Earth Sciences

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Graduate Studies

Department Background

The Huffington Department of Earth Sciences at SMU can award competitive research and teaching assistantships to all students admitted to the department for graduate study. We invite applications from students with baccalaureate degrees in geology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, or engineering. The department offers doctoral and master's degrees in a diverse range of programs that are international in scope including:

Geochemistry: kinetics of fluid-rock interactions; surface chemistry of minerals; solubilities of hydrothermal minerals; history of atmospheric carbon dioxide; stable isotope geochemistry/geology (igneous & metamorphic petrology, fluvial processes, paleoclimates, soils and weathering processes, urban atmospheric chemistry, carbon cycle).

Geology: crustal evolution; structure/tectonics; paleogeography; computed tomography of vertebrate fossils; Cretaceous geology of the eastern Mediterranean; isotope paleontology; paleoecology.

Geophysics: core-mantle seismic properties; theoretical seismology; geothermal energy; seismic sources; thermal constraints on earthquakes; regional seismic wave propagation and crust-upper mantle structure; thermal constraints on plate tectonics/sedimentary basins; low frequency acoustic wave propagation; seismicity of mines.

The department possesses excellent laboratory, seismic array, and computational facilities with outstanding technical support.

Degrees Offered

Degree of Master of Science (M.S.) - The M.S. degree requires 30 hours of credit (six hours of which must be the thesis courses 6398, 6399), satisfactory defense of a research proposition, and the preparation and public defense of an acceptable thesis.

Degree of Master of Science in Applied Geophysics - The M.S. in applied geophysics degree is specifically developed for students interested in a career in petroleum exploration. This degree plan requires a minimum of 33 hours of credit and satisfactory completion and public defense of a research projects related to a facet of applied geophysics.

Degree of Doctor of Philosophy - The Ph.D. degree required a minimum of two academic years of residency as a graduate student on campus or at a research facility approved by the Department faculty; satisfactory defense of two original research propositions; and the preparation and public defense of a dissertation that is a significant original contribution to the advancement of science. Proficiency in a foreign language may be required by the advisory committee.

How to Apply

The Graduate School would like completed applications for admission and financial aid to be received before February 1st. However, later applications are considered in Earth Sciences. In order to receive maximum consideration for financial aid the closer one completes the process to February 1st the better. The minimum standards to be considered for admission are an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale and a GPA of 3.25 in the major. Results from a recent Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are needed. International students applying from countries where English is not the native language are required to provide scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

For more information, please contact our Graduate Advisor Dr. John Walther, or Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275-0395, USA. email: geol@mail.smu.edu Tel: 1-214-768-2750. Fax: 1-214-768-2701

Application forms can be found at the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid office at SMU has information about financial aid opportunites for graduate students.

We also encourage outstanding students to apply for the Roy M. and Phyllis Gough Huffington Fellowship. This is awarded for PhD study in Earth Sciences at SMU. It includes tuition and fees, an annual stipend of $25,000, and $3000 for travel to professional meetings and research expenses. The award is for up to three years contigent on adequate progress toward the degree. Contact Dr. John Walther for more information.

Current Graduate Students

Forms for graduate students [SMU]
Ready to graduate? [SMU]
Graduate catalogs [SMU]