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PhD Programs in Geophysics: Doctoral Degree Information

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in geophysics are common and applicants to these programs need a bachelor's or master's degree in physics, geology or another relevant field of study.

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Essential Information

Many schools require that students have significant coursework in chemistry laboratories, engineering or mathematics, and teaching experience also may be a requirement for admission. The time it takes to complete the program varies, but most schools set a maximum time of five years. Many programs call for comprehensive oral exams, presentations at conferences or publication at seminars during the course of the program. Researching and defending a dissertation usually are required as well. Applicants needs to have at least a bachelor's degree, and maybe a master's degree, depending on the program.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Chemical Technologies
  • Earth Science
  • Geochemistry
  • Geophysics and Seismology
  • Meteorology
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  • Oceanography
  • Paleontology
  • Planetary Astronomy
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Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics

The Ph.D. in Geophysics program prepares students to apply research to the exploration of natural resources, energy, and the environment. Geophysics involves the cross-disciplinary study of geology, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. Some programs require the completion of a specific number of credit hours in engineering or mathematics coursework and chemistry with laboratory. Most geophysics programs require that students take core courses that expand their general knowledge of geophysics. Programs may include the following courses:

  • Rock physics and mechanics
  • Data processing in geophysics
  • Geohydrology
  • Plate tectonics
  • Petroleum geochemistry
  • Geodynamics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of geophysics programs can pursue careers as scientists, researchers, and educators. Geophysicists often work in university settings. Some popular career options include the following:

  • Seismologist
  • Tectnophysicist
  • Volcanologist

Students interested in studying the structure, dynamics and characteristics of the Earth should consider applying to a Ph.D. program in geophysics. An advanced degree in this field will qualify students for a number of careers involved in the study of the Earth and its natural processes.

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