Geophysics Program

Geophysics is the study of the physics of the earth. Geophysics involves both the development of new concepts of the physical behavior of the earth, and the application of the principles of physics, chemistry, and mathematics to problems of the Earth. Geophysicists investigate the solid earth, its fluid envelopes of air and water, and the sun and planets. Geophysics has many subdisciplines. Solid-earth geophysics involves studies of the structure and internal composition of the Earth (and other solar system bodies), seismology (earthquakes, etc.), studies of gravitational, electrical, and magnetic fields, studies of heat sources, heat transfer, and temperature distribution, and laboratory studies of the physical and chemical properties of rocks and minerals under conditions of varying pressure and temperature. Other subdisciplines include hydrology, meteorology, oceanography, planetology, tectonophysics (mountain building, etc.), solar-planetary relationships, and geomechanics for engineering purposes.

Geophysics has many practical applications. It is one of the main tools for the exploration of petroleum, and is also used in mineral exploration. Geophysicists are called upon to study the mechanical properties of rocks on which the foundations of dams, bridges, or other large structures are to be built. They also evaluate earthquake hazards and design instruments for the exploration of the moon and planets.

Employment opportunities for geophysicists are currently, and always have been very favorable. Geophysicists are employed in mineral resource industries, particularly the petroleum industry. They may also be employed by environmental companies, engineering firms, or engage in research in industrial or government laboratories. They may also be employed in academic institutions in teaching and research.

The Geophysics Program offers students several alternatives. The program of study is composed of almost equal parts of geology, physics, and math. While the primary goal of the program is academic, the prescribed background permits students to continue their geophysical education at the graduate level or to engage in suitably oriented employment. Alternatively, with judiciously selected electives, students may pursue graduate training in either physics, geology, applied mathematics, or engineering or may earn certification for teaching earth science and physics at the secondary school level. In addition, only a few more mathematics courses (easily obtainable within the program) would enable students to apply for certification in secondary education mathematics.

DOWNLOAD B.S. Geophysics Requirements Check List


General Requirements for the B.S. Degree in GEOPHYSICS:

Geosciences courses = 24
Physics courses = 19-22
Mathematics / Computer Science courses = 18
Chemistry courses courses = 8
Electives = 16

Minimum total = 120 hours for graduation


Specific Requirements for the B.S. Degree in GEOPHYSICS:

3..........GEO 165 Geology I
1..........GEO 169 General Geology Laboratory
4..........GEO 215 Minerals and Rocks
4..........GEO 335 Geophysics
4..........GEO 370 Structural Geology
1..........GEO 459 Seminar in Geosciences (or PHYS 400 Undergraduate Seminar)
3..........GEO 461 Field Geology
4..........GEO or GIS elective with LAB (GEO 330, Geomorphology, is strongly recommended)
4..........MATH 122 University Calculus I
4..........MATH 123 University Calculus II
4..........MATH 223 University Calculus III
3..........MATH 224 Differential Equations
4..........CHEM 115/125 General Chemistry I (lecture and lab)
4..........CHEM 116/126 General Chemistry II (lecture and lab)
5..........PHYS 230/232 University Physics I (lecture and lab)
5..........PHYS 231/233 University Physics II (lecture and lab)
3 or 4....PHYS 321 Engineering Mechanics I
Or PHYS 330 Thermodynamics
Or PHYS 331 Theoretical Mechanics
Or PHYS 333 Electricity and Magnetism
3 or 4....PHYS xxx Elective from PHYS 321 through PHYS 479
3 or 4....PHYS xxx Elective from PHYS 321 through PHYS 479

3...........A course in Statistics at the 200 level or higher, or CSIT 121 Computer Science I
Writing Intensive requirement is fulfilled by taking required GEO 215, 335, and 370


Page modified 2/25/12