Introduction to Geophysics

YoungHee Kim

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs


An introduction to the geophysics of the solid earth; structure and composition of the earth; interactions between crust, mantle, and core; imaging of the interior via seismic imaging tools

Course URL:
Course Size:


Course Context:

This is an introductory course with no prerequisites. However, since this is upper division course, most students who are enrolled in this course are assumed to have taken math and physics courses in their 1-2 years in their undergraduate training. This class will involve NO field trip or laboratory work, but will involve individual or group presentations on the assigned reading materials. Simple computer-related homework may be assigned. In that case, I plan to have a MATLAB tutorial sessions for students.

Course Goals:

Students should be able to identify seismic phases using seismic tools. In this process, students should be able to assess (1) geologic / tectonic features near the earthquake source region and (2) Earth's internal structures.

Students should be able to read research journal articles and summarize the content efficiently.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

I would like to assign the homework or group activity (possible oral presentation) to work on one or two earthquakes (occurred in different part of the Earth) and examine different source regions and different seismic ray paths.

Skills Goals

Student writing
Critical thinking and effective communication skills

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

I will be assigning reading materials (possibly two articles in each time) and will ask students to summarize the articles and compare the two. From the student presentations, I can assess whether students have understood the key points of the papers and how they differ (in what ways).

Attitudinal Goals

building students' confidence in course- or discipline-related abilities
increasing student excitement/personal wonder about learning about the Earth

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Group or individual presentation on the subjects can be a good way to assess students' knowledge on the material and test confidence or enthusiasm on the subject.


Homework (summary of reading assignments)
group presentation
setting ombudsperson (I can quickly deal with any concern or issues regarding course materials)


Course Syllabus made by YoungHee Kim (Acrobat (PDF) 87kB Apr30 12)