About Geophysics

Geophysics seeks to understand the vast and complicated body that is the earth.  Because most of the earth's interior is inaccessible to direct observation, the geophysicist uses the basic principles of physics to devise indirect methods of exploring those parts of the earth that cannot be reached by shovel or drill bit. Looking deep into our earth, we are confronted with basic, profound, and intricate questions:  How did the earth evolve?  How does it compare with the moon and other planets? What causes continents to move, mountains to form, and volcanoes to erupt?  Why do earthquakes occur and how can their effects be mitigated?  What accounts for the heat that seeps out of the earth and what causes its magnetic field?  What happens to a mineral when it encounters the high pressures and temperatures found deep within the earth? These questions require an interdisciplinary approach that links the disciplines of mathematics, physics, geology, and chemistry.  Moreover, your study here will encompass theoretical and experimental science as well as fieldwork to study geodynamic processes and the structure of the Earth and other planets. 

The broad scope of the geophysics track opens up a wide variety of employment opportunities. Petroleum companies, mining and quarrying companies, geotechnical firms, environmental firms, and construction firms are among the potential employers in private industry.  Government at the federal, state, and local levels employs geophysicists for a variety of tasks, ranging from the administration of regulations to the monitoring of earth data to the performance of original research. Colleges and universities, non-profit research institutions, and museums also hire geophysicists.  With the entire earth as the subject of study, it is not unusual for many geophysical jobs to involve travel to the far corners of the globe. 

IMPORTANT Change to the Major Requirements: The EPS 104 or Math 121A requirement has been removed. Instead, those two classes will be considered major electives. The major electives has increased from 11 units to 15 units. Please see the undergraduate advisor for more information.


Geophysics Major Requirements

AP/IB Exam Scores & A-Level Course Equivalencies for EPS Majors

Earth and Planetary Science Majors: Course Offerings Schedule

Spring 2024 EPS Enrollment FAQs

Course Substitutions

If you want to take a course for your major that is not listed under the major requirements, please follow the process below for a course substitution:

  1. Approval from the faculty advisor, Prof. Dreger from the Course Approval Form or an email approval
  2. Upload the signed Course Approval Form or a PDF of the email approving the course substitution in the EPS Course Substitution Form
  3. The undergraduate major advisor will process your course substitution in your Academic Progress Report (APR)

Your Geophysics Faculty Advisor

For more information about specific course and unit requirements please refer to the Geophysics Major Requirements or Prof. Doug Dreger, faculty advisor, at, Room 281 McCone.

Spring 2024 Office Hours: Thursday 12:30pm-1:30pm in person (McCone 281/283) or via zoom

The Geophysics minor is also offered in EPS. For more information on how to declare the minor, please see here.

For EPS undergraduate student services inquiries, please visit the Student Services Advising page.