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Graduate Research

Graduate education within the department is focused on research. Students are required to participate in research activities from the beginning and to develop an independent research program as soon as possible. Course work, seminars, and field trips are designed to convey a comprehension of modern geological sciences and to build a strong background in at least one of the supporting physical sciences. 

The choice of an advisor is as least as important as the choice of an institution. On the basis of the information you provide at the time of your application, we assign an advisor for the first year. Very often, the first-year research project and your first-year advisor remains as the primary advisor for your Ph.D. For this reason, it is important to think beforehand about your research preferences. You may wish to explore possibilities by contacting one or more of the faculty members, and/or their students. This is especially important for students who come with a Master's degree, or the foreign equivalent for whom some course requirements may be waived and who can embark immediately on an advanced research project.

Areas of Study

Solid Earth Geoscience  
Seismology, structural geology, tectonics, mineral physics, petrology, and computational geodynamics form the core of a graduate program that involves students from the start in frontline research on the evolution of Earth as a planet, using field observations as well as laboratory, numerical and theoretical studies.

Environmental Geoscience and Geochemistry  
The interdisciplinary program in environmental sciences focuses on certain key concepts of physical, biological, and chemical aspects of environmental problems at the local and global scales. This program is in coordination with faculty in other departments at Princeton University and the Princeton Environmental Institute. The primary research areas include biogeochemical cycles, environmental chemistry, mineral sciences, ground water geology and chemistry, microbial processes in oceans and soils, atmospheric chemistry, and environmental policy. In addition, we do paleontological and stable isotope studies of past climate, sea-level changes, mass extinctions and evolution through fieldwork at sea and on land.

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences  
We use as tools a hierarchy of models to investigate ocean and atmosphere circulation, climate stability and predictability, and climate changes in the past and future. The AOS program is jointly organized and run by Princeton University and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Princeton University-Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences Graduate Program (PU-BIOS
The Departments of Geosciences and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton, in partnership with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, are seeking applicants for a new graduate program in Ocean Sciences and Marine Biology. This program allows students to undertake their Ph.D. research with the complementary opportunities presented by these partners. These include the broad academic environment of a major research university and the ready access to the open ocean and to a coral reef island provided by a U.S. funded oceanographic and marine biological research institution. For more information, please see the PU-BIOS website

For a detailed and up-to-date view of our research programs, it is recommended to view the individual research and group pages of our faculty members.