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Geophysics and Hydrologic Sciences

Geophysics students enjoy research opportunities in several University research institutes and centers under the Boulder Graduate School, including the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA), the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), and the Colorado Center for Astrodynamical Research (CCAR). Research opportunities may also be available in nearby laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Degrees Offered:

Degree Details: 

Prospective graduate students should apply to specific departments at the University of Colorado. Once accepted, graduate students can then select research topics with faculty members.

Participating departments for geophysics:

  • Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
  • Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Geography
  • Geological Sciences
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics

Participating departments for hydrologic sciences:

  • Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Geography
  • Geological Sciences
Admissions Requirements: 

The student must satisfy the requirements of the Preliminary Examination for the PhD degree as administered by the home department. The certification that the student is acceptable for PhD work according to its norms is the responsibility of the home department.

Upon completion of the Preliminary Examination, a student may apply for admission to the Geophysics PhD Program by letter addressed to the chair of the Committee. This letter should state the date on which the requirements of the Preliminary Examination were satisfied. The letter must be endorsed by an authorized member of the faculty of the home department (often the student's advisor), showing departmental approval of the transfer of the student into the Geophysics Program.

After review of the application and approval by the chair of the Committee, the student is notified by letter that he or she is accepted into the program. Copies of this letter will be sent to the Graduate School and to the Graduate Program Assistant of the home department. The student will then complete forms required by the Graduate School to change enrollment from the original degree program to the Geophysics PhD program.

Hydrologic Sciences Admissions Requirements
Students may apply to the Hydrologic Sciences program either concurrently or after admission to one of the departments listed above. Please review the admissions options for the Hydrologic Sciences program here: hydrosciences.colorado.edu/academics/admissions.php

Financial Support: 

Applicants typically get financial support from their home department, including Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships.  Candidates with a strong quantitative background and with computer expertise are particularly welcome.  Prospective students are also encouraged to apply for external fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship and the National Physical Science Consortium Graduate Fellowships.

Applicant Instructions: 

All students must be admitted to a PhD program in a "home" department. Application materials submitted to the department should follow department guidelines.  Admissions are carried out according to the normal standards of the department.

Contact Information: 

University of Colorado Boulder
Geophysics Program
website: http://www.colorado.edu/geophysics

University of Colorado Boulder
Hydrologic Sciences Program
website: hydrosciences.colorado.edu/about/