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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:

[1] Submission of a GE paper reflecting the research done in the one or two years preceding the GE.  
[2] Oral presentation of the material presented in [1], 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. 
[3] 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 GEO506 Fundamentals of the Geosciences II (required) and at least 2 graduate or upper level undergraduate math, chemistry, engineering, or physics courses.

Solid Earth Upper Level Courses


GEO 441    Computational Geophysics
GEO 501    Physics and Chemistry of Minerals and Materials
GEO 506    Fundamentals of the Geosciences II  –required
GEO 507    Topics in Mineralogy and Mineral Physics: Deep Earth
GEO 518    Petrology Seminar
GEO 543    Rock Fracture
GEO 544    Structural Geology Seminar
GEO 546    Inverse Problems
GEO 552    Global Seismology
GEO 556    Geodynamics Seminar
GEO 557    Theoretical Geophysics
GEO 558    Seismology Seminar

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