I am looking for talented and dynamic graduate students with a strong background in the physical sciences.

If you are interested in conducting research in the field of geophysics/seismology then I encourage you to consider applying to work with me through the UCSB graduate school program.  The most important attributes that I seek in prospective students are: a good physics and maths background, computing competence, a willingness to learn, and enthusiasm for the subject!  I am interested to hear what previous research experience you have had and why you are eager to study Earth science.  What questions motivate you?  How did you get involved in this field?

A typical graduate student will take several higher-level classes within the department, and conduct collaborative and innovative research.  All graduate students are fully funded (stipend, fees, tuition, and health insurance) through my research grants and through Teaching Assistant appointments from the Earth Science department. In addition to helping pay the bills, these TA-ships provide valuable teaching experience and the chance to hone your scientific acumen by educating others.  In the latter stages of a PhD, doctoral students with interest and ability can even take charge of a whole course, being appointed as the Instructor of Record for a full term.

For your research meds, I also provide you with high-powered personal computing resources. I expect and encourage graduate students to get involved with fieldwork  –  mainly deployment of seismic instruments in a bunch of cool research locales around the world.  

If you join the community of graduate students in the UC Santa Barbara Earth Science department, you will be entering a wonderfully collegial and dynamic group of young scientists. Our department offers not only academic excellence but a warm, inclusive, and fun group of peers and mentors. 

UCSB encourages applications from students who have excelled academically despite economic or social disadvantages, as well as those who bring perspectives, research topics, and/or career interests that advance the university’s goals of excellence and diversity.

For further information, see THIS webpage, and feel free to reach out to Yann Ricard, the graduate program coordinator. Also, see tips, below.

Please contact me with any questions!

N.B. I am currently considering applications for graduate students for the academic year starting Fall 2018. 

Installing an seismometer for the iMUSH experiment, ( Mt. St. Helens in the background). Gina Belair is helping me dig, Geoff Abers is wielding the camera.


Servicing a seismic station in a school in Buxton, NC as part of the ENAM experiment. With Helen Janiszewski; photo credit: James Gibson.

Installing a station in Mertule Mariam, Ethiopia, with the help of some local workmen. 

Leading a UCSB undergraduate field trip in the Santa Ynez mountains. Immediately behind me, you can just about make out the UCSB campus nestled against the coast.

Leading a UCSB undergraduate field trip in the Santa Ynez mountains. Immediately behind me, you can just about make out the UCSB campus nestled against the coast.

Tips/general information

  • USCB Earth Science graduate admissions requirements are available here.
  • All applicants will have to complete the GRE by the time of application. Applicants coming from institutions where English is not the official language will have to take the TOEFL/IELTS exam before applying. Unfortunately, neither of these tests is free and (even more annoyingly) they charge you to send your scores to prospective institutions after the fact. However, when you take the test they allow you select  (up to 4, I think) institutions to send scores to for no extra charge, so make sure to have some in mind when you register for the test. 
  • Letters of recommendation are crucial. These should be written by mentors who know you well and can personally attest to your aptitude, character, and productivity. Try to select three people who can recommend different aspects of  your previous work and undergraduate achievements.
    Family members or personal friends are not appropriate for providing recommendations. 
  • Your Statement of Purpose and Statement of Personal Achievements/Contributions are also highly important, short (<2 pages!) persuasive essays. The Statement of Purpose should convey your academic and research exploits, as well as why you are interested in the Earth Sciences. We are looking for students who are able to identify outstanding problems and who can make a good case for why they should be the ones to help tackle them. What sets you apart? Briefly discuss why you would like to study at Santa Barbara.