Geology - Physics/Mathematics


Geophysics involves the application of physics and mathematics to the study of processes that operate on and within the Earth and other planets, over short and long timescales. The AB degree requires a total of 14 courses, including 6 geoscience courses, 3 physics or engineering courses, and 3 math and applied math courses. The ScB degree requires a total of 20 courses, including 8 geoscience courses, 4 physics or engineering courses, and 3 math and applied courses; students can choose courses from both solid Earth geophysics and climate science themes. Geoscience courses emphasize an analytical and process-oriented approach, with hands-on experiences in labs and on field trips. Active and collaborative learning is encouraged, as is practice in written and oral communication. There are many opportunities for students to engage in research (typically in paid positions) during the academic year or in the summer, in areas such as analysis of seismic waves in subduction zones, theoretical modeling of convection in the Earth’s mantle, modeling the effects of the warming climate in the oceans and atmosphere, and remote sensing of how climate change affects vegetation.

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Understand the history of the earth and its development across geological time
  • Study physical processes and phenomena, applying scientific principles to understand the Earth
  • Learn to formulate a scientific problem
  • Develop critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills
  • Employ theoretical modeling to predict, or ‚Ä®explain past, geologic events


Click here for a list of requirements.

Honors and Capstones

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Almost all students undertake a capstone experience, which may include a summer field course, a senior seminar course, or an independent research course. ScB students are required to complete at least one semester of research; AB students do not have this requirement but many undertake a research course as an elective. Honors may be awarded to candidates for either an AB or ScB degree, if they have a GPA of 3.4 or higher in concentration courses and complete honors work in independent research (GEOL 1970). Honors research is supervised by one faculty member and the resulting thesis is read by two additional faculty. An oral presentation and a final paper, revised at least once, are required. Please consult the department’s website for a complete description of admission procedures and requirements.

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Collaborate fully
  • Engage with your community
  • Develop a facility with symbolic languages
  • Experience scientific inquiry
  • Work on your speaking and writing

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments


Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors

Alumni Pathways

GeoPhysics concentrators can find a variety of employment opportunities with their undergraduate degree, including the private sector (e.g. environmental and energy consulting firms), government (research positions at state and US Geological Surveys,PeaceCorps), academic (research internships and universities, teaching high school science), and non-profits (community and national organizations). Visit the Geological Sciences Alumni blog and see recent online alumni/ae newsletters. About half of all concentrators eventually go on for a professional or advanced degree, either in basic science or in one of the increasing number of interdisciplinary programs.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Visit this DUG's website to learn more.

Student Leaders:

  • Fatima Husain

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.