University General Course Catalog 2020-2021 
    May 28, 2023  

Geophysics, B.S. in Geophysics

The Geophysics program integrates geology, mathematics, and physics in order to understand the large scale processes of Earth as a planetary body and regional variations in the near surface. Geophysicists study Earth processes through a combination of laboratory experiments, computational and theoretical modeling, remote imaging, and direct measurements. This includes the study of magnetic and gravitational fields, tectonics and volcanism, the hydrological cycle, and interactions with the Moon and other celestial bodies. 

NOTE: Because of the significant amount of common interdisciplinary coursework, students having their major within the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering may not also have a minor from within the Department.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • demonstrate competence in oral and written communication skills including the ability to write and present independent research, and the ability to read and critically evaluate relevant geoscience literature.
  • demonstrate critical thinking and reasoning as part of their professional skills.

Contact Information

401 Laxalt Mineral Engineering Building
(775) 784-6050

College of Science Academic Advisors:

Transfer to the University of Nevada, Reno

Use the transfer agreement  and the degree planner (available by clicking Print degree planner icon at the top right of this page) to build your plan for graduation with your advisor. Course substitutions not identified on the transfer agreement require UNR advisor approval.

If a major-to-major transfer agreement is not available for your transfer institution, please check the General Core agreement  if available. If neither is available, access Transferology to assist in your planning.

Graduation Requirements

  • Total Units | 120
  • Cumulative GPA | 2.0
  • University GPA | 2.0
  • Major GPA | 2.0
  • Residency Requirement | 30 Upper-Division Units at UNR
  • Major Residency Requirement | 15 Upper-Division Units in the major at UNR
  • Upper-Division Requirement | 40 Upper-Division Units
  • Half Program Units/4 Year Institution | 60 Units

I. Core General Education Requirements (27-30 units)

NOTE: Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter of this catalog for information regarding the “Core English and Math Completion Policy  .”

Students in this major must meet all Core Objectives (CO1 through CO14). Courses satisfying Core Objectives are designated (e.g., CO9) in General Catalog curricula and course descriptions.

A. Composition & Communication; Critical Analysis & Use of Information (3-6 units) - CO1, CO3

B. Quantitative Reasoning (4 units) - CO2

D. Cultures, Societies, & Individuals (3 units) - CO6

Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter for a list of approved CO6 courses .

E. Artistic Composition, Interpretation, & Expression (3 units) - CO7

Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter for a list of approved CO7 courses .

F. History & Culture; Constitution (6 units) - CO5, CO8

Refer to the Core Curriculum   chapter in this catalog.

II. Additional Core Requirements (12 units maximum)

Students must take courses that satisfy the following Core Objectives. Some or all of these Core Objectives may be satisfied in the Major Requirements (Section IV).  Refer to the Core Curriculum  chapter in this catalog.

A. Science, Technology & Society Course - CO9

Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter for a list of approved CO9 courses .

B. Diversity & Equity Course - CO10

Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter for a list of approved CO10 courses .

C. Global Context Course - CO11

Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter for a list of approved CO11 courses .

D. Ethics Course - CO12

Refer to the Core Curriculum chapter for a list of approved CO12 courses .

E. Capstone Integration & Synthesis Course - CO13

F. Application Course - CO14

III. Additional Requirements (0 units)

IV. Major Requirements (72-75 units)

All geology, geophysics, geological engineering and hydrogeology major courses and electives having GEOL, GPH, or GE prefixes must be passed with a grade of “C” or greater; “C-” or lower is not acceptable.

Summer field course or research experience (1-3 units)

Advisor approval required. Select one from the following:


The addition of PHYS 323  and PHYS 423  Intermediate and Advanced Physics Lab (3 units total) will satisfy the Physics minor.

V. Minor Requirements (0 units)

VI. Electives (3-9 units)

Students are strongly encouraged to take courses in related fields of interest.

VII. Recommended Schedule

A. First Year

B. Second Year

C. Third Year

Spring Semester (14 units)

Summer Semester (1-3 units)

D. Fourth Year

Fall Semester (12-13 units)

Spring Semester (12-15 units)

  • (4 units) CO13, CO14
  • Science, Technology & Society Course (3 units) CO9
  • Technical Elective (3 credits)
  • General Elective (2-5 units)