College of Mines and Earth Sciences


Geology and Geophysics

M.S. in Geophysics

Program Purpose

The M.S. program in Geophysics prepares students for a professional career in the application of physical methods such as seismology and measurement of potential fields to exploration and exploitation of mineral, energy, and groundwater resources, and to recognition, characterization, and remediation of geologic hazards and environmental contamination. The M.S. degree is the standard preparation for most private sector careers that involve practical application of geophysics.

Learning Outcomes

  • Mastery of geophysics that allows for success as a professional in industry or public service.
  • Completion of a significant body of original geophysical research, the results of which are actually or potentially publishable in peer-reviewed professional venues.
  • Proficiency in accessing and utilizing the professional scientific literature.
  • Proficiency in oral and written communication of scientific results.
  • Thorough understanding of the origin and composition of the geologic materials that make up the Earth.
  • Thorough understanding of the dynamic geologic processes that operate within the Earth’s interior and on its surface.
  • Thorough understanding of geologic time, in both relative and absolute terms, and how geologic time is measured.
  • Thorough understanding of the evolution of the Earth and of the evolution of life on Earth.
  • Ability to use principles of mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics to solve geologic problems.
  • Proficiency in solving field-based problems in Earth science.
  • Ability to engage in lifelong learning and understanding of the need to do so.
  • Understanding of the role of the Earth sciences in helping to solve societal problems related to natural resources, natural hazards, energy, environment and global climate.
  • Understanding of the place of the Earth sciences in the larger picture of intellectual inquiry, including connections between science and history, philosophy, ethics and the formulation of public policy.