Solid Earth Geoscience Track
This track is for geophysics and geology students. The interests of the faculty in this group cover topics that include theoretical and observational seismology, fracture mechanics, melts and magma transport, petrology, surface pressures, paleomagnetism, crustal deformation, orogenesis, plate tectonic processes, computational physics and high pressure mineral physics. The curriculum recognizes the fact that modern geoscience is strongly rooted in physics and chemistry.
The General Exam (GE) requirements include:
 Submission of a GE paper reflecting the research done in the one or two years preceding the GE.
 Oral presentation of the material presented in , followed by an oral examination on the research completed, on the two declared areas of specialization, and on the student's proposal for his/her Ph.D. thesis.
 Demonstration of satisfactory academic progress by the successful completion of at least 8 courses.
Options for the required courses:
The aim of these requirements is to assure sufficient rigour, while leaving the student enough freedom to pursue his/her own interests. Reading courses may be designed to satisfy special needs.
The 8 courses must include GEO505/506 Fundamentals of the Geosciences and at least 2 graduate or upper level undergraduate math, chemistry, engineering, or physics courses.
Options for the areas of specialization:
The student has considerable freedom to choose his/her areas of specialization. Topics selected in the recent past include global seismology, lithospheric seismology, tectonophysics, fracture mechanics, inversion theory, structural geology, neotectonics, petrology, crystallography, mineralogy, mineral physics, mantle mineralogy, geodynamics, thermodynamics.
Background knowledge expected of incoming students:
The ideal incoming graduate student in the solid earth sciences will have had math through differential equations and vector calculus, and at least one course in physics or chemistry beyond the undergraduate college level of introductory physics and chemistry courses. Course work deficiencies should be remedied in the first year of course work after admittance to the program. When the incoming graduate student meets with his/her faculty advisory committee, the background in math and other sciences is appraised, and additional courses in math, physics, and/or chemistry may be advised.
At the time of the General Exam, foreign students are required to be fluent enough in the English language that discussions during the GE are in no way impeded by limitations in the student's ability to communicate in English