Program Description

Founded in 1926, the Department of Geophysics at Colorado School of Mines is recognized and respected around the world for its programs in applied geophysical research and education. With 12 full-time faculty and small class sizes, students receive individualized attention in a close-knit department. The mission of the geophysical engineering program is to educate undergraduates in the application of geophysics to help meet global needs for energy, water, food, minerals, and the mitigation of natural hazards by exploring and illuminating the dynamic processes of the Earth, oceans, atmosphere and solar system.

Geophysicists study the Earth’s interior through physical measurements collected at the Earth’s surface, in boreholes, from aircraft, or from satellites. Using a combination of mathematics, physics, geology, chemistry, hydrology, and computer science, both geophysicists and geophysical engineers analyze these measurements to infer properties and processes within the Earth’s complex interior. Noninvasive imaging beneath the surface of Earth and other planets by geophysicists is much like noninvasive imaging of the interior of the human body by medical specialists.

The Earth supplies the materials needed by our society, serves as the repository for used products, and provides a home to all its inhabitants. Geophysics and geophysical engineering have important roles to play in the solution of challenging problems facing the inhabitants of this planet, such as providing fresh water, food, and energy for Earth’s growing population, evaluating sites for underground construction and containment of hazardous waste, monitoring the aging infrastructures of developed nations, mitigating the threat of geohazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, avalanches) to populated areas, contributing to homeland security (including detection and removal of unexploded ordnance and land mines), evaluating changes in climate and managing humankind’s response to them, and exploring other planets.

Energy companies and mining firms employ geophysicists to explore for hidden resources around the world. Engineering firms hire geophysical engineers to assess sites that are chosen for large construction projects and waste-management operations. Environmental organizations use geophysics to conduct groundwater surveys and to track the flow of contaminants. On the global scale, geophysicists employed by universities and government agencies (such as the United States Geological Survey and NASA) try to understand such Earth processes as heat flow, gravitational, magnetic, electric, thermal, and stress fields within the Earth’s interior. For the past decade, nearly all Mines geophysics graduates have found employment in their chosen field, with about half of them choosing to pursue graduate studies.

The program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Geophysical Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,


John H. Bradford, Vice President for Global Initiatives

Yaoguo Li

Manika Prasad

Paul C. Sava, Interim Department Head, C.H. Green Chair of Exploration Geophysics

Roelof K. Snieder, Keck Foundation Professor of Professional Development Education

Ilya D. Tsvankin

Ali Tura

Associate Professors

Brandon Dugan, Associate Department Head, Baker Hughes Chair of Petrophysics and Borehole Geophysics

Jeffrey C. Shragge

Assistant Professors

Ebru Bozdag

Ge Jin

Matthew Siegfried

Professors Emeriti

Norman Bleistein

Thomas L. Davis

Dave Hale

Alexander A. Kaufman

Kenneth L. Larner

Gary R. Olhoeft

Phillip R. Romig, Jr.

Terence K. Young

Emeritus Associate Professor

Thomas M. Boyd

Research Professor

Jeffrey Lee

Research Associate Professor

James L. Simmons

Research Assistant Professors

Jyoti Behura

Richard Krahenbuhl

Mathias Pohl

Adjunct Faculty

Timothy Collett, Senior Scientist, US Geological Survey

Gavin P. Hayes, NEIC Reseach Seismologist, US Geological Survey

Morgan Moschetti, Research Geophysicist, US Geological Survey

Ryan North, Principal Geophysicist, Olson Engineering

Nathaniel Putzig, Senior Scientist, Planetary Science Institute

Andreas Rueger, Chief Geophysicist, Digital Geo Specialists