Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Labs: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session


Physics II (8.02), Differential Equations (18.03)


This course is designed to be a survey of the various subdisciplines of geophysics (geodesy, gravity, geomagnetism, seismology, and geodynamics) and how they might relate to or be relevant for other planets. No prior background in Earth sciences is assumed, but students should be comfortable with vector calculus, classical mechanics, and potential field theory.

Formally, this course has 4 contact hours a week. If enrollment allows it, the extra one-hour session will be devoted to a discussion of a recent journal article on a topic covered in the lectures; if the class size is too large this will not be feasible and the extra time will be used for a combination of resuscitation and literature discussion.


  1. The Earth in the Solar System
  2. The Earth's Gravitational Field
  3. The Magnetic Field of the Earth
  4. Seismology
  5. Geodynamics


Grades for the class will be based on the scores from (~8) homework assignments, paper discussion, and a final exam/quiz.

ACTIVITIES Percentages
Homework Assignments 50%
Paper Discussion 10%
Final Exam/Quiz 40%


No mid-term exam will be given. It is expected that students will work independently on homework problems, but discussion outside class on the articles that are discussed is encouraged. (Unless indicated otherwise, homework is due one week after it is assigned.)


This course doesn't use one single text book. For further reading, see recommended text books in the readings section.