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Geophysics and Seismology


Geophysics and seismology programs teach people the physics of solids and how they are used to study the Earth and other planets.

Geophysics and seismology programs teach people to solve geologic problems using physics and math. Students learn about electrical, magnetic, radioactive, and gravitational measurements. They also learn geophysical techniques for locating natural resources. In addition, they study environmental hazards such as earthquakes.

Geophysics and seismology programs include topics such as:


Several colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in geophysics and seismology. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Several universities offer graduate degrees in geophysics and seismology. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree in physics, geophysics, or related field, good grades, and good test scores. If your degree is in physics, you may be required to complete certain prerequisite undergraduate geology courses.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate students usually specialize in a particular application or area of geophysics. Typical courses vary by specialty. A list of common graduate requirements is below:

Things to Know

Students interested in geophysics can benefit from student internships or summer programs. Look for positions with geophysical consulting firms, or state or US Geological Surveys.

Some geophysicists spend their time outdoors studying various features of the Earth. Others spend their time indoors using computers for modeling and calculations.


King-Snohomish Area

University of Washington - Seattle

West Side Area

Western Washington University