UHM Dept. of Earth Sciences banner, sunset
over Diamond Head, (c) Ken H Rubin

Graduate Student & Post-doc Opportunities

The Department of Earth Sciences and the Hawaiian Institute of Geophysics and Planetology invite applications for full-time M.S. and Ph.D. students, as well as Post-doctoral Researchers. For the graduate program, we seek students with B.S. degrees in earth science, planetary science, physics, math, chemistry, biology, or engineering. Graduate assistantships and Post-doctoral positions with competitive stipends and benefits are awarded for research in a variety of fields in earth, environmental, and planetary sciences.

Specific projects include, but are not limited to the list below. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact individual researchers about these and other opportunities.

The school is striving to promote more diverse participation in the earth and planetary sciences. We strongly encourage applications by individuals from underrepresented groups, including (but are not limited to) those representing the intersections of race, ethnicity, cultural background, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and physical ability.

Individual opportunities (most recent listed first)
  • Development of the American Samoa Climate Data Portal: Opening for a Masters Level Graduate student in the Marine and Environmental Geology Division starting Spring or Fall 2022. If selected, you will contribute towards the development of a climate information data portal. You will have the opportunity to interact with many agencies in American Samoa, gather climate related data and information, and develop skills in coding and web development. This is an applied science project where the results will benefit stakeholders and will aid agencies in their management of natural resources and assist the territory of American Samoa to more efficiently adapt to climate change. You will have the chance to travel to American Samoa and work directly with managers and policy makers, providing a rare opportunity to have a direct impact on the most critical issue of our time. Contact Chris Shuler, cshuler@hawaii.edu
  • Seismic Imaging of Volcanoes: Graduate student opportunity¬†beginning Fall 2022 to conduct research related to seismic imaging of crustal magmatic systems beneath volcanoes. Opportunities specifically focused on the use of receiver functions to image deep crustal magmatic structure, targeting volcanoes in the Alaska-Aleutian arc. Contact:¬†Prof. Helen Janiszewski:¬†hajanisz@hawaii.edu
  • Early Evolution of the Hawaiian Mantle Plume: We have an opening for a PhD Graduate student in Geochemistry starting Fall 2022. The student will research the oldest (~80-50 Ma) and most enigmatic volcanoes of the Hawaiian-Emperor Chain using the geochemistry (major and trace elements, and Pb-Sr-Nd-Hf isotope ratios) and geochronology (40Ar/39Ar incremental heating) of basalt samples from the Emperor Seamounts. Research experience in trace element or isotope geochemistry is desirable. This project does not involve field work. The student will become an expert in the use of a thermal ionization mass spectrometer, and will work in a cleanroom chemistry environment. Contact Aaron Pietruszka: apietrus@hawaii.edu for more information.
  • Cosmochemistry, small Solar System bodies, and laboratory experiments: Graduate student opportunity for students interested in experimentally investigating the interaction between aqueous fluids and early Solar System solids. The student will work with Dr. Elena Dobrica: dobrica@hawaii.edu on laboratory experiments extending our knowledge of the characteristics of early Solar System materials, including how they formed and evolved in the Solar System nebula or on asteroidal parent bodies.
  • Protoplanets, exoplanets, and their host stars: Multiple postdoc and graduate (PhD) student opportunities to join NASA- and NSF-funded research on the formation of planets, their detection with space-based telescopes, and investigation of their properties and those of their host stars. Successful applicants will work with data from the NASA Kepler/K2 and TESS missions, carry out observations with the telescopes of Maunakea observatory and Las Cumbres Obervatory Global Telescope, and develop advanced methods of analysis, e.g. with machine learning. Applicants should have an appropriate background in physics, astronomy, planetary science, and/or computer science. Experience in programming is required Contact Eric Gaidos: gaidos@hawaii.edu
  • Geophysics, nuclear physics, and data science:  Graduate and postgraduate opportunities to pursue multidisciplinary research topics as part of the National Nuclear Security Administration Consortium for Monitoring Technology and Verification (MTV) and the Consortium for Enabling Technologies and Innovation (ETI). Please also refer to https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2019/02/28/manoa-researchers-nuclear-nonproliferation-education/. Applicants must be US citizens and should be able to navigate through combinations of physics, engineering, mathematics, signal processing, and computer science domains. Contact: Dr. Milton Garces: milton@isla.hawaii.edu

The department is divided into 3 Research Divisions and 6 Research Themes, which represent a loose organizational structure. Our researchers collborate freely accross these boundaries, as well as with other SOEST researchers, and extramural researchers

Learn more about our Research Facilities