Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics (PhD)


Theoretically, experimentally, and observationally oriented Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are offered in a number of key areas of geophysics. Current interests include topics in observational and theoretical glaciology; climate variability; geodynamics of the crust, mantle, and core of Earth and other planets; geological fluid mechanics; volcanic processes; origin and structure of planetary magnetic fields; reflection seismology; time-series analysis and wavelet processing; inversion methodologies with application to reflection seismology, mineral exploration, and environmental studies; computational electrodynamics; seismology with observational programs in crustal and upper mantle studies; earthquake studies focused on understanding past and current tectonic processes in Western Canada; and theoretical model studies to investigate wave propagation in laterally heterogeneous media.

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Program Components
Faculty of Science

Research Information

Research Facilities

In 2012 the new Earth Sciences Building was completed. The $75 million facility was designed to inspire collaboration and creativity across disciplines.


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


Funding Sources

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Career Outcomes

18 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 18 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):

RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia
Columbia University in the City of New York
University of Ottawa
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Black Tusk Geophysics (3)
Arcis Seismic Solutions (2)
3point Science
High Power Exploration
Dead Sea and Arava Science Center
Computational Geosciences Inc.
Seabed Geosolutions
Oyu Tolgoi LLC
Baziw Consulting Engineers Ltd.
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Geophysicist (3)
Consulting Geophysicist
Geologist, Research scientist
Lead Backend Developer
Advanced Geophysical Software Developer
Senior Geophysicist
Senior Earth Scientist
Principal Geophysicist
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,632.61$2,868.22
Tuition per year$4,897.83$8,604.66
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

New registrations23464
Total enrolment3035373636

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 85.71% based on 7 students admitted between 2004 - 2007. Based on 7 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 5.00 years and the maximum time is 7.49 years with an average of 6.02 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 9 March 2018]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 29 September 2017].

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Bostock, Michael (structure of the Canadian upper mantle, Geophysics, formation and evolution of the first continental landmasses, the structure and dynamics of subduction zones)
  • Haber, Eldad (Scientific computing and its application to geophysical and medical imaging)
  • Herrmann, Felix (Exploration seismology with support from the oil & gas industry)
  • Jellinek, Mark (Volcanology, Geodynamics, Planetary Science, Geological Fluid Mechanics)
  • Johnson, Catherine (Lunar geophysics, Evolution of Mars' Magnetic Field and Atmosphere)
  • Oldenburg, Douglas (Resource exploration, environmental or engineering problems)
  • Radic, Valentina (Climate Changes and ImpactsGlaciology, Meteorology, Climate Science)
  • Schoof, Christian (Ice and Snow, Transformation and Evolution of the Earth Surface, Fluid Mechanics, Hydraulic, Asymptotic and Classical Applied Analysis, Differential Equationglaciology, ice sheet dynamics, glacier hydrology, applied mathematics)

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Haneet Wason
    "Dr. Wason studied the acquisition and processing of seismic data. She designed simultaneous-source acquisitions that provide flexibility for better survey-area coverage and speedup acquisition, and developed processing techniques to address the challenge of source separation. This work will help improve survey efficiency and accuracy while reducing cost." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Rajiv Kumar
    "Dr. Kumar developed a faster and scalable algorithm for large-scale seismic data processing. His work demonstrated the possibility of avoiding the conventional practices of seismic data processing in the Oil and Gas industry and resulted in a novel formulation that provides efficient ways to extract information from large-scale seismic data." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Felix Onovughe Oghenekohwo
    "To monitor time-lapse changes that occur in the earth subsurface, current practice requires difficult-to-repeat seismic surveys. Dr. Oghenekohwo proposed a new, fast, and cheaper method practitioners can adopt to monitor these changes without having to repeat the surveys. His method will have a significant impact in the field of data acquisition." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Luz Angelica Caudillo Mata
    "Dr. Caudillo-Mata developed mathematical solutions to reduce the computing cost of simulating geophysical electromagnetic responses. Such simulations are used to detect mineral, groundwater and hydrocarbon deposits. This study will help create more powerful computer modelling tools that enable geoscientists to tackle larger and more complex problems." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Justin Granek
    "Dr. Granek investigated the application of advanced machine learning algorithms to the field of mineral mapping. In particular his work focused on the development of supervised learning models and artificial neural network algorithms for the exploration of copper-gold porphyry, a type of rock with large crystals found in British Columbia." (May 2017)

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