Geological Setting

NMSU's location in the southern part of the Rio Grande Rift affords excellent opportunities for geophysical field studies of rift structures. The climate is dry and mild (8.5' annual rainfall, daily high temperatures about 65 degree Fahrenheit in the winter and 92 degree Fahrenheit in the summer), allowing field work to be conducted year-around.

The Graduate Program

The Department of Physics offers graduate study with concentration in geophysics leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. level degrees in either Physics with a concentration in Geophysics or in an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree. Our recommended curriculum for the masters's degree requires 24 credit hours of course work in geophysics, geology, and physics, plus six hours of thesis credit. The Ph.D. degree requires publishable thesis research. With the present faculty, research will occur principally in the following areas: Mineral physics; seismic studies of lithospheric and upper mantle structure; seismic tomography; seismotectonics involving earthquake and remote sensing data; and geodynamics and planetary physics.


Geophysical equipment available to students includes a broadband seismic recording system, a LaCoste gravimeter, a proton magnetometer, DC resistivity gear, and a down hole temperature probe. In-house geophysics computing facilities include 10 Ultra Sun workstations, and several assorted personal computers. The physics department as well as NMSU also offer additional computing facilities. Laboratory space is commodious.


Applicants for admission to graduate study in geophysics must have a bachelor's degree in geology, geophysics, engineering, or physics, or at least a strong background in one or more of those areas. Adequate background in mathematics and physics is required to begin graduate-level work; students may expect to remedy deficiencies early in their program of study. Computational skills are also required. Admission to the Graduate School is based upon an evaluation of the student's potential for satisfactory performance. Criteria include scholastic record, score on the general part of the Graduate Record Exam, and letters of recommendation. Further details regarding the geophysics program may be obtained by writing or calling Dr. Thomas Hearn, Dept. of Physics, New Mexico State University, Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003, telephone (505)-646-5076, e-mail thearn@nmsu.edu .

Online Admission Application



  • Graduate research assistant in geophysics
  • Postdoc research in observational seismology

Graduate Students

  • Yahya Al-Khatatbeh
  • Gerardo Leon Soto
  • Jeffrey Montgomery
  • Xinling (Frank) Wang



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