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Graduate Student Research Opportunities

Modern earth science is quantitative, process-oriented, and multi-faceted, demanding a global, interdisciplinary approach. As a graduate student at UW, you'll work closely with faculty who are tackling some of the most important problems in earth science today, from quantifying the strength of plate boundaries to developing strategies for sequestration of carbon from Earth's atmosphere. Some of these problems are best addressed in our backyard — the fabulous natural laboratory of the Rocky Mountains — but many require research in more distant locales. At UW, you get the best of both worlds.

The department is always seeking excellent graduate student applicants to fill a variety of positions on research projects.  The recruiting season for Fall 2023 has now begun and the application deadline is January 15 2023. Please note that we do not typically admit sudents in the Spring or Summer semester, unless a faculty member has funding for a specific project in your field of interest.

If you're looking for graduate school opportunities, we invite you to contact the faculty_member(s) working on the topics that interest you. Here are some of the many exciting opportunities for 2023

  1. Geophysical monitoring of CO2 sequestration and storage. Professor Dario Grana is seeking students, with a strong mathematical and statistical background, interested in research opportunities in the field of geophysical characterization and monitoring of carbon dioxide storage units. The goal of this project is to assess the petrophysical properties of potential CO2 storage unites and monitor the fluid flow during injection and migration of CO2 using geophysical data and stochastic modeling methods.

  2. Groundwater study in wildfire forest recovery. Three PhD positions in Hydrology at the University of Wyoming are available to start Summer or Fall 2023. These students will participate in a new DoE-funded project that seeks to understand groundwater-supported ecological refugia related to insect- and fire-driven disturbances in the Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming. The PhD positions at the University of Wyoming will be focused on groundwater hydrology/modeling, biophysics, and hydrogeophysics. . Interested applicants should contact associated faculty members directlygroundwater hydrology (Professor Ye Zhang), biophysics (Professor Brent Ewers), hydrogeophysics (Associate Professor Andy Parsekian)

  3. Near-Surface geophysics of hydrothermal systems and “deep” critical zone geophysics/petrophysics: Research Scientist Brad Carr is seeking M.S. and Ph.D. students for near surface geophysical imaging of Yellowstone National Park hydrothermal systems (i.e. phase separation pools as well as geysers) and Critical Zone geophysics (surface and borehole) combined with petrophysical analyses. Students with an interest and/or experience in surface/borehole or airborne geophysics, environmental science, hydrology or related fields with strong physics, quantitative analysis skills, and/or computer programming ability are encouraged to apply.

  4. Paleobotany study with plant-insect interactionsProfessor Ellen Currano is seeking an MS student to continue work on calibrating the fossil record of plant-insect interactions. The student will be looking at insect damage on modern leaves collected along a successional gradient to better understand how disturbance regime affects insect herbivory in temperate forests.  

  5. Critical zone science. Professor Cliff Riebe is currently seeking MS and PhD student applicants interested in studying linkages between subsurface weathering and surface processes across a network of sites spanning the lower 48 in the United States. This is exciting transdisciplinary work at the interface between water, rock, and life and involves collaboration with top scientists at seven institutions across the country. Students with an interest in critical-zone science, surface processes, and near-surface geophysics are encouraged to contact Dr. Riebe.  

  6. Isotope Geochemistry of Fossil Marine Mammals. Professor Mark Clementz is seeking a PhD student to dive into ongoing research on the evolution and diversification of whales and sea cows in marine ecosystems of the Cenozoic. Emphasis will be placed on biogeochemical methods for reconstructing the ecological connections between these consumers and the marine environments in the Late Miocene as well as earlier events in the Paleogene. 

  7. Geochemical Water-Rock Interactions. Professor John Kaszuba is seeking MS and PhD students interested in integrated laboratory, field, and computational approaches to understanding geochemical fluid-rock interactions in the crust. Projects focus on CO2 Sequestration, Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals, and the Energy Transition, and are generally in Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain region.

Contact Us

Department of Geology and Geophysics

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071-2000

Phone: 307-766-3386

Fax: 307-766-6679


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