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Physics Questions about geophysics

  1. Jun 20, 2009 #1

    I am currently entering my junior year of undergrad with a major in mathematics. I am considering potential careers options and I came across the field of geophysics related to oil and gas exploration. Is there anyone here with experience is such a field that I could talk to? At the very least, is it possible to go right from a math degree into this field, or if not, is it possible to go right into a masters in geophysics from my background (it appears as if it is, but I am not positive). The reasons I am interested are that it appears to be a lucrative field that combines math, physics, chem, technology, and travel, all things I am interested in. If anyone could chime in I would appreciate it :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2009 #2
    You are exactly on the right track. A BSc in applied maths is fine, you will need choose electives or extra subjects in geology, programming (matlab, c++, fortran), physics (acoustics, EM and more) and a bit of chem which will gives you an edge.

    From there you can go into a MSc like you said and work on a seismic method project for petroleum companies or do electromagnetics geophysics for mineral and engineering companies.
  4. Jun 23, 2009 #3
    Thanks that is good to know. I don't actually have any classes in geology, programming, physics, or chem atm, but I could possibly take a few before I graduate. Hopefully that wont be a huge impediment to get into a grad program.

    Does anyone know what day to day life is like for someone in the business? I am particularly interested in oil/gas exploration, but I was wondering if the future was short for such careers. Although the electromagnetics field sounds fairly interesting as well. Would it be possible to start with petro companies and then if that industry starts to get weak if alternatives fuels are developed, switch into another geophysics field outside your specialty?
  5. Jun 23, 2009 #4
    First off EM methods is tiny compared to seismics exploration. When you start your new job the company will get you and primarily teach you how to process data with their software and you will be doing that for a while.

    Then later you may work on acquisition and interpretation with geologists. This is the key part you will have to communicate with people from other technical backgrounds in geoscience and geoengineering.

    Petroleum companies will not get weak ever, but say if they do you can easier move into another geoscience job since you had worked with others e.g. petrophysics and reservoir engineering.
  6. Jun 24, 2009 #5
    Thats good to know. Are you in the industry? you seem very knowledgeable. I'd really like to learn more about what a geophysicist does on a day to day basis. Do you go out in the field a lot/work from an office, etc, and what you actually do. I don't know nearly as much as I'd like to know about the career that I am now actively considering.

    Also, would I be able to get into a MSc program in geophysics with just a bachelors in math (we don't have applied math) with very minimal coursework in compsci/physics, and no coursework in geology?

    Thanks for all your help!
  7. Jun 24, 2009 #6
    Also for someone looking to go into petroleum geology careers, is geophysics or geology the better Masters degree to hold?
  8. Jun 25, 2009 #7
    - Firstly geology and geophysics are two different fields as well as geochemistry (even though there is "some" overlap). If you want to do geophysics then do geophysics at school.

    - I am not sure about the requirements for entry into MSc in your region.

    - Seismic geophysicist particularly early in their careers usually work indoors processing data as i said before. On the other hand EM geophysicists tend to do a lot more field work, it just depends.
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