Skip Navigation

Some of the Current Ph.D. Opportunities in the Department of Geosciences

Below are a few examples of known lab openings in our department, beginning in the Fall 2021 semester.

PLEASE NOTE that lack of a listing on this page does not necessarily indicate that a given faculty member is not accepting a student for the fall. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to peruse our faculty  page and contact any person of interest about potential Ph.D. opportunities, even if they are not listed below.  Furthermore, we encourage applications for those with broader range of interests and backgrounds having potential overlap in research interests with one or more faculty members.  

Last updated: Nov. 16, 2020.


John Parise

Researching the factors controlling the pathways to products resulting from metal hydrolysis and precipitation from solution : The atomic level mechanisms leading to formation of metastable intermediates, how they transform and how they can be controlled using joint computational and  in situ experimental approaches.

Lars Ehm

Disequilibrium processes in Earth and Planetary Materials at high pressure and temperature. Recent development in pressure and temperature generation and time-resolved characterization techniques allow us to study processes in materials at disequilibrium conditions. The results of impacts, in the form of impactites and meteorites, provide a record of these high-energy dynamic processes taking place during the formation and evolution of planets. Our goal is to provide and experimental framework that allows  to determine the pressure,  temperature,  time conditions of the impacts and provide constraint for models of planet formation from the primordial solar  nebular.

Nanoscale Mineralogy. Mineralogy on the nanoscale is an emerging field in geological and environmental sciences. The recent advances in synchrotron high-energy total scattering techniques and the advancement in electron microscopy have shown that a large variety of Earth materials formerly believed to be  amorphous are  actually nanocrystalline with particle sizes of  less than 10 nm. Nanominerals show profoundly different physical and chemical properties compared to their bulk counterparts due to the large surface area compared to the volume of the particle. These natural nanomaterials play an important role in, for example, acid mine drainage localities and in the effort to clean up contaminated ground water. We are interested in the formation pathways of these materials, their atomic structure and their physical and chemical properties.

Weisen Shen

Professor Shen has 1-2 openings for 1-2 new graduate students. The students are expected to work on projects that are related to the large scale seismic, chemical, and thermal structures of the continents. These projects span a wide range of research components (e.g., field deployment, methodological development, thermodynamic calculation, and geodynamic modeling).

Timothy Glotch

Professor Glotch is looking for 1-2 new Ph.D. students next year. One project is focused on radiative transfer-based spectral modeling of mid-infrared spectra and application to understanding the mineralogy of planetary surfaces. He states: “We're trying to push the state of the art in computational spectroscopy, especially as it relates to fine-grained planetary regoliths, which are very difficult to model. This requires programming experience and comfort with some challenging math and physics.”

His group is also working to develop nano-infrared spectroscopy as an analytical tool for extraterrestrial materials, including eventual samples returned by Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx. Right now, we're using the nano-IR beamline at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, CA. They’ve done analyses of ordinary and carbonaceous chondrites, and they are interested in pursuing this technique for analyses of martian and lunar samples.