Although the Geophysics PhD program awards the doctor of philosophy in geophysics, when applying for entry to the Graduate School at the University of Colorado, you must enter through one of the affiliated departments. This means you must apply to one or more of those departments. [We are hopeful that upgrades to the Graduate School's application software will allow for application to multiple departments; at present, though, you would apply separately to multiple departments if you are interested in working with faculty in different departments. We do sometimes alert colleagues in other departments of an application that might interest them, but there isn't a formal mechanism at present for this.]
The geophysics program is designed to encourage students with a variety of undergraduate backgrounds to enter the field. It is expected, therefore, that many students will need to develop additional preparation in some subjects. The entering student is expected to have knowledge at an advanced undergraduate level of relevant areas of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and geology. Deficiencies can be made up at the Boulder campus. Students may have to satisfy specific undergraduate prerequisites of the home department.
Entry into the program. The students are initially accepted into the Graduate School according to the normal standards and procedures of the department to which they choose to apply for admissions (the home department). The Committee has no part in this process, except for providing information about the program to those students who know from the beginning that they wish to pursue a degree in Geophysics. No student is admitted directly into the Geophysics Program on entry into the Graduate School, though the intent to pursue a degree in that program may be understood by all parties.
The student must satisfy the requirements of the Preliminary Examination for the Ph.D. degree as administered by the home department. Note that in some departments, admission is considered to be passing the preliminary examination. The certification that the student is acceptable for Ph.D. work according to the its norms is the responsibility of the home department. (Those who would like to apply to the physics department as home department should contact geophysicist faculty members in the physics department for more details).
Upon completion of the Preliminary Examination, a student may apply for admission to the Geophysics Ph.D. 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 (usually the departmental representative on the Geophysics Program Committee), showing departmental approval of the transfer of the student into the Geophysics Program. This should precede submission of the candidacy application to the Graduate School, which is due 2 weeks before the comprehensive exam. (A guide to Graduate School deadlines and rules is online at the Grad School).
After review of the application and approval by the chair of the Committee, the student is notified by letter or email that he or she is accepted into the program. A copy of this letter will be sent to the Graduate Assistant of the home department, who will initiate the paperwork necessary to change the student's major code from the home department's to Geophysics (GEOP). [As of early 2018, the paperwork is the graduate program change form]. After that point, the course and exam requirements of the Geophysics Program need to be followed.