Master of Science in Geophysics

Geophysics applies mathematical and physical principles to the study of the Earth and planets. The curriculum introduces the global properties of the Earth (gravity, magnetic field, crustal motions, interior dynamics) and the determination of near-surface and interior properties through the use of seismology, electromagnetics, potential fields, remote sensing, geodesy and GPS. The curriculum provides a broad grounding in physical and mathematical fundamentals useful for future graduate study or for work in energy, natural resource or engineering industries. Students will gain experience in the integrated application of geologic observations and geophysical measurements to the analysis of Earth science and related engineering problems using current, industry-standard computational and GIS tools.

Study and Research Opportunities

The University of Nevada, Reno geophysics program is known for its strength; its motto is "The Earth is our Laboratory." Students will have opportunities for study and research in the following fields:

  • Seismology - we operate a major regional seismic network, and use the data to examine causes and source physics of earthquakes.
  • Earthquake Hazards - we study and model strong earthquake ground motions from all over the world.
  • Geophysical Exploration - we use seismic, electrical, and potential-field techniques to figure out what is below the surface of the earth.
  • Remote Sensing - we use satellite data to study earth resources, crustal deformation, global change and explore the nature of other planets in our solar system.
  • Paleomagnetism - we use the changing magnetic field of the earth, frozen on rocks and sediments, to learn how the earth has deformed over the past thousands to millions of years.
  • Geodesy - we study signals from satellites to monitor locations with millimeter precision to learn how the earth is deforming now.

Fields of Specialization

  • applied geophysics
  • earthquake seismology
  • environmental earth science
  • experimental geophysics
  • exploration geophysics
  • geologic hazards
  • GIS
  • geostatistics
  • hydrogeology
  • mineral exploration
  • neotectonics
  • paleomagnetism
  • paleoseismology
  • planetary geology
  • quaternary sciences
  • reflection seismology
  • remote sensing
  • rock fracture mechanics
  • rock mass characterization and design
  • stratigraphy
  • structural analysis
  • tectonics

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Learn more about the admissions process.

View the Geological Sciences & Engineering graduate program handbook.

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