The departments of geosciences and physics at Western Michigan University offer a program of study leading to a major in geophysics. If you choose this program of study, you will be required to take mathematics courses which correspond to a minor in mathematics. Students contemplating a geophysics major should contact the Department of Geosciences as early as possible for advising. This major requires 75 to 77 credit hours.
Geophysics, one of the earth sciences, applies principles of physics to the study of the earth. Evaluation of gravity, magnetic and electrical fields, seismic wave propagation, and heat flow, are used to deduce the earth's structure, composition, physical properties, and dynamic processes. These studies may emphasize exploration geophysics, which uses geophysical techniques in the search for petroleum, natural gas, mineral deposits, and ground-water resources. The techniques of geophysics are also used to investigate the shallow portions of the earth's crust to determine conditions for the suitable location of dams, bridges, nuclear power plants, waste disposal sites, and highways. Geology, the study of the earth, plays a major role in geophysics.
The College of Arts and Sciences offers a two-tiered advising system for undergraduates. You will receive:
- Major-specific advising through the faculty within the department. The faculty advisor for the geophysics major is Dr. Michelle Kominz.
- General advising regarding University and general education requirements as well as pre-professional advising through the College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate advising.
As a student with a College of Arts and Sciences major you will need to meet regularly with both a departmental and college advisor to ensure you are meeting all requirements for graduation.