems facing economically disadvantaged communities.

What career pathways are a good fit for our graduates?

Discover a world of opportunity. A bachelor’s degree in applied geophysics will prepare you for a career in industry or graduate study. Generally, geophysicists employed in industry spend part of their working time outdoors enjoying nature and, if desired, traveling the world. Students interested in certain sectors of industry, such as oil exploration, or a career in academia should explore graduate education options. An advanced degree provides greater specialization.

Our graduates have found work in the following areas:

  • Groundwater and surface water monitoring and cleaning
  • Natural-hazards mitigation
  • Satellite remote sensing of environmental processes
  • GIS mapping of environmental data
  • Site investigations of underground hazards
  • Slope failure investigations
  • Oil or gas exploration and recovery
  • Subsurface visualization
  • Natural and induced seismicity evaluation

Where have our graduates found employment?

Employers of our alumni include:

  • Shell Exploration
  • SEMCO
  • DTE Energy
  • Schlumberger
  • Halliburton
  • Newmont Mining Corporation
  • Rio Tinto
  • Cliffs Natural Resources
  • ARCADIS
  • URS Corporation
  • Ciorba Group
  • 3M Company
  • US Geological Survey