Thanks for your interest in the Geophysics Program at New Mexico Tech!
Geophysics is an interdisciplinary science which applies physics to geological problems involving the character and origin of a myriad of natural and man-made phenomena that are of scientific and practical interest to society. Examples at New Mexico Tech include: inferring the geological structure of the otherwise inaccessible portions of the Earth using earthquake and artificial seismic sources (from the shallow subsurface to the deep Earth), studying earthquake source characteristics and their implications for tectonic processes, volcano seismology, hydrocarbon exporation, and noninvasive sensing of shallow structures for environmental or archeological applications.
The Earth and Environmental Science Department at New Mexico Tech offers undergraduate (B.S.) degrees with a Geophysics option as well as graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) in Geophysics. Because of the highly quantitative nature of the field, students are expected to have a strong background in mathematics. As most geophysical data are archived and processed in digital form, competence in computer processing is also important. All programs allows for students with special interests to plan unique programs in association with the faculty advisor.
The Geophysics graduate program offers M.S. and Ph.D degrees centered on research projects arranged in accordance with a faculty graduate advisor. Graduate students are typically supported via teaching assistantships, which include part-time teaching or lab responsibilities, or through research assistantships funded from external sources such as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, or the Department of Energy's National Laboratories (two of which, Sandia and Los Alamos, are in New Mexico).
We view involvement with cutting-edge science to be an essential part of the NM Tech educational experience and strongly encourage both undergraduate and graduate students to become associated with research projects at the earliest opportunity. This can occur via academic arrangements or through on-campus part-time employment opportunities (at the New Mexico Tech IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center, for example.
Career opportunities in Geophysics are to some extent dependent on the degree attained. Generally, the higher the degree, the more varied the opportunities. Job openings for students with B.S. degrees are often within the environmental or hydrocarbon industries, or with service companies affiliated with these fields. Many B.S. graduates find their degree to be an excellent springboard for further study in Earth or other Natural Sciences at the graduate level. Students with M.S. or Ph.D. degrees have the additional option of pursuing research or support positions in government laboratories or in academia.
Please do not hesitate to contact me by letter, phone (575-835-6510), or email (sbilek AT nmt.edu) for further information. A description of the Earth and Environmental Science Department, including the Geophysics program, and an on-line copy of the course catalog, is available via www.ees.nmt.edu. There are also links specifically for prospective students at http://www.ees.nmt.edu/prospective.
Susan L. Bilek, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Geophysics
Geophysics Program Coordinator