University General Course Catalog 2015-2016 
    Sep 22, 2020  

Geophysics, Ph.D.

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I. Contact Information

Graduate Program Director
Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering
Department Office: (775) 784-6050

II. Brief Introduction

Graduate studies include theoretical, experimental, and applied research in:

  • seismology,
  • geophysical exploration,
  • hazards and environmental assessments,
  • paleomagnetism,
  • rock magnetism,
  • geodesy,
  • planetary sciences, and
  • remote sensing.

Students may choose an appropriate course of study for their academic or career goals. Graduate students conduct research within the Department and/or in association with the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy, the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory, the Center for Neotectonic Studies, the Ralph J. Roberts Center for Research in Economic Geology, the Arthur Brant Laboratory for Exploration Geophysics, the Desert Research Institute, the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, and the United States Geological Survey-Reno Field Office.

Both regional and international research programs are available. Field-related studies and research are among the strengths of our programs. The University of Nevada, Reno is located near the boundary between the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada physiographic provinces, and is near many world-class localities for field studies, including active volcanoes, earthquake faults, and geothermal-energy production. Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, Great Basin, and Lassen Volcanic national parks are all within easy reach of Reno. We have state-of-the-art field instrumentation for geologic, temperature, seismic, gravity, magnetic, electrical, geodetic, and rock properties studies. We also have one of the world’s largest regional seismic networks and host the world’s largest GPS analysis center.

III. Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

Students pursue research projects around the globe as well as in Nevada’s unique and accessible terrain. Three 10-page papers published in international peer-reviewed journals represent in combination the ideal Geophysics Ph.D. thesis. Graduates are actively sought by academia, national laboratories, and the energy industry, commanding top salary offers.

IV. Admission Requirements

Prospective applicants should have a degree in the geological sciences, physical sciences or engineering fields. In addition to UNR Graduate School  admission requirements: the GRE Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning exams; a two-page statement of purpose; and three (3) letters of recommendation.

V. Program Requirements

In addition to UNR Graduate School Ph.D. requirements: take the 1-unit GEOL 697 - Graduate Seminar  course the first semester after matriculation into the program; take the 1-unit GEOL 698 - Graduate Seminar  course the final semester in the program (or otherwise make a public presentation of preliminary thesis results); and file an approved Program of Study with the Graduate School near the end of the second semester of residence (the specific date is the same as the “thesis due date” for students finishing their studies).

VI. Total Units (73 units)

Prospective applicants should have a degree in the geological sciences, physical sciences or engineering fields. The Ph.D. degree is 73 credits. The credits include a 1-unit GEOL 795 - Comprehensive Examination  that may not be used to satisfy the 30 units of 700-level course work required for the Ph.D. degree. Contact the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering office or the geophysics faculty for more details.

VII. Notes

Available facilities include one of the world’s largest digitally recorded regional seismic networks; a 350+ GPS station network; laboratory and field equipment for optical and infrared reflectance and Raman spectroscopy; field instrumentation for seismic (reflection, refraction, and microtremor at several scales), gravity, geodetic, magnetic, and electrical studies; a paleomagnetism/ rock magnetism laboratory; a network of cluster computers for rapid data processing, modeling, and scientific visualization, and access to licensed copies of the EarthVision, OpendTect, and SPW software packages. We also host the largest GPS analysis center in the world.

VIII. Undergraduate Prerequisites

Although there are no formal prerequisites, students usually enter (MS or PhD) with undergraduate degrees in geology, physics, or related engineering fields. We expect students to have advanced mathematics (through differential equations), and solid grounding in introductory physics and geology.

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