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This archived information is dated to the 2010-11 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.


Emeriti: Jon Claerbout, Antony Fraser-Smith,* Robert Kovach, Amos Nur, George A. Thompson

Chair: Greg Beroza

Associate Chair: Biondo Biondi

Professors: Greg Beroza, Biondo Biondi, Jerry M. Harris, Simon Klemperer, Rosemary J. Knight, Joan Roughgarden,** Paul Segall, Norman H. Sleep, Howard Zebker,* Mark D. Zoback

Assistant Professors: Eric Dunham, Jesse Lawrence

Professor (Research): Gerald M. Mavko

Courtesy Professors: Stephan A. Graham, Wendy Mao, David D. Pollard

Consulting Professors: James Berryman, Dimitri Bevc, Jonathan Glen, Antoine Guitton, Peter Hennings, Shuki Ronen

Consulting Associate Professor: Stewart Levin

Cox Visiting Professor: Lee Slater

Visiting Assistant Professor: Adam Pidlisecky

Senior Research Scientists: Robert Clapp, Jack Dvorkin, Tiziana Vanorio

Research Associate: Youli Quan

* Joint appointment with Electrical Engineering

** Joint appointment with Biological Sciences

Department Offices: Mitchell Building, Third Floor

Mail Code: 94305-2215

Phone: (650) 724-3293


Web Site:

Courses offered by the Department of Geophysics are listed under the subject code GEOPHYS on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

Geophysics is the branch of Earth science concerned with exploring and analyzing active processes of the Earth through physical measurement. The undergraduate and graduate programs are designed to provide a background of fundamentals in science, and courses to coordinate these fundamentals with the principles of geophysics. The program leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Geophysics permits many electives and a high degree of flexibility for each student. Graduate programs provide specialized training for professional work in resource exploration, research, and education, and lead to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy.

The Department of Geophysics is housed in the Ruth Wattis Mitchell Earth Sciences Building. It has numerous research facilities, among which are a state-of-the-art broadband seismic recording station, high pressure and temperature rock properties and rock deformation laboratories, various instruments for field measurements including seismic recorders, nine dual frequency GPS receivers, and field equipment for measuring in-situ stress at great depth. Current research activities include crustal deformation; earthquake seismology and earthquake mechanics; reflection, refraction, and tomographic seismology; rock mechanics, rock physics; seismic studies of the continental lithosphere; remote sensing; environmental geophysics; and synthetic aperture radar studies.

Mission of the Undergraduate Program in Geophysics

The mission of the undergraduate program in Geophysics is to expose students to a broad spectrum of geophysics, including resource  exploration, environmental geophysics, seismology, and tectonics. Students in the major obtain a solid foundation in the essentials of mathematics, physics, and geology, and build upon that foundation with advanced course work in Geophysics to develop the in-depth knowledge they need to pursue advanced graduate study and professional careers in government or the private sector.

Learning Outcomes

The department expects undergraduate majors in the program to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the department's undergraduate program. Students are expected to:

  1. understand the physics and geology that form the basis for geophysical observation and measurement.
  2. understand Earth structure and evolution.
  3. identify the physical processes governing the behavior of common geophysical systems.
  4. be able to explain the principles of applying geophysical methods to societally relevant problems, including natural hazards, resource exploration and management, and environmental issues.
  5. be able to quantitatively describe the behavior of natural systems and the principles of geophysical measurement with physics-based mathematical models.
  6. investigate these models by solving the governing equations with a combination of analytical and computational methods.
  7. make their own observations with a variety of geophysical instruments, and reduce, model, and interpret their data and uncertainties
  8. effectively communicate their scientific knowledge through written and oral presentations
  9. be able to interpret and evaluate the published literature and oral and poster presentations at national meetings.

Graduate Programs in Geophysics

University requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin. Lecture course units applied to graduate degree program requirements must be taken for a letter grade if the course is offered for a letter grade.

Transfer Credit—An incoming student with a relevant Master of Science degree may apply for a departmental waiver of up to 12 units of the 30 lecture units required for the Ph.D. degree (see the "Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics" section of this Bulletin), for certain courses as approved by the Departmental Graduate Faculty Adviser. Credit for courses generally requires that students identify an equivalent Stanford course and obtain the signature of the Stanford faculty responsible for that course, stating its equivalence.

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