Geophysics Fundamentals

Geophysicists search for oil, gas and mineral deposits using physical properties of the Earth grounded in the fundamentals of physics, chemistry and mathematics. They also study seismic waves generated by earthquakes and the magnetic, electrical and gravitational fields of the Earth to better understand physical properties of the Earth.

Core courses provide the fundamentals in:

  • theory underpinning geophysics
  • exploration methods in geophysics
  • engineering and environmental applications of geophysics
  • physical, historical and structural geology
  • mineralogy

Degree program can be tailored to a major field of interest by taking additional courses in the supporting sciences, mathematics and engineering fields.

Our Faculty

The Department of Geology and Environmental Science faculty maintain research programs to study topics as diverse as:

  • ground water
  • pollution impacts
  • microbe-mineral interactions
  • environmental change
  • biodiversity
  • remote sensing of buried structures

External funding and alumni support allow faculty to support student research. The faculty provides a broad-based education focused on both academic and applied aspects of the geological and environmental sciences.

    Akron Advantage

    Hands-on Research

    Geophysics students apply state-of-art field and laboratory techniques to study geologic and environmental issues in Ohio and around the world. Students use modern equipment in the field for computer mapping, and in the laboratory for studying the chemical, mineralogical, magnetic, biologic, and physical properties of rock, sediment and water samples. Many courses have a component that involves a practical problem that is examined using field and laboratory methods.

    Field trips throughout Ohio and to locations such as the Bahamas, Rocky Mountains, and Adirondacks expose students to a wide range of geology.

    Individual student research projects allow students to explore topics of interest in great depth, and with the guidance of a faculty mentor.

    Real-World Experience

    Geophysics students gain the skills necessary to compete in the workforce or continue in a graduate program. Students are provided opportunities through research-orientated courses, paid laboratory assistantships and summer internships to gain practical professional experience. Summer Field Camp in South Dakota and Wyoming further provides students practical experience in geology.

    Research studies by students and faculty have been applied to solving local environmental issues such as:

    • the effects of dam removal along the Cuyahoga River;
    • monitoring ground water flow and contamination;
    • mapping resources in Metro Parks; and
    • laboratory analyses for local industries.

    Before graduation, students are encouraged to produce a written research report of their work to demonstrate to potential employers their range of scientific abilities.

    Geology Student Organizations

    Interact with other geology students and professionals in the field through organizations such as:

    • Geology Club
    • Student chapter of the Association of American Petroleum Geologists

    Sample Curriculum