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Graduate Student Research Opportunities

Modern earth science is quantitative, process-oriented, and multi-faceted in ways that demand 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 recruiting season for Fall 2021 has now begun and the application deadline is January 15 2021. 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.


  1. Surface-processes and critical zone research: Professor Cliff Riebe seeks a PhD student to work on a new, NSF-funded project focused on understanding linkages between subsurface weathering and surface processes across a network of sites spanning the lower 48 in the United States. This is 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 apply. 

  2. Uncertainty quantification methods for subsurface characterization. Associate Professor Dario Grana is seeking students, with a strong mathematical and statistical background, interested in research opportunities in the field of geophysical inverse problems. The goal of these research projects is to quantify the uncertainty associated with the prediction of subsurface property predictions, such as porosity and fluid saturations, using Bayesian inverse theory. 

  3. Subsurface characterization and modeling. Professor Ye Zhang's main interests include subsurface characterization and fluid flow and transport modeling for environmental and energy applications. Recent research ranges from CO2-EOR modeling, aquifer characterization and contaminant source identification, to geophysical inverse problems. At the blair wallis fractured rock research well field, Zhang is interested in the joint analysis of well hydraulic data and geophysical measurements to develop petrophysical relations for fractured aquifers. Students with strong background in quantitative analysis and computer programming are encouraged to apply.

  4. Greenland Firn Processes. Professor Neil Humphrey  has a major NSF funded project in Greenland that will be installing instrumentation to study internal snow pack and firn processes that govern melt retention and runoff. Graduate student funding is available, and students are needed, for a range of projects related to the overall project. In particular, students with an interest in ice dynamics, glacial and snow hydrology and thermal and firn modelling.  Students will be able to combine extensive field work and observations in Greenland, with analysis of previously unavailable data on meltwater infiltration into deep firm, to aid in the development of a new theory of heterogeneous water infiltration and storage. The project will run from 2018 to 2021. It is anticipated that at least one PhD and one MS student will work on this project.

  5. 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.

  6. Machine Learning for Seismic Reservoir Characterisation. Associate Professor Dario Grana is seeking students, with a strong mathematical and statistical background, interested in research opportunities in the field of seismic reservoir characterization. The goal of these research projects is to improve the reservoir description by applying machine learning method to large datasets.

Contact Us

Department of Geology and Geophysics

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071-2000

Phone: 307-766-3386

Fax: 307-766-6679

Email: geol-geophys@uwyo.edu

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