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Geophysics Degree

Geophysics is the study of physical processes and properties of earth. In other words, this field covers the dynamic structure of the earth and its environment. Geophysics can be further divided into sub-categories such as oceanography, climatology, etc. The applications of the principles of geophysics can be seen in a number of areas. These include mineral-exploration, civil engineering, archaeological surveys, earthquake monitoring, and more.
Technology has played a vital role in expanding the exploration frontiers of geophysics. This technological expansion has created many new career opportunities for geophysicists. There are many diverse careers to choose from in geophysics. If you enjoy physics and want to pursue a career that is challenging and exciting, geophysics may be the most suitable option for you. Geoscientists’ jobs were rated as among the best jobs in 2013 by CNN Money Magazine.

Studying Geophysics
You can pursue geophysics at undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level. A geophysics degree will be needed for most careers in this field. There are many universities and colleges offering geophysics programs, comprehensively designed to equip students with in-depth knowledge and skills necessary for geophysics jobs.

Geophysics Undergraduate Programs: Bachelor of Science in Geophysics

This is a four year undergraduate degree that will help students explore and discover knowledge about the earth’s dynamic structure and processes. The program will provide students with a strong foundation of knowledge on geography, mathematics, geophysics, chemistry, and related fields.
In addition to classroom learning and building theoretical concepts, students will be involved in laboratory classes where they will practically implement geophysical techniques for experimentation and conduct research. The curriculum may vary from college to college, but will generally cover fundamental courses such as the following:

  • Physical geology

This course will help students with a thorough understanding of the physical processes of the earth. Students will learn about various internal and external processes, and the basic principles of geology.

  • Introduction to oceanography

This course will examine different components of the marine environment. Topics such as geological history, oceanic sediments, marine resources, and ocean biota are covered in this course.

  • Rocks and minerals

In this course, students will learn how to classify rocks and minerals. Student will study the description and identification of rocks, and their megascopic petrography. This course may require field trips.

  • Earthquakes

The course will highlight the main causes of earthquakes around the globe. Students will learn about the different types of earth quakes, what causes them, and their hazards.

Masters in Geophysics

Geophysics masters program is a two year undergraduate degree. It is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of the earth’s processes. As compared to a bachelor level degree, this program follows a more advanced curriculum. Students will acquire a broad grounding in fundamental physics, mathematics, etc, during the first phase of the program.
The program will enable students to specialize in certain fields such as geodynamics, seismology, geomagnetism, etc. The coursework is not limited to classroom learning. Certain courses are covered in laboratories where students develop practical skills. Fieldwork is a key part of the curriculum and gaining hands of experience through experimentation and exploration are essential objectives of this degree. Here are some important courses students will most likely cover:

  • Geophysical exploration

This course will enable students to learn how to use different techniques for exploring the earth’s surface and what’s beneath it.

  • Paleomagnetism

This course will cover the concepts of magnetic fields of the earth. Students will learn how the earth has evolved over history by examining frozen rocks and sediments.

  • Seismology

This course is dedicated to the study of earthquakes. Students will learn about the main causes of earth quakes and their effect.

Some of the specialization courses include

  • Environmental earth science
  • Applied geophysics
  • Planetary geology
  • Quaternary sciences
  • Hydrogeology
  • Mineral exploration
  • Neotectonics
  • Rock fracture mechanics

PhD in Geophysics

Students who have completed a masters degree can prepare for leadership roles by further pursuing geophysics PhD programs. This is the highest level of qualification offered in this field. It takes around 4-8 years to complete the program. It focuses on independent research studies and a final dissertation. The main requirements include:

  • Completion of coursework
  • Independent research study
  • Oral comprehensive examination
  • Dissertation

During the coursework, students will cover a range of advanced subject areas that include research methodologies, Paleomagnetism, remote sensing, seismology, environmental assessments, and more. The coursework may vary a little from college to college. Students will then be required to clear an oral examination and conduct a research study on a chosen area. The last phase of the program is dedicated to the development of a thesis which must be approved by the faculty.

Learning Outcomes of Geophysics Courses

  • Learn how to apply skills in geophysical problems
  • Conduct research and evaluate findings
  • Develop written, visual, and oral communication skills
  • Understand various geophysical problems and devise solutions
  • Investigate geophysical problems using different techniques and methods

Distance Education
Online geophysics degree programs are offered by a few accredited schools. You can search online to see what options are currently available. There are many reasons why students are pursuing distance learning programs instead of on-campus ones. Online learning is considered to be:

  • Cost friendly
  • Flexible
  • Convenient

Students can create their own schedules without having to compromise their jobs and other commitments. This mode of learning offers more individualized attention and lets students study at their own pace without having to worry about attending classes.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements depend on which university or college you want to enroll in. For admission in an undergraduate program, a high school diploma or GED will be needed along with decent grades in science subjects. For enrollment in a masters-level degree, students must provide a bachelor degree transcript, meet a minimum CGPA score, and provide letters of recommendation. On the other hand, students seeking admission in a PhD program must provide a masters degree transcript, CGPA, and letters of recommendation.

Career Prospects
You can work as a geoscientist or a geophysicist in the following industries:

  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Engineering
  • Technical consulting
  • Federal agencies

Your level of education and specialization will play a key role in determining the type of job position you can qualify for. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), geoscientists made a median annual income of $90,890 in 2012. The demand for these professionals is expected to grow by 16% over the next few years, creating approximately 6,000 new jobs.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Geophysics Degree?

Many schools in the United States, such as the University of Miami, the University of Houston and the Stanford University, are offering a degree in Geophysics. Students can enroll in a 4-year Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Geophysics or a 1-2 year long Master of Science (M.S) in Marine Geosciences. Graduates can also enroll in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Geophysics, which takes around 5 years to complete.

What Are the Requirements to Complete a Geophysics Degree?

In order to graduate with the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Geophysics, students have to complete 120 credits and in order to graduate with the Master of Science (M.S) in Marine Geosciences, program participants have to complete approximately 30 credits. For completion of the Ph.D. program in Geophysics, a minimum of 135 units of graduate study is required. Students have to study courses like Environmental Geochemistry, Earth Surface Processes, Remote Sensing, Environmental Geology and Petroleum Seismic Exploration.

How Much Can I Make after Completing a Geophysics Degree?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median pay of Geoscientists was $91,130 in 2018. The number of jobs available in this field in 2018 was 31,000. Also, the employment in this field is expected to grow by 6% between 2018 and 2028.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What is a geophysics masters program?

A:A master in geophysics is a research-oriented program that allows students to specialize in a variety of fields including geodynamics, paleo-and geomagnetism and seismology. It will also involve technical numerical modeling and simulation. Students are typically required to possess a background in geosciences, but students with an understanding of psychics, engineering sciences and mathematics are also considered strong candidates.

Q:Can you give me some information about geophysics programs?

A:Geophysics is an interdisciplinary field that combines different disciplines such as mathematics, geology computer science physics and engineering. Geophysics is offered for study at all levels of post-secondary education. Students enrolled in these programs will explore different concepts and will learn about the challenges faced by the human population and other inhabitants of the planet.

Q:Please tell me what courses are typically covered in a masters in geophysics program?

A:A masters degree in geophysics will cover a range of courses such as atmospheric science, geological sciences, geophysics, oceanography, and engineering. The exact curriculum may vary slightly from college to college. The program is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of related disciplines, issues of the environment, and how such challenges can be tackled appropriately.

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