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The geology and geophysics curriculum includes core courses and electives. Each student formulates a program of studies with the assistance of academic advisors drawn from both MIT and WHOI. The recommended course load is four per semester.

Students are expected to attend research seminars and to complete widespread independent reading of the literature.

Core Courses

There are only two required courses in geology and geophysics:

  • Student Seminar in Marine Geology and Geophysics. This seminar is designed to develop the skills that students will need to present their research to others; it includes critiques of oral presentations, preparation of abstracts, discussions of graphic materials, and creation of scientific posters. Students normally take the seminar in each of the first two years.
  • A data analysis class suited to the student's research interests, at either MIT or WHOI.


Students must complete at least one elective course from three of the following categories:

  • Geology/Sedimentology
  • Geophysics/Tectonics
  • Paleoceanography
  • Petrology/Geochemistry

Students typically choose courses from those offered at WHOI and at MIT by the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. Many students take classes in other departments as well because of research interests that lie at the interface of two disciplines. For more complete information on course offerings, see the MIT catalogue. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to cross-register at Harvard, Brown, or in the Boston University Marine Program.