M.S. - Geophysical Sciences;, PhD - Geophysical Sciences
The Department of the Geophysical Sciences covers a wide range of disciplines related to the Earth, including its origin, life, fluid envelopes, and cosmic environment. Concepts and methods in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology are applied to the problems of the atmosphere, the oceans, the solid earth, and the evolution of life.
Research facilities include laboratories for sediment transport, high pressure geophysics, mass spectrometry, environmental chemistry, and rock and fossil preparation; scanning electron microscopy; and general chemical analyses. Special types of equipment include a wave tank, a scanning electron microscope, an electron probe, and X-ray diffractometers. Computing resources in the department are devoted to mathematical modeling, simulation, and data analysis across the spectrum of the geophysical sciences.
Most graduate programs fall into one of three broad areas: (1) atmospheres, oceans, and climate; (2) solid earth geology, geophysics, and geochemistry; and (3) paleobiology and historical geology. The boundaries between these areas are anything but rigid, however. Students may, for example, combine meteorology, geophysics, and paleobiology in studies of paleoclimate and paleogeography. Work in geophysical fluid dynamics may be directly applicable to topics as different as mantle convection and ocean tides. As a result, the curriculum of a graduate student is highly flexible, and programs can be designed to meet the needs of the individual. Much of a student's coursework and research may actually be carried out in other departments of the University. This is especially common in evolution and paleobiology and in aspects of geochemistry and cosmochemistry.
Since 1913, the University of Chicago has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
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