Geophysics

Underground knowledge

Study the Earth using gravimetric, magnetic, electrical and seismic methods. Geophysicists can spend their time outdoors studying various features of the Earth or indoors using computers for modeling and calculations. Other options include finding minerals, evaluating environmental hazards and site selection for dams or construction sites. Research geophysicists study the internal structure and evolution of the Earth, earthquakes, the ocean and other physical features using these methods.

Featured Courses

Here is a sampling of a few courses that might pique your interest.

GEOL 3100 Solid Earth Geophysics (w/lab)
Intro to the fundamentals of geophysics and geophysical exploration (controlled-source seismology, earthquake seismology, gravity, magnetics and heat flow).
GEOL 3510 Yellowstone Field Study
This is a field-based introduction to the Yellowstone region. Learn the tectonic and volcanic history of the Yellowstone Plateau, and observe the modern expression of this in Yellowstone’s famed geysers and hot springs. Recent earthquakes will be investigated and mapped.

Degree Options

Discover your degrees, minors, concentrations and certification options available for this field of study.

2,200 job openings for geoscientists

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports about 2,200 openings for geoscientists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

5% projected job growth

Employment of geoscientists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.*

Geophysics combines geology & physics

Geophysics combines geology and physics to locate resources such as oil and gas, mineral deposits, water and energy resources.
*Source: BLS website, 2024

Our distinctive strengths

Students in the department of geosciences are given the opportunity to participate in significant scientific research. Various sponsored projects in geology, environmental geology and geophysics have given students the unique experience of hands-on contribution to real, often publishable, research during their undergraduate years. Field trips to diverse geological terrains help emphasize the hands-on approach.
  • High-quality undergraduate research opportunities
  • Field-based geoscience experiences
  • Numerous internship opportunities

Gain hands-on experience

All geophysics majors are required to complete a Senior Research Project (SRP). Work on the project typically begins during the student’s junior year and ends with successful presentation of the work, in both written and oral formats. The SRP is a significant component of the departmental comprehensive exam. Field-based geology courses include Field Geology I: The Greater Yellowstone Geoecosystem (GEOL 3510), Field Geology I: Earthquakes and Volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest (GEOL 3520), Field Geology I: Folded Rocks-Crossing the Appalachia (GEOL 3530), Field Geology II: SW Montana (GEOL 4500), and Field Geology II: Scotland (GEOL 4500).

Pathways

Our curriculum emphasizes problem solving and critical thinking skills essential to any career (and therefore any Pathway), as well as scientific writing and experimentation skills that may be especially critical to students interested in any of our six Pathways tracks.

Study Abroad

All Millsaps students can take advantage of our study-abroad classes. Millsaps College is ranked as one of the best study-abroad programs in the country! Environmental sciences students have the opportunity to take Field Geology II: Scotland (GEOL 4500). Recent graduates have also participated in field geophysical work in Mexico and Albania. Check out all the opportunities.

More About the Degree

Recent Career Placements

  • U.S. Army Research & Development Center
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Schlumberger
  • Ovintiv
  • Shell
  • Devon Energy
  • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
  • Fugro USA

Postgraduate Study

  • University of Kansas
  • University of Kentucky
  • Louisiana State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • New Mexico Tech
  • University of Houston
  • University of North Carolina
  • Texas A&M University

Careers of Recent Graduates

  • Environmental engineering firms
  • Local, state and national regulatory and planning agencies
  • Environmental consultant
  • Exploration industry

Related Areas of Study

  • Environmental Science
  • Geology
  • Biology
  • Pre-Engineering

Ready? Take the next step!

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Q&A with Victoria Gorham

Q&A with Victoria Gorham

Millsaps was a transformative institution for me. I always knew I wanted to teach at a liberal arts college like it when I finished graduate school.

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