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Major

The mission of the undergraduate program in Geophysics is to expose students to a broad spectrum of geophysics, including: resource exploration, environmental geophysics, seismology, and tectonics. Students in the major obtain a solid foundation in the essentials of math, physics, and geology, and build upon that foundation with advanced coursework in geophysics to develop the in-depth knowledge they need to pursue advanced graduate study and professional careers in government or the private sector.

Courses listed below are required for the B.S. degree in Geophysics. A written report on original research in the form of a Senior Thesis or an Honors Thesis is also required and must be submitted to the Student Services Officer no later than the beginning of the 8th week of the graduation quarter; and that the oral presentation associated with that report must be scheduled, with at least two faculty members present, no later than the beginning of finals week in the graduation quarter.

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN GEOPHYSICS

The Geophysics Major Curriculum

Undergraduates in Geophysics are exposed to a broad spectrum of topics including resource exploration, environmental geophysics, seismology, and tectonics. Majors build on a solid foundation of math, physics, and geology with advanced coursework in geophysics to develop the in-depth knowledge they need to pursue advanced graduate study and professional careers in government or the private sector.

OPTIONAL PRE-MAJOR CLASS units
Geophys 113 Earthquakes and Volcanoes (GEE 3, 5)  3
GEOPHYSICS CORE COURSES (24-35 units)  
Geophys 110 Earth on the Edge: Introduction to Geophysics (GEE 3, 5) 3
Geophys 120 Ice, Water, Fire (GEE 3, 4) 3-5
Geophys 130 Introductory Seismology (GEE 3) 3
Geophys 150 Geodynamics: Our Dynamic Earth (3,4) 3
Geophys 160 Introduction to SES Computing (GEE 3) 2-3
or equivalent knowledge  
•Geophys 162 Laboratory Methods in Geophysics 2-3
or Physics 67, Intro. to Laboratory Physics 2
Geophys 190 Near-Surface Geophysics (GEE 3) 3
Geophys 196 Undergraduate Research in Geophysics 5
or approved research internship  
Geophys 197 Honors Thesis 3
or Geophys198 Senior Thesis 3
Geophys 199 Senior Seminar: Issues in Earth Sciences (WIM) 3
Geophys 201 Frontiers of Geophysical Research 1
SUPPORTING MATHEMATICS (15-19 units)  
CME 100 Vector Calculus for Engineers 5
CME 102 ODEs for Engineers 5
CME 104 Linear Algebra and PDEs for Engineers 5
(Math 51 (51M recommended), 52, and 53 plus either Geophys 112 or CME 192 may substitute for CME series)  
SUPPORTING SCIENCE (8-25 units)  
GES 1A, B, or C Introduction to Geology 4-5
Chem 31A, B Chemical Principles I & II 8
 or Chem 31X Chemical Principles (accelerated)
 or a score of 4-5 on the Chemistry AP exam
4
Physics 41 (or 61) Mechanics 4
or a score of 4-5 on the Physics C Mechanics AP exam  
Physics 43 (or 63) Electricity and Magnetism 4
or a score of 4-5 on the Physics C E & M AP exam  
Physics 45 (or 65) Light and Heat 4
OPTIONAL FIELD CLASS  
GES 105 Introduction to Field Methods 3
GEOPHYSICS BREADTH (18-29 units)  
Choose six upper-level courses, one from each of the following six areas
(but an additional Geophysics class may substitute for either the
Physics or the Geology breadth areas):
 
Whole-Earth Geophysics  
•EESS 141 Remote Sensing of the Oceans 3-4
•Geophys 170 Global Tectonics (GEE 3)                 3
•Geophys 184 Journey to the Center of the Earth 3
•Geophys 186 Tectonophysics 3
Resources, Hazards, and the Environment  
•Geophys 182 Reflection Seismology (GEE 5) 3
•Geophys 183 Reflection Seismology Interpretation(GEE3) 3
•Geophys 185 Rock Physics for Reservoir Characterization 3
Energy 120 Fundamentals of Petroleum Engineering 3
GES 130 Soil Physics and Hydrogeology 3
GES 131 Hydrologically-Driven Landscape Evolution 3
Numerical and Computational Methods  
Geophys 187 Environmental Soundings Image Estimation 3
•Geophys 281 Geophysical Inverse Problems 3
EarthSci 211 C++ for Earth Scientists and Engineers 3
*Energy 160 Modeling Uncertainty 3
EE 102A Signal Processing and Linear Systems I 4
CME 108 Introduction to Scientific Computing 3-4
CS 106A & 106B Programming Abstractions & Programming Methodology 6-10
*Physics 113 Computational Physics 4
 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics  
•Geophys 146A Atmospheric Circulation 3
•Geophys 146B Ocean Circulation 3
•Geophys 181 Fluids and Flow 3
Energy 121 Fundamentals of Multiphase Flow 3
CEE 164 Introduction to Physical Oceanography 4
EESS 220 Physical Hydrogeology 4
 Physics  
*CEE 101A Mechanics of Materials 4
*EE 141 Engineering Electromagnetics 4
*ME 80 Mechanics of Materials 4
*Physics 110 Advanced Mechanics 4
*Physics 120 Intermediate Electricity & Magnetism I 4
Geology 3
GES 102 Earth Materials: Intro. to Mineralogy 3
GES 110 Structural Geology and Tectonics 5
GES 111 Fundamentals of Structural Geology 3
•*GES 151 Sedimentary Geology and Petrography: Depositional Systems 4
Appropriate substitutions are allowed with the consent of the Director
of Undergraduate Studies; all classes are to be taken LGI if so
offered, for a grade of C or better
• denotes class taught alternate years
* has additional pre-requisites outside the Geophysics major
GEE: satisfies one or more General Education Elective areas 
   
The Geophysics Minor Curriculum
 
The Geophysics minor provides students with a general knowledge of
Geophysics in addition to a background in the related fields of
physics,mathematics, and geology. The minor consists of one required
class (3 units), three electives (min. 9 units), and supporting classes
in geology, mathematics and physics.
 
 GEOPHYSICS CORE COURSES (12-14 units)  
Geophys 110 Earth on the Edge: Introduction to Geophysics (GEE 3, 5)  3
Plus three additional approved electives, typically chosen from:  
Geophys 120 Ice, Water, Fire (GEE 3, 4) 3-5
Geophys 130 Introductory Seismology (GEE 3) 3
•EESS 141 Remote Sensing of the Oceans 3-4
Geophys 150 Geodynamics: Our Dynamic Earth (3, 4) 3
•Geophys 170 Global Tectonics (GEE 3) 3
•Geophys 184 Journey to the Center of the Earth 3
Geophys 190 Near-Surface Geophysics (GEE 3) 3
SUPPORTING MATH & SCIENCE (9-18 units)  
GES 1A, B, or C Introduction to Geology 4-5
CME 100 Vector Calculus for Engineers 5
or Math 51 Multivariate Calculus
5
Physics 21, 22, 23, 24 8

or Physics 41 and Physics 43 or 45 8
or equivalent AP scores
(GEE 3, 5) or (3, 5) denotes a class satisfying General Education Elective areas 3 and 5, etc.
• denotes class taught alternate years
Appropriate substitutions are allowed with the consent of the Director
of Undergraduate Studies; all classes are to be taken LGI if so offered,
for a grade of C or better

 
Introductory Classes in Geophysics (requiring no, or minimal, pre-requisites)
 
The Geophysics major core class sequence targets the typical sophomore(or advanced freshman) (enrolled in or already completed the CME 100-102-104 or the Math 51-52-53 sequence). We encourage interested
freshmen to take one or more of the following classes that have no, or
minimal, pre-requisites:
INTRODUCTORY GEOPHYSICS COURSES
•Geophys 20Q Predicting Volcanic Eruptions (GEE 3, 5)
•Geophys 50N Planetary Habitability, worldview and sustainability (GEE 3, 4, 5)
Geophys 60N Man vs. Nature: coping with disasters using space technology (GEE 3, 4, 5)
Geophys 113 Earthquakes and Volcanoes (GEE 3, 5)
THINK 33 The Water Course (GEE 5)
• denotes class taught alternate years; (GEE 3, 5) denotes a class satisfying General Education Elective areas 3 and 5, etc.
3
3
4
3
4
Research in Geophysics (open to non-majors, pre-majors and majors)
 

Many Stanford undergraduates first learn about Geophysics by participating in SESUR (Stanford Earth Sciences Undergraduate Research program). SESUR provides a summer stipend for on- or off-campus research in Geophysics for any undergraduate continuing at Stanford beyond the funded summer.
For more details of this opportunity, and the Winter quarter application deadline (as well as other funded internships and free geophysics field camp opportunities around the country) click here.

Download the PDF of Major/Minor curriculum

Download Undergraduate Curriculum Proposal

In addition, prospective minors must download, complete, and file the Registrar's Major-Minor Course Approval Form.

Coterminal B.S./ M.S. Program

The department also offers a coterminal program. Interested individuals should check with a member of the department faculty for details.

Honors Program

The department offers a program leading to the B.S. degree in Geophysics with honors. The guidelines are: 

1.Select a research project, either theoretical, field, or experimental, that has the approval of an adviser. 
2.Submit a proposal to the department, which decides on its suitability as an honors project. Necessary forms are in the department office. 
3.Course credit for the project is assigned by the adviser within the framework of GEOPHYS 205.
4.The decision whether a given independent study project does or does not merit an award of honors is made jointly by the department and the student'adviser.

This decision is based on the quality of both the honors work and the student's other work in Earth sciences.
5.The work done on the honors program cannot be used as a substitute for regularly required courses. 
Please download the Undergraduate Honors Program Application.

Concentration in Geophysics for Physics Majors

Students can now take a concentration in Geophysics as part of their B.S. Degree in Physics. To complete the Geophysics Concentration, students include four geophysics courses in their degree program, or three courses plus a thesis. More information on the concentration is available on the Physics department website,

or contact Simon Klemperer.

Application Procedure for B.S.

Prospective Undergraduate Applicants please visit the Office of Undergraduate Admission for information and to request an application.

For more information: visit the Geophysics Website
or Professor Simon Klemperer  Director of Undergraduate Studies, Mitchell 353
or contact Richard Nevle Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Bldg 320-112, 724-0984