Certificate in applied geophysics
Geophysics bachelor's degree programs can introduce students to Earth's structures and processes, physics, data analysis and research methodology. Undergraduate programs focus on using quantitative, physical methods to study the Earth. They can prepare graduates for master's degree programs or for some entry-level positions as geoscientists. Master's degree programs can instruct students on advanced topics, teach them specialized research techniques and prepare them for professional work. Doctoral degree programs can cultivate students into competent leading geophysics researchers and instructors.
Program Levels in Geophysics: Bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, doctoral degrees
Geophysics Program Fields: Physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering and geology
Prerequisites: Bachelor's degrees require a high school diploma or equivalent. Master's programs require a bachelor's degree, generally, in a related area. Ph.D. programs require either a master's degree in a related field or a bachelor's degree in a related field. In either case, prerequisite coursework is necessary.
Program Specializations: Specializations include environmental science, ocean climates, paleontology, emote sensing, seismology, atmospheric studies, oceanography, sedimentology, mineral physics, space physics, deep crust studies, mantle studies, geochemistry or hydrogeology
Other Requirements: Thesis work and oral presentation, dissertation work and defense.
Bachelor of Science in Geophysics
Geophysics bachelor's degree programs concentrate on geology, physics and math subjects. Students can learn about geophysical applications in contemporary issues, such as flood control, resource exploration, energy extraction and water contamination. Field trips and laboratory research are important components of geophysics training. Students are introduced to research processes like computational procedures, data analysis and information presentation. These research opportunities help students develop practical skills like critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and professionalism.
Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Accepted students may need to complete science and math prerequisites before beginning advanced coursework.
Upon completing prerequisite courses, students can enroll in their major coursework. A student in this field may study geophysics in conjunction with geology may have the opportunity to choose an area of specialization in a topic like environmental science, ocean climates or paleontology. Common coursework could include:
Structural geology and stratigraphy
Seismology and remote sensing
Global tectonics and geodynamics
Master of Science in Geophysics
Master's degree students can learn about field methods that include surveying, creating maps and utilizing special instruments. They can practice using equipment like seismic recording systems, digital mapping devices, magnetometers, gravimeters, probes and computer programs. Through field research, students can observe and study phenomena like Earth's tides, rotation, magnetic field, gravitational field, polar activity or sea floor spreading.
Students usually choose a concentration within geophysics and choose their classes accordingly. Geophysics students can specialize in areas such as remote sensing, seismology, atmospheric studies, oceanography, sedimentology, mineral physics, space physics, deep crust studies, mantle studies, geochemistry or hydrogeology. They must conduct a thesis research project and pass an oral presentation and defense to complete the program.
Applicants must typically have earned a bachelor's degree. Some programs may require that the major was in a related field, such as geology, engineering or environmental science.
Programs are likely to include some required courses, but students may have the opportunity to choose the majority of courses according to their concentration. Students may take courses in:
Field methods and data processing
Waves and ray theory
Petrology and geochronology
Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics
Geophysics doctoral programs can provide students with a broad educational experience in geophysics, assist them in designing and carrying out original research projects, and prepare them to enter advanced positions in a geophysics career. Students will commonly need to conduct a research project, write and successfully defend their dissertation and pass examinations in order to complete the program.
Some doctoral programs only require a bachelor's degree with a major related to geophysics. Other schools will necessitate a master's degree or equivalent amount of graduate coursework in a related field. All programs usually require that applicants have completed several geology, math and physics courses prior to admission.
Students will study many of the same subjects that are covered in master's degree programs. They have the opportunity to enroll in numerous specialized elective courses. They may study topics like soil mechanics, petroleum reservoirs, wave propagation, seismic modeling, earthquake engineering and groundwater cycles. Other courses could include:
Mathematical geophysics, borehole geophysics and crustal geophysics
Geohydrology and reservoir geology