Geophysics Careers

Degree programs in Geophysics are equipping students to answer some of the most pressing questions of our time.

Suzette Chan - 17 April 2020

What can Earth's past tell us about our potential future? How do we safely and efficiently power a growing world? When natural disaster strikes, how can we ensure our environment and communities are protected?

These are just some of the questions that are being answered by scientists trained in Geophysics. Students in the Geophysics undergraduate and graduate degree programs at the University of Alberta learn geology, physics, geophysical imaging technologies, data analysis, methods in numerical analysis, and computational physics. Geophysicists acquire a breadth of quantitative skills that have a wide range of applications. They are prepared to investigate processes that occur in the interior of earth, to image Earth's internal structure, to monitor environmental changes, and to explore the earth's crust for resources.

Geophysical methods are used in sectors such as:

  • environmental management, to understand ground water systems and earthquakes and to assess the risk of natural hazards;
  • space exploration, to understand planetary dynamics and interstellar bodies;
  • construction, to check the integrity of concrete buildings and bridges;
  • natural resources, in oil and gas exploration and the pursuit of alternative energy sources;
  • the medical imaging and the financial sectors, where geophysicists can apply their strong analytical backgrounds.

We asked some Geophysics graduates how they have used their geophysics knowledge in their new careers. Here is the first piece in our series: