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The Academic Program

Geology and geophysics (GG) are important branches of the geosciences encompassing the scientific study of Earth, its past and present environments, and of other bodies in our solar system. The scope of the geosciences is very broad and includes important links to studies in atmospheric sciences, oceanography, and biology, as well as foundational skills in chemistry and physics. The geosciences offer a richness in variety and unrivaled opportunity for multidisciplinary research on problems of great intellectual and practical importance.

The Earth and other planets are highly dynamic; geoscientists study Earth's internal and surface characteristics to decipher the fundamental causes of features found there and how they change over time. In turn, these studies shed light on the origin and evolution of Earth processes, the other planets, and, indeed, the entire solar system. The range of fields we explore in our degrees include everything from volcanism to understanding our environment, from coastal erosion and sea level change to past oceanic, biotic, and climatic changes, from the origins of life to monitoring of active volcanoes, from the occurence of natural resources to how humans extract and use them, and from the composition of meteorites and planets to the distribution of petroleum and water resources on Earth.

Geology and geophysics has much to offer students who are curious about humankind’s place in nature. Graduates from our degree programs can look forward to ever expanding career opportunities in the private and public sectors. Such jobs offer incredible variety, the opportunity to work outdoors, and many opportunities for travel. Prospective undergraduates are strongly encouraged to build communication skills and a solid background of understanding in chemistry, physics, and mathematics as these disciplines are essential for solving the basic question about how Earth and other planets work. Students with graduate degrees (both MS and PhD) can look forward to interesting research careers in industry, government, or in colleges and universities. The intellectual rewards of basic geosciences research are comparable to such other exciting fields as biomedical research, particle physics, and cosmology. There are many exciting geoscience frontiers and challenges for the future including learning to predict earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, understanding the causes and effects of natural hazards, past and future climates, and the forces that move the surface plates of Earth, unraveling the history of Earth land masses and its oceans, and discovering the history of nearby planets like Mars,.

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