Geophysics Graduate Program

Student in computer lab

To be reviewed for your desired entry term, your application must be complete, with all credentials received by the Office of Admissions, by the posted deadlines. All complete applications will be reviewed by the departmental graduate admissions committee.

For more information, visit the Mines Graduate Catalog or contact the Department office.

Update: The Duolingo English test is now among the approved language proficiency exams for international applicants.  The minimum required score is 105.

The GRE is optional for Fall 2023. 


Begin your journey in Geophysics

Resources for Current Students

Degrees Offered

DEGREES OFFERED: Master of Science (Thesis and Non-Thesis Options); Doctor of Philosophy

All Applicants: January 1 All Applicants: October 1

Our non-thesis option is designed for students wishing to advance their knowledge of geophysics through a professional degree.  This 30-credit program includes 12 credits of required courses, and 18 additional credits of electives.  Students may work with their advisor to customize a degree to address specific interests and career goals.  A Computational Geophysics Track  is available.  Students typically complete this program in 1 to 1.5 years.

Our thesis masters programs are geared to students who want to advance their knowledge of geophysics in a research environment.  This 30-credit degree includes 12 credits of required courses, 6 credits of research, and 12 additional elective credits that the student may use to customize the degree, to address specific interests and career goals.  Students typically complete this program within two years.

Our doctoral (PhD) program is suitable for students who desire careers in research-intensive environments, including government agencies and academia.  This 72-credit degree includes a range of professional development course requirements, 24 credits of research, and 12 additional credits of coursework in a minor program of study.  The program also requires the student to satisfy a doctoral qualifying process, and several other programmatic criteria.  Students typically complete the PhD program in 4-5 years.

Click here to learn more about our current research foci and programs.

For detailed information and specific requirements, visit the Mines Graduate Catalog.


International Applicants: March 1
Domestic Applicants: July 1
All Applicants: October 1

This online certificate program is designed specifically for those wishing to strengthen their geophysical skills and deepen their knowledge base. Participants in this program can expect to develop a solid foundation and proficiency in geophysical methods employed in the energy industry; learn the most up-to-date workflow and practices in the industry; develop skills to better communicate with colleagues in other disciplines in the organization; and, learn and understand fundamental concepts from well-known faculty, experienced in the industry.

Click here to learn more!

Interdisciplinary Programs with Geophysics Tracks

DEGREES OFFERED: Master of Science (Thesis and Non-Thesis Options)

International Applicants: March 1
Domestic Applicants: July 1

These interdisciplinary degree programs are targeted to recent graduates or mid-career professionals with an undergraduate degree in science and engineering who are interested in careers, research opportunities and/or acquiring skills that will help them work effectively in a variety of fields. The Humanitarian Geophysics specialization of these degrees includes a core Humanitarian Engineering curriculum plus an approved stream of related courses in the geophysics or geophysical engineering disciplines.

For more information, click here.

If you are a current Geophysical Engineering undergraduate, click here for a flowchart covering a recommended sequence of courses to optimize the transition from your undergraduate degree through the Combined/4+1 HES program.

DEGREES OFFERED: Master of Science (Thesis and Non-Thesis Options)

All Applicants: December 15  

These interdisciplinary programs, including an Area of Specialization in Hydrogeophysics, are designed for students who aim to advance their knowledge of hydrologic science with geophysics and engineering applications.  Typical employers for students with this degree include environmental consulting firms. the U.S. Geological Survey, the petroleum industry, and various regulatory agencies.  All programs include a range of core and elective course requirements, and additional criteria depending upon the degree.

For detailed information and specific requirements, visit the Hydrology Program website.

DEGREES Offered:

Master of Science (Non-Thesis)
Graduate Certificate in Data Science – Earth Resources (Online)

International Students: March 1
Domestic Students: July 1
Online Programs: July 15

The Master of Science in Data Science program gives students a foundation in statistics and computer science as well as the knowledge to apply these skills to a particular science or engineering discipline. The program follows a 3 X 3 + 1 design: three modules, each consisting of three 3-credit courses in a particular aspect of data science (data modeling and statistical learning; machine learning, data processing and algorithms and parallel computation; individualized and domain-specific coursework), plus a mini-module of three 1-credit professional development courses.

Students enrolled in this program may choose to individualize their degree with a geophysics focus by taking domain-specific course work in geophysical data integration, remote sensing, inversion theory, and other electives that enhance the student’s knowledge of geophysical techniques in the context of data science and machine learning.

Click here to learn more.

Prerequisites and Combined Program Requirements

Graduate Program Prerequisites

All graduate degrees in Geophysics and Geophysical Engineering include course work that requires knowledge of computer science, mathematics, physics, and geology.  Successful applicants are strongly encouraged to have an academic or professional background that includes the equivalent of adequate undergraduate preparation in the following areas:

  • Mathematics – Linear Algebra or Linear Systems, Differential Equations, and Computer Programming
  • Physics – Classical Mechanics, and Electromagnetism
  • Geology – Structural Geology and Stratigraphy
  • Geophysics – Courses that include theory and application in at least three of the following areas: gravity/magnetics, seismic, electrical/ electromagnetics, borehole geophysics, remote sensing, and geodynamics.
  • Field experience in the hands-on application of several geophysical methods

In addition, candidates in the Doctoral program must have no less than one year of college-level or two years of high-school-level courses in a single foreign language, or be able to demonstrate fluency in at least one language other than English.

Combined Degree Program

Students currently enrolled in the Mines’ undergraduate program may choose to transition continuously to a Master of Science (thesis or non-thesis) degree as a Combined Degree student.  Students admitted to the Combined Degree may double count up to six hours of related 400-level (or higher) credits which were used in fulfilling the requirements of their undergraduate degree at Mines, towards their graduate program.  We encourage students interested in this option to consult with their undergraduate advisor and with the Office of Graduate Admissions as early as their sophomore year.

The Department of Geophysics will waive GRE scores and letters of reference for students who apply to the Combined Master of Science Non-Thesis degree in Geophysics or Geophysical Engineering.  Students are admitted to the Combined Degree with the stipulation that they maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in each remaining semester of their undergraduate program.

Financial Support for Graduate Programs

Research and teaching assistantships are available for students in the Master of Science thesis option and PhD degree programs.  Applicants must indicate their interest in receiving financial support at the time they apply.  We evaluate that request at the time we review an application for admission to the program.

Financial support is generally not available for non-thesis graduate programs.  The Department considers actively enrolled students for scholarships as they come available.