Student working in lab studying geophysics

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. Carl Sagan

Geophysics—MS, PhD

Fast Facts

  • Research funding averages nearly $3 million per year.
  • The nation's only geoscience/engineering master's program partnered with the US Peace Corps offering a Peace Corps Master's International program in Natural Hazard Mitigation.
  • We offer a rare international perspective on geoscience through our INVOGE (International Geological Master's in Volcanology & Geotechniques) program, which offers broad-based training in volcanology and geotechniques as well as a year spent studying abroad in France or Italy.
  • The Earth Magnetism Laboratory features a magnetically shielded room and the equipment needed for paleomagnetism studies
  • Researchers in our Subsurface Visualization Lab help companies extract oil from abandoned or nearly abandoned fields, enhancing US energy independence.

Learn more about the Geophysics programs.

Graduate Programs in Geological Engineering

Departmental research activities span from fundamental and precise laboratory studies of rocks and minerals to field studies in remote and rugged locations to high-performance computing and subsurface visualization. Faculty members are involved in domestic and international field studies including:

  • Seismic petrophysics for exploration and reservoir characterization
  • Seismic source mechanisms of tectonic and volcanic earthquakes
  • Mantle and crustal-scale seismic tomography
  • Magnetic susceptibility and paleointensity of rock formations in Australia, India and Brazil
  • Paleomagnetic studies of the Keweenaw/Midcontinent Rift Volcanics

The geophysics program is highly quantitative, requiring a firm background in mathematics and physics. Students will study the earth through physical measurements, employing theory, laboratory and/or field experimentation, and modeling. Graduates of the program will have broad training in geophysics and develop expertise in one or more of the following specialties: 

  • geomagnetism
  • earthquake seismology 
  • exploration seismology
  • volcano seismology

Research activities include development of complex computational models of earth systems, laboratory experiments analyzing earth material phenomena, analysis of remote sensing data, and field measurements of volcanologic, hydrologic, and petroleum systems.

Learn more about the Geophysics programs.