Department of Geophysics

The Department of Geophysics at Colorado School of Mines has an international reputation for excellence in applied geophysics, is the oldest and broadest program of applied geophysics in North America, was one of the first U.S. universities to offer a bachelor’s degree in geophysical engineering and is evenly balanced between undergraduate and graduate students and between research and teaching.

Department of Geophysics

The Department of Geophysics at Colorado School of Mines has an international reputation for excellence in applied geophysics, is the oldest and broadest program of applied geophysics in North America, was one of the first U.S. universities to offer a bachelor’s degree in geophysical engineering and is evenly balanced between undergraduate and graduate students and between research and teaching.

Welcome

The world of geophysics is enormous and fascinating. Many are attracted to geophysics because of their fascination with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural hazards. Others are drawn by their interest in hot topics such as climate change, carbon management and geothermal energy. Still others love the process of discovery associated with exploration – petroleum exploration, mineral exploration, exploration for water, or planetary exploration.

The Department of Geophysics offers the B.S. degree in geophysical engineering and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in both geophysics and geophysical engineering. Our academic programs encompass many interesting fields of study, including physics, mathematics, geology, computer science, signal processing, and much, much more. Students interested in engineering are hired by groundwater, environmental, and subsurface construction firms. Students who are more interested in applied science pursue academic positions or employment by government agencies such as the United States Geological Survey or NASA, or take jobs in industries such as petroleum, mining, or renewable energy.

We invite you to come join us in the excitement of exploring our planet and beyond!

Serving Colorado, the Nation, the World

Geophysics, along with other geoscience and engineering disciplines, is relevant to solving important problems locally and globally:

Archaeology

  • Using non-invasive methods to locate subsurface sites/structures/artifacts

Climate

  • Understanding climate change and its implications

Energy

  • Exploring and developing oil and gas, coal, coal bed methane, geothermal

Engineering

  • Investigating sites for subsurface construction, tunneling
  • Locating and characterizing underground infrastructure and utilities

Environment

  • Isolating toxic (nuclear, chemical) waste
  • Locating land mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO)

Food

  • Characterizing soil, assessing irrigation in precision agriculture

Geohazards

  • Monitoring, forecasting, and mitigating risks associated with earthquakes, volcanoes, avalanches, tsunamis.

Infrastructure

  • Monitoring, non-invasively, the utility infrastructure: natural gas, water, telecommunications, roads, railroads

Mining

  • Exploring for mineral resources and characterizing in situ and mine leach processes

Space

  • Exploring the planets, e.g., looking for water on Mars

Water

  • Characterizing aquifer dynamics in the Western US
  • Exploring for water for the 20% of Earth’s population that lacks it

News

  • Software to assess CO2 storage risk wins award
    A Colorado School of Mines professor is part of a partnership that has been recognized for developing a computer software package to assess the environmental risk of geologic carbon dioxide storage si …
  • Faculty honored by Society of Exploration Geophysicists
    Two Colorado School of Mines professors were among those honored at the Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ annual meeting, held Sept. 24-29 in Houston. Petroleum Engineering Professor Manika Prasad …
  • Mines alum George Saunders wins Man Booker Prize
    George Saunders ‘81 has won one of the most prestigious awards in English literature, the Man Booker Prize, for his first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo.” Saunders studied geophysics at Colorado School …
  • Tsvankin's work published in SEG's Geophysics
    Ilya Tsvankin, a professor in the Geophysics Department and director of the Center for Wave Phenomena, published three papers with his students in the Special Section on Seismic Anisotropy in the July …
  • Infusing graduate education with professional development
    Graduate school can be a wonderful time in one’s life—a period of hard work, but also of learning new things and meeting new people, says Roel Snieder. “I loved my experience as a graduate student.” B …
  • Bradford joins Mines as head of Geophysics Department
    The new head of the Geophysics Department at Colorado School of Mines hopes to put a greater emphasis on the broader range of issues that geophysicists can contribute to in society. John Bradford, who …
  • Mines team takes second in NASA Mars Ice Challenge
    Colorado School of Mines took second place in a NASA competition to design and build a system for extracting water from Mars’ subsurface, and learned plenty of lessons along the way. The Mars Ice Chal …

CERSE Vision: A world where earth, energy and environment are wisely managed.

CERSE Mission: To improve lives through vibrant and creative science and engineering education, research and global engagement focused on earth’s resources and societal needs